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Do You Need a Mattress for a Pack ‘N Play?

As a parent, you know all the gear that comes along with having a baby. But, things are never cut and dry when it comes to babies and all of their stuff! Parents always have plenty of questions to make sure that they’re doing things right and that their babies are safe. 

If you own a pack ‘n play for your baby you already know how handy they are. You can use them in different rooms of your house or when you’re on the go. Many parents use them to give their babies naps or as a place to sleep for overnight visits at grandma’s house. 

When your baby is sleeping in the pack n’ play you want them to be as cozy as possible.

So, that brings the question of whether you need a mattress for a pack n’ play. We’re going to take a closer look so that you can decide what’s right for your baby.

At What Age Should I Put My Baby in a Pack N Play?

Babies can go in a pack n’ play from the time they’re newborns. It’s important to pay attention to the height and weight requirements for how long they can stay in one.

Since babies grow at different stages, you may have some babies who need to come out sooner and others who can stay in later. The best thing to do is to follow the height and weight requirements for the pack n play you’ve purchased for your baby.

Do Pack ‘N Plays Come with a Mattress?

Pack ‘n plays don’t come with a mattress. They usually have a firm pad for the bottom. While the pad is safe, it’s not nearly as comfortable as a crib mattress. But, it fits perfectly in there and maybe enough for your baby to catch a few z’s.

Why Would I Need a Mattress for a Pack N Play?

If you plan for your baby to sleep in the pack ‘n play regularly, you may be thinking about getting a mattress. This will make it softer and more comfortable.  But, you need to be safe about it. If the mattress doesn’t fit, it may pose a danger to your baby.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises against buying a pack ‘n play mattress. They say that the mattress that comes with the pack ‘n play should be the only one that is used. Using a different mattress can create a gap that can lead to an entrapment hazard.

Are There Mattresses That Will Fit in a Pack N Play?

There are mattresses that will fit in a pack n’ play, but you need to be careful to find the right one. While most pack n’ plays are roughly the same size, there may be a small difference of a 1/2 inch to an inch.

This is important to pay attention to because you don’t want any gaps. Even the smallest gaps can lead to a hazard for your baby.

Any mattress you choose for your pack n’ play needs to be snug. You shouldn’t be able to fit more than one finger all the way around the edges. If you can, then the mattress you’ve chosen is too small.

What Are Some Things to Consider about a Mattress for a Pack N Play?

Besides considering the size of the mattress, there are other things to consider for a mattress for a pack n’ play. 


You want any mattress you choose to be breathable. It should have good ventilation. Some mattresses are naturally made this way, while others come with built-in vents on the sides. Either option is a good way to make sure the mattress is breathable.

Also, make sure the mattress is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and BPA-free.


A soft mattress is not a good idea for a baby because any soft bedding is considered a possible SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) risk. Instead, choose a mattress that is firm.

This will be much safer for you baby. Press down on the mattress to test its firmness. If your finger indents easily, the mattress is too soft for your baby.


Pack ‘n play mattresses can either be foam or innerspring material. Innerspring mattresses can tear more easily than foam mattresses. Opt for the foam mattress because it’s usually safer, lightweight, and hypoallergenic.


One of the best things about a pack ‘n play is that it’s portable. You don’t want to ruin that by choosing a pack ‘n play mattress that’s clunky.

If possible, choose a mattress that folds up easily. Some mattresses fold while others roll-up. Whichever you choose should be easy for you to grab and go.


The safety of your pack ‘n play mattress is also key. Check that it meets all safety standards for the materials used as well as its flammability. You also want to make sure that it hasn’t been subject to a recall.

The Bottom Line

If you’re considering a pack ‘n play mattress, it’s important to understand that it is not a necessity.  But, many parents like the option of having a mattress because it gives their baby more support if they’re using it for sleep.

When it comes to choosing a pack ‘n play mattress, you want to make sure it’s the right size. If it’s not, it can cause a safety hazard for your baby. Also, check the firmness of the mattress to see that it isn’t too soft. This can present a SIDS hazard. 

As you choose a pack ‘n play mattress, keep its breathability and portability in mind. Check to see that it has passed all safety requirements and isn’t subject to any recalls. All of these things will help you find the right pack ‘n play mattress for your baby.