Do You Really Need a Mattress for Pack n Play? Find Out Here!

Pack-n-Plays are a staple purchase for any parent of young children. Whether it’s to take them to a friend’s house while you pop over for dinner or simply wanting to teach them how to keep themselves entertained in safety while you’re not in the room.

They also come in handy for putting your baby down for sleep when they become overtired or are struggling to sleep in their own bed.

Some people, especially new parents, often ask whether or not they need a mattress for pack-n-play or whether they can leave it at home.

There’s a simple answer to this question which we will cover in this guide.

Once we’ve established what a pack-n-play mattress is, we will look at some options and see which are the best ones to buy.

What is a Pack-N-Play?

What is a Pack-N-Play

Pack-n-play or playpens are portable play areas for babies and toddlers that keep them secure and able to keep themselves entertained; they’re perfect for layovers, being a guest at someone’s house, or even taking on days out when you know you’ll be sitting for long periods.

A pack-n-play should be on everyone’s baby list when they’re expecting. They can be used as a crib, a play area, or somewhere to safely leave your baby while you leave the room for a few minutes. So they’re entirely multi-functional.

They come with a handy travel case, which makes them perfect for bundling in your car, using on camping excursions, and transporting.

Pack n plays may occasionally include a mattress, but when they don’t, do you need to purchase one separately?

These mattresses are specifically designed to the shape of the crib, using their safety tests and requirements. It would be best if you didn’t replace these mattresses with another brand. However, if your pack-n-play was equipped with a mattress, you should contact the manufacturer to replace it.

Does a Pack n Play Require a Mattress?

Does a Pack n Play Require a Mattress

Imagine you’re going to be sitting on the floor for extended periods on a carpet or hard floor. It’s going to be uncomfortable after a while.

Therefore, the answer to whether or not you need a mattress for a Pack n Play is yes. It is primarily meant to provide comfort and protection for your little one against the hard floor.

If you expect your baby to fall asleep in their playpen, an uncomfortable baby is more likely to fight sleep, so providing a comfortable place to lie is essential.

Can You Use a Crib Mattress in Pack n Plays?

Pack-n-play mattresses are different from those you buy for a baby’s crib. They’re much smaller for a start, so if you plan to try and squeeze a crib mattress into your playpen, you’ll have a task on your hands, as it will likely not fit.

Secondly, pack-n-play mattresses are much thinner; they don’t need to be as supportive as those used in cribs for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Mattresses made specifically for pack-n-plays usually measure 38″ x 26″, but ensure to measure your playpen before ordering.

Types of Mattresses for Pack n Play

Types of Mattresses for Pack n Play

There are a few varieties of pack-n-play mattresses on the market, which are made from various materials and come in different levels of firmness, thickness, and support.

Mattress pads are the kind that easily rolls up and slot into the playpen to give rigid support on the base of the pen. These are thin and lightweight. They’re more appropriate for short-term use and playtimes.

These pack-n-play mattresses are thicker and more suitable for sleeping for extended periods.

What Are Pack n Play Mattresses Made From?

The purpose-made mattresses for these play yards are usually made from memory foam. Some standard foams can contain toxins, so purchasing mattresses from reputable brands is advisable.

Another type of playpen mattress you might come across is the innerspring type, usually made with wool or cotton. These are slightly more expensive but are made from organic, natural materials that aren’t harmful to your baby.

Should You Buy Mattress Protectors for Pack n Play?

Should You Buy Mattress Protectors for Pack n Play

Mattress protectors and toppers are strongly advised against being used on pack-n-play mattresses because they’re a considerable suffocation risk.

The extra layer can mean that babies can create pockets or gaps that the baby might be able to hook onto, pull over themselves, or get stuck underneath.

How Much Does a Pack n Play Mattress Cost?

The type of pack-n-play mattresses you choose and where you purchase them will determine how much they’ll cost you.

You should expect to pay between $50.00 and $100.00 for these mattresses. Though you may find cheaper versions at some online retailers, opting for the more affordable options is not advisable due to safety factors.

It’s also strongly advised against buying second-hand mattresses. You need to find out where it’s been, how old it is, or whether or not it’s been kept clean.


So, do you need a mattress for a Pack & Play? Absolutely.

However, depending on what you’re using your playpen for, sleeping or playing for a short time, it’s only sometimes necessary to have the full mattress.

You could get away with not using a mattress if you place the baby in there for a few minutes under your supervision.

However, suppose you plan to have your baby sleep in the pack-n-play. In that case, the fully supportive mattress is strongly advised for its comfort and stability.

Be sure to check the manufacturer’s material, size, and safety labels when purchasing any new items for your baby.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!