Best Non-toxic playpens/play yards and travel cribs that are Low VOC, Flame Retardant Free and free of BPA, Lead, PVC and other heavy metals.
Pack n Play also known as Playpens is one of the essential baby items that you must consider putting them down on your registry.
Play yards become very essential when your bitty newborn gets older and starts moving, and you need a safe place to put them down while you take a pee break or run down quickly to change the laundry.
Many Pack n Plays also comes handy as a portable travel crib because they are lightweight and foldable.
Do You Need a Play Yard?
I know many first-time parents don’t see the point of buying a play yard. At least, that’s what I thought. I had a play mat plus a bouncer and thought that would do the trick.
Boy, was I wrong! While bouncers and play mats are great during the newborn/infant, I needed a safe (bigger) space to put down my baby once they started crawling and wanted to explore everything around.
Play yards can also double as a travel crib when you are traveling to grandparents house or for a weekend getaway. They can serve as a safe place for your baby to play and sleep while you are on the go.
As someone who has traveled via air with an infant, I know how helpful having a portable travel crib can be.
How To Choose The Best Play Yard / Travel Crib:
With several brands in the market today, it can be over whelming to narrow down your choice. Unfortunately, many popular play yards in the market also has a lot of unwanted chemicals in them. Just like car seats and strollers, play yards may contain flame retardant chemicals, PVC, BPA, lead and other heavy metals.
With the recent awareness of the dangers of flame retardants, many companies have stopped using them but not all. There are still brands that continue to use flame retardant chemicals. To be sure if you are choosing a non-toxic product, you should email the brand and clarify if they are flame retardant free.
In my research for non-toxic play yards and travel cribs, I place maximum weight on brands that are flame retardant free, free of BPA, PVC, Lead, Phthalates, and heavy metals.
Other features that are important to consider while choosing a play yard are:
Assuming that you are not going to buy a play yard for each room, you will be moving the play yard all though your house. From basement to upstairs, to kitchen to the bedroom. You need a play yard that folds easy without having to refer to the manual every single time. Once your postpartum brain kicks in, following simple instructions is going to be a struggle, so trust me on this and get something that is fool-proof.
2.Light Weight Yet Sturdy:
The play yard should be sturdy enough to hold your baby jumping and cruising around, at the same time light enough for you to carry them around. Look for a durable light weight option particularly when you plan to travel a lot and will be using this as a travel crib often.
3. Flame Retardant Free & Low VOC:
I am so happy to see more and more brands are opting out of using flame retardant chemicals. Earlier manufacturers were required to treat play yards with flame retardant chemicals, but this has changed recently.
Flame retardant chemicals are found to dangerous to baby’s health, and CDC recommends that parents avoid products that have these chemicals in them. Some of the health hazards of flame retardant chemicals include cancer, neuro defects, etc.
Products treated with flame retardants emit Volatile Organic Compounds that are can be inhaled or absorbed into baby’s skin. Polyurethane foam that is found in crib mattress also emits VOC.
Many play yards come with additional features like add-on bassinet, or a diaper changing area. Some offer more storage space too. These can be great features if you live in an apartment and would like to make use of the multi-functionality of the play yard.
BEST NON TOXIC PLAY YARDS/ TRAVEL CRIBS:
Ready to take a peek at the best non toxic play yard and travel crib brands? Let’s dive in!
Guava Family Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib:
I love to support family-owned business, and it is evident how much care Guava puts into making their products.
Guava family’s goal is to make products that help families spend more time together. Their safety standards are pretty high – ‘If it’s not safe for our children, it’s not safe for yours.’
The travel crib itself is lightweight but solid and sturdy. Lotus travel crib is also easy to put away. The best part about lotus is that it comes with a travel bag that can be used as a carry on luggage during air travel. As someone who has had long transit times at airports I can appreciate having a travel crib where I can safely put down my baby ( and not having to carry them in my baby carrier all the time).
The travel bag can also be worn as a backpack which makes it all the more travel-friendly so you have your hands free for other things
The legs of the crib are made of aluminum that makes it very sturdy. The crib itself weight around 13 pounds, which is easily one of the lightweight options out there.
The mattress pad is made of insulated foam and it rests on the floor. The entire sides of the crib are made of mesh fabric which allows for ventilation. Personally, the best part about the Lotus crib is the zipper that opens up in the front.
