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I am a Mother of three and a Grandmother - my Grandbaby slept safely in a pack and play - the down side is when they get too big for the bassinet attachment and you have to bend down to get them in and out - but the versatility and space saving is great.
Hi, We used a pack and play for our first son right up until he was walking and graduated to a "big boy bed". He stayed in the bassinet section for about 2 weeks and then moved right down into the bottom. Just make sure not to use bumper pads, pillows or blankets and only the fitted sheet made for the little mattress in the bottom.
We live in a very small apartment and there literally isn't room for a crib. Pack n Play -- here we come!
Pack & Plays are perfectly safe, and portable too! So that if you have to go out of town your babies sleep enviornment doesn't change and will be easier to keep them in a routine. We bought a crib when I was 7 months along with our son, He literally only spent part of 2 nights in it before we started co-sleeping (Due to him being on an apnea machine we wanted him close to us and it just worked out better for us) and he's now a year old! So cribs can be an expensive waste of money anyhow. Hopefully # 2 who's due in October will get a little use out of it at least! :)
A pack n play has its good and its bad, but as far as safety in using it AS a crib, it's completely safe for Baby. Not quite as convenient sometimes for transferring a sleeping baby who's outgrown the bassinet attachment. And I used to change my baby right in the crib at night or when we were in the room when she needed changed (we didn't have a changing table, had a tall dresser instead of a long short one, and had barely enough floor space in the bedroom to walk), which is nearly impossible to do with a playpen. But it comes in handy when you have to travel and Baby doesn't sleep well in a different environment or don't have a nursery. It's a matter of preference and which conveniences are most important. I had a friend who lived in a long-term stay hotel from late in pregnancy until the baby was a year old. You know she used a playpen as a crib and doubled a bouncy seat as a high chair too.
Pack n plays are totally safe for baby to sleep in. Though i have to warn that putting your little tot to bed regularly in a pack n play is bad on baby's back since it doesn't give proper spine support. If you are worried about space think of a co-sleeper or bassinent. If you are going to use the pack in play for baby to sleep in for naps to be close to you, or for traveling, or for babysitters house it is totally safe.
I'm thinking that many pack & plays may not support an older kid (1-2 yo) as well - back support, and just general weight. A crib is much more stable/ supportive. We've had a pack & play collapse on our son (the frame was not snapped tightly) so be careful of that!
We used nothing but pack n' plays at the daycare I worked at and we had kids from 2-18 months in the room I worked in. Apparently the state things they're fine so i'd say go for it.
We have a MamaDoo Kids Mattress Topper for our play yard and our son loves it! It makes the play yard so much more comfortable! We looked for a long time and found one that is great because it is tight fitting so it is safe, folds in 3, which is great for storage and travel, and it has washable cover. We use it for the play yard but also as a changing station when away from home.