I got my first Graco play yard more than 10 years ago, while I was expecting my first baby.
It was the one item my mom friends told me they couldn’t live without, and they were right: I used that play yard for five years, first for my daughter when she was smaller and then for little guests when she outgrew it. The only reason I got a new one was that I was pregnant again, and quite honestly I just wanted a new style. The next one I got lasted another five years, until Travel Bed Week hit the P&N Good Gear blog and I was assigned the duty of reviewing something new.
My first instinct was to review a new version of the same old Pack ‘N Play I already knew and loved. But just to shake things up a little, I went for the Graco Travel Lite Crib instead. And yes, I’m making fun of myself with that “shake things up” comment. I’m definitely a creature of habit and cling to things that I’m comfortable with, so it might not be the most original pick of the week, but it’s one that I’m very happy with.
So how is the travel crib different from a play yard? For starters, it’s smaller—about 20 percent smaller—which is a good thing when you’re planning to use your bed mostly on the go. (Smaller=weighs less=easier to carry!) It weighs less than 20 pounds and is easy to put together—it folds and unfolds just like a traditional Pack 'N Play (including the convenient push-button fold), and since I’m obviously familiar with that process, it was pretty simple. It also comes with a carrying bag for toting ease, as well as a bassinet and canopy.
Really, the only difference in a travel crib and a play yard, in my opinion, is the size. (Although some of the more expensive play yards also have more options, such as a diaper stacker and changing table.) So if I were an expecting mom trying to decide between the two, I would break it down like this:
Am I short on space, or do I primarily plan to use my play yard while on the go? If the answer is yes, I would opt for the Travel Lite Crib, which takes up less room and is easier to transport.
Will my play yard be a staple in my house, serving as a bassinet and more for baby and used on a daily basis? If the answer to that question is yes, I would probably spend a little more and go for the full size Pack ‘n’ Play. But either option is one you’ll be happy with. Graco products are built to last and have a long, strong reputation behind them, so sometimes going for the obvious—however boring a choice it may be—is the wisest option.
Buy it: Babies”R”Us