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Travel Beds & Play Yards

Evenflo Portable BabySuite Playard

The Evenflo Portable BabySuite Deluxe was waiting on our porch the night we brought our little dude home from the NICU. I was amazed at how small the playard packed up—it was about the size of two shoeboxes end-to-end. I took it upstairs and immediately opened it up, so we could play with it while...

The Evenflo Portable BabySuite Deluxe was waiting on our porch the night we brought our little dude home from the NICU. I was amazed at how small the playard packed up—it was about the size of two shoeboxes end-to-end. I took it upstairs and immediately opened it up, so we could play with it while the baby slept.
The BabySuite Deluxe Playard advertises all kinds of neat features. As a portable crib, it can fold up into an included carrier bag. It has a zip-in bassinet for babies too young or too small to use the full-sized crib (perfect for our little guy) and a detachable changing pad that rotates out of the way for convenience. It even comes with a mobile and a pocket carrier to hold diapers and such.
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As soon as we took the system out of the box, we immediately noticed that there was no instruction manual—or so we thought! After 20 minutes of searching and trying to figure out how to assemble it ourselves, we realized the instructions were hidden in a pocket on the backside of the crib mattress. It’s handy for keeping the manual in reach—especially while traveling—but it would help to know where it is the first time. So, now you know where to find it!
For starters, folding and unfolding the crib can be a process. In theory, you remove the pad, push down or pull up on the center of the floor, and the whole thing expands into a fully formed crib or collapses into a compact bundle. In practice, you have to push release buttons on all four sides and manipulate the floor while flexing the rails. Ultimately, however, this is a minor deal considering all travel cribs take a little bit of work to fold and unfold.
With the exception of the mobile, which folded neatly and connected easily, the installation of the remaining extra features took some effort. The zip-in bassinet is like putting up a tent—multiple aluminum bars snapping together, while the metal and fabric are flopping around. Like anything, do it once or twice, and it’s no big deal; but it is something to consider if you plan on doing a lot of traveling with it.
The changing pad was relatively easy to setup until you get to the last step: clipping the metal arms onto the frame of the crib with two plastic pieces. The pieces weren’t very flexible, so it took some time and effort to get them on. Once attached, though, the changing pad is a convenient feature that makes life easier for parents like us, who don’t have changing table on the first floor of our home.
We were disappointed that the detachable diaper pocket was bent during shipping (to the point that it was unusable). Thankfully, Evenflo was super responsive to this plight and sent us a replacement at no cost!
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Despite any complications, the BabySuite has pretty much everything you could want from a play yard. The bassinet is sturdy, and our little one seems rather comfortable while napping in it. The mobile is great at keeping him engaged while we do housework or when we just need a quick break. The changing pad, which easily flips up and buckles into the frame, is a great place to do the dirty work without having to kneel down on the floor or run up stairs to the changing table. The best part is that once we finish bundling up our freshly changed babe, we can put him right back in the bassinet and flip the changing pad back over and connect it to the outside of the crib, where it is completely out of the way.
Overall, the entire unit is nice to look at, well built and functional—it’s just that getting from pack to play takes more effort than expected. We don’t plan on packing ours up and traveling with it often, knowing how much goes into setup and breakdown. But if you want a bed/play yard you can put in the living room, so your little one can hang with the rest of the family, something you can keep on the first floor so you don’t have to carry the baby upstairs 100 times a day, or a play yard you can leave at grandma and grandpa’s, the Evenflo Portable BabySuite is a great option.
Price: $100
Where to buy: babiesrus.com