A common question that new parents, especially those who live in apartments where space is often at a premium, ask at some point in time while shopping for baby furniture is whether they should invest in a playard or a pack-and-play, as they tend to be referred to these days, or a crib. As we all know, there is no one-size-fits-all type of solution for this problem. Ultimately, furniture choices are deeply affected by constraints such as space and expense. Personal preference also plays a role. And when you are weighing two options, both of which have their pros and cons, well… the choice too must ultimately come from you.
Cribs have one major advantage over any other type of sleep furniture for your baby. You (or rather, your growing baby) will use it a lot longer than it would any other sleep environment, including a playard. This is especially true if you invest in a convertible crib, in which case, you are literally set for a lifetime – from babyhood to adulthood. Playards are typically not meant to last a lifetime. On an average, babies grow out of playards by the time they are 3 years old.
Cribs can be a bit much for parents who have a mobile lifestyle. Assembling and dis-assembling often will not only be severely inconvenient, but it may also weaken the structure of the crib – loosened nuts and bolts, damaged slats and so on. A typical playard, however, is built to be mobile. Easy to pack, easy to install, easy to use.
Bending down to reach for the baby or put her in the crib can be sometimes difficult. But those tall railings are there for a reason folks! We don’t want our babies climbing out! Playards or pack and plays, however, do not have super tall railings. This, of course, can be a disadvantage if you have a particularly energetic youngster on your hands.
The price point for cribs and playards can vary, depending on the brand and type. Generally, cribs are more expensive. They are also more solid. Playards are lighter and generally use material that are lower down in the strength order.
So what then is the end message? Well, we end almost exactly where we started. Almost, but not quite. The crib is a clear winner in the strength and longevity categories and by extension, in the safety category as well, but not by a large margin. However, playards best the cribs in the ease-of-use category. So you choice then, depends on your usage. Think carefully about the following and you will have your answer:
- Where will I use it?
- Will I be travelling anytime soon?
- Do I want something lightweight or something solid and stable?
- Do I want to be able to move it from room to room?
- How much do I want to spend?
We cannot stress this enough: While it is of utmost importance that you keep yourself educated and informed, it is equally important to remember that all you read need not be accurate and sometimes, not even true. So consult your baby’s physician before making purchases – especially those that will be ingested or applied your baby’s body.
As a parent, keeping your baby safe, healthy and happy is your responsibility and yours alone. Stay informed and stay on top!