Play Yards: Everything You Need to Know About Baby Play Yards

Play Yards: Everything You Need to Know About Baby Play Yards

As a busy parent, it’s hard to keep an eye on your tot every second of the day. Play yards are the answer.

Over the years, play yards have evolved from a simple fence you would set up around your toddler, to high-tech travel cribs that include all the bells and whistles you could ever need to keep your child entertained.

Many play yards are designed to grow alongside your baby as they transition from sleeping in a bassinet to a crib.

Once your little one starts sitting up and rolling over on their own, play yards are a great way to keep them safe and secure.

But with all the different variations of baby play yards on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? Apart from considering the multitude of attachments and special features available, there are plenty of safety regulations and portability issues you have to consider.

But don’t stress—we have all the info you need to pick out the best baby play yard.

Have a specific question in mind? Use the links below to jump to your answer:

What are the Benefits of a Baby Play Yard?

Creating a safe place for your toddler to sleep and play will greatly decrease your stress when you don’t have the time to watch their every move. If you go over to a relative’s house who hasn’t child-proofed their coffee table, a play yard will ensure your tot can’t run into sharp furniture. Perhaps you’re itching to get out of the house and have a picnic with friends—a travel play yard will let you enjoy the sunshine and keep an eye on baby at the same time.

Apart from being an incredibly helpful tool for busy parents, toddler play yards are also excellent space savers.

If you move around a lot during the day, having an all-in-one play yard can be extremely helpful so you only have to remember to take one thing with you as you travel around town.

You must always expect the unexpected with a new baby—having a play yard that can withstand your tot’s surprise messes is an absolute must.

If your baby has a bathroom accident or a sippy cup spills on the bottom mattress, you’ll want a play yard that is easily washable. Look for a play yard like the Lotus that features wipe-clean surfaces to ensure an easy cleanup.

A play yard designed with you and your baby in mind.

With the Lotus Travel Crib, setup and clean-up is a breeze.

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What’s the Difference Between Play Yards, Playpens, and Travel Cribs?

All parents want what’s best for their little one, but it can be stressful trying to find the best products to keep them safe when there’s so many options on the market. As you’re doing your research, keep in mind that you’ll probably encounter many different terms for the same product.

Generally speaking, “play yard” and “playpen” can be used interchangeably. These portable yards often come with plenty of add-on features that make them perfect for spending time at home with your baby. Play yards are typically designed with heavier materials than a travel crib, which makes the overall construction less flexible when it comes time to taking it outside of the house.

A travel crib, on the other hand, is more compact and streamlined to allow for easy portability. The materials are often softer and more lightweight than a play yard to accommodate chaotic days at the airport or long car rides that require quick packing.

If Grandma gets sick and you need to jet off to visit her across the country, a travel crib will be the easiest option to pack on-the-go. If you start a new job that allows you to work from home, a movable play yard would be useful to roll around the house as you go about your day.

When shopping for a play yard, your baby’s safety and comfort should always be the number one priority.

What Should I Look For in a Baby Play Yard?

Deciding on a play yard depends on your own specific needs and your overall budget. Just like most products, the more special features your play yard comes with, the more expensive it’ll be. But spending a bit extra on a deluxe model can certainly come in handy, especially if you plan to use as your tot grows and develops new motor skills.


Your play yard should be easily transported from one room to the other, so finding a lightweight option is essential. A portable play yard makes it easy to keep baby near you without having to lug impossibly heavy cribs to and fro.

Easy carry ability

If you plan to frequently travel with your play yard, looking for one with an easy folding mechanism is a must. Some models are better at being transported than others, and which one you choose all depends on where you plan to set it up.

If you’re a frequent flier, the Lotus makes airport travel a breeze. Fold up into an easy-carry backpack to transport from baggage claim to car with ease.

Access Doors

Instead of bending over to lay your baby on the bottom mattress, consider a play yard that has a zippered door in addition to an open top.

The average toddler play yard provides four mesh walls to keep your child safe and contained, but the Lotus play yard features side-access doors to add an extra level of convenience.

Side access doors allow you to lay on the floor with your baby; partially lay inside the play yard to spend some much-needed snuggle time.

It also allows parents to let their toddlers roam freely between the play yard and the room if you want your child to have more space to play.

Side access doors add an extra level of versatility to a play yard that can come in handy when you want more options.

Can I Take My Baby Play Yard Outdoors?

Most play yards are designed to be taken anywhere, including outside. Whether you’re on a camping trip or are having a backyard BBQ, toddler play yards will keep your child safe and contained whenever you’re out of the house. As we mentioned before, the Lotus play yard is machine washable so you don’t have to worry about getting them dirty or stained.

If you’re spending time outdoors, it’s wise to invest in a travel crib mosquito net to protect your baby from creepy crawlies. A mosquito net should cover all four walls and the top of the play yard to ensure your little one is safe from bugs. Even though the side walls of a play yard are constructed from mesh, a mosquito net features a smaller knit that will keep itchy bites at bay.

Taking your first family vacation to the beach? A crib sun shade can shield your toddler from harmful UV rays. An added benefit: a sun shade can help darken the play yard when it’s time for a much needed nap.

What are Baby Play Yard Safety Regulations?

In 2013, the CPSC updated the safety rules for baby play yards. Manufacturers are now required to test all of their play yard models to ensure they comply with federal safety standards. All play yards sold after February of 2013 must have:

The Lotus play yard from Guava Family is GreenGuard certified, and designed to be safe for everyone in your family—especially your little one. Crafted without the use of flame retardants, PVC, phthalates, lead, and heavy metals, this low-VOC play pen features breathable mesh that allows for enhanced airflow.

When thinking about your baby’s safety in a play yard, make sure to never put thick blankets in the yard. A child’s limbs can easily get tangled in bulky quilts and run the risk of suffocation.

If you want to keep baby safe and get as much use out of your play yard as possible, opt for a model that features a floor-supported mattress.

Sifting through potential play yards can seem like a daunting task, but Guava Family has your back. The Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib offers durability, portability, and versatility for all your play yard needs. Whether you’re a homebody or an avid traveler, the Lotus keeps your baby safe and smiling whenever you need a little extra help.

Looking for a play yard for home and when you're out and about?

The Lotus Travel Crib is easy to take with you wherever you go.

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