This comes handy when you have to soothe your baby or even nurse your baby to sleep. The opening is so big that even you can get into the crib if you have to.
Guava also makes a bassinet attachment kit that you can buy separately to join to the crib.
What set apart Lotus from other cribs is the safety certification it comes with. Lotus is the only crib in the market that is Green Guard Gold certified. Lotus also promises that the mattress is made of low VOC polyurethane foam. I love how the brand is very transparent about the materials used in the product.
Nuna Sena Aire:
Another raved portable play yard is the Nuna Sena Aire. Nuna is a popular choice for parents who look for modern yet functional baby gear.
Well, the Nuna Sena Aire play yard sticks to the high standard that Nuna adheres to and doesn’t disappoint one bit.
Looking at the design of the Sena Aire what stands out is the easy one hand one step set up. The dismantling is just as easy as setting it up.
The Sena has the central push/pull mechanism that unfolds the travel yard in one step. You just have to get the play yard out of the storage bag, slightly pull the legs apart and push the central knob until you hear a click. Pretty simple, right?
Unlike Lotus crib, the crib mattress is not against the floor. I personally don’t mind if the mattress on the floor, but I guess it is an individual preference.
The Aire is built with four strong aluminum frame and non-skid feet that makes Sena look and feel sturdier.
Although Sena on the pricier side it does come with a GOTS Certified organic fitted sheet that you will otherwise end up buying for any travel crib. Another great feature about Nuna Sena is that it comes with an included bassinet attachment.
Yes! The fact that you can use Sena as a bassinet for newborns and a play yard for older babies is a huge value for your bucks.
Sena is clearly well ventilated with mesh fabric on all four sides surrounding the frame.
Nuna Sena weighs around 25 pounds and is not as light weight as Guava Lotus featured above. This is something you want to keep in mind if you are planning to travel a lot.
Nuna truly cares for its consumers and goes over and above the required safety standards. Nuna Sena is free of flame retardants and BPA, PVC, Lead phthalates free.
4 Moms Breeze:
If you have not heard of 4 Moms MamaRoo, you have been living under a rock. 4 Moms is another high-end reputable baby brand that makes life easier.
4 Moms has a range of play yards that you can choose from – Breeze Go (travel crib + travel bag), Breeze Classic ( travel crib + travel bag + bassinet) and Breeze Plus ( travel crib + travel bag + bassinet + changer) plus they also offer crib sheets and diaper caddy for extra storage space.
Depending on what you need, you can’t go wrong with any of the options above. If you are looking for a compact nursery station to use, then Breeze plus is the way to go. If you are looking for something more of a travel crib, or as a play yard to use all around the house, then you can go with either the Classic or the Go.
4 Moms pride themselves for the easiest open/ close mechanism. You can set up the play yard in one push with a single hand. Yes, it’s that easy!
Breeze is also free of flame retardant chemicals, and 4 Moms assured me that Breeze is free of BPA, PVC, Lead and other heavy metals.
Baby Bjorn Travel Crib:
Baby Bjorn looks very similar to Guava family Lotus in design and weight. The mattress sits on the floor, just like the Lotus crib. Since the mattress is on the floor, there is no upper weight limit on this crib, you can use this crib safely until your child can climb out of the crib.
The two main difference between Lotus Crib and Baby Bjorn is as follows
- Lotus crib has a side zipper opening which is very handy when need to soothe your baby.
- Lotus comes with a travel bag that can be carried as a back pack.
In terms of materials, Baby Bjorn clearly cares about the safety of the child. The materials used are all child friendly and pass the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products.
Let’s Wrap Us:
You can close your eyes and pick any of the above pack n plays and you won’t go wrong. But depending on your family needs, one might suit you better than the other.
Here are my Top Picks for Non Toxic Play Yards/ Travel Cribs:
- Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
- Nuna Sena Aire
- 4 Moms Breeze ( Go, Classic or Plus)
- Baby Bjorn Travel Crib
If you are looking for a travel-friendly, lightweight pack n play, then I would recommend considering Lotus Guava or the Baby Bjorn.
If you are looking for something modern, chic and wanting more add on features (like the bassinet or the changer) then check out either the 4 Moms Breeze or the Nuna Sena.