Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review of Graco Pack n Play Underwood Safari

When I was a kid and we'd go to visit our grandparents, I remember this unusual contraption in one of the guest bedrooms (which used to be my mom's room growing up). When I got older, I learned that it was a crib that my grandpa had built that was attached to the wall and pulled out when it needed to be used. Being the youngest, I never saw it used (except maybe by my cousins when I was little). It was a wonderful thing for our parents, so they didn't have to worry about where their babies and toddlers would sleep. And just like all things that my grandpa built, it was very sturdy and safe.

When planning the trip to Washington, obviously a big concern was where Alex could sleep. Whenever we've traveled in the past, we've been able to use porta-cribs. My mom has one for when the granbabies come, so does my mother-in-law. They're really great because they fold up when they're not being used so they're not in the way. It's kind of like the one in my grandparents house, but they're made of plastic instead of wood, and they can be moved to various places, depending on what is most convenient.

But we had a problem for this trip. We were staying with Aaron's Aunt Tammy, and she didn't have one of these cribs, or anywhere else to sleep. So we decided to get one for ourselves that we could keep and use. At about 10 p.m., we arrived at Spokane and went to the only store open that I knew would have port-a-cribs, and that was Walmart. We found a Graco Pack 'n Play. I was in a hurry, so I admit I didn't take too much time deciding. I had thought it would be much more when I went to pay because the only price tag I saw was for $128, but the products in that area were really jumbled, so I wasn't sure of the price. I suppose because unlike other pack 'n plays, it only had a diaper changing area (and not a bassinet and "napper," like this one), it was much less. That was fine with us since Alex is too old for those options (in fact, he's too old for the diaper changer since he's over 25 lbs).

It doesn't say on there that it's made for sleeping in, and since it's called a "playard" I'm guessing it's official purpose is as a playpen. The description on Graco's site does mention napping in it, but not sleeping in it. Still, I had seen older Graco products that looked exactly the same, but they were called port-a-cribs, so I figured, it was probably the same.

So we took it home and asked Aaron to set up the crib while I brought our stuff inside. It was already after 10 at night, so I wanted to Alex asleep as soon as possible. Within 10 minutes (possibly less), the crib was all set up. It was so easy! And the proof of how comfortable it was showed in how well Alex slept in it. He didn't wake up till about 8:30 a.m. (which is 9:30 our time), and I think that was partly due to me walking through the room he was sleeping in.

The second night he slept in it, he did wake up around 2 a.m. When I went in to check on him, he'd wedged his head into the corner of the playard and I think woke because he was uncomfortable. I pulled him back to the middle of the crib and he was fine and went right back to sleep, so I don't think it's something I would want him to use long term, but for occasional trips, it is really nice. Not only was it quick to set up, but it was put away easily as well, and has a nice carrying case to help you travel with it. My husband says that the rails were kind of stiff, and you had to push pretty hard to get them to collapse, but this is likely due to it being new, and will likely loosen as we use it more.

When we were packing up the car to go home, we worried about it fitting somewhere in the car, since we didn't have it on the trip up, but it packs up so small, it really wasn't hard to find a spot. Overall, we've been very pleased with the purchase (though I'll let you know if I have any more thoughts on it once we've used it more).

I was thinking that I might use it for Alex's time outs as we start to discipline him more. I read in one of my parenting books that you need a safe place to give timeouts (and having it in one spot is a little difficult for children at this age). They talked about using their bedrooms, but I read somewhere else that using a child's bedroom as punishment is not good because then they come to associate their room with negative feelings, so maybe the playard can solve both of these problems.

Just the Facts

Store: Walmart
Regular Price: $60.00
Date Purchased: November 2009
Rating: 3.8/5

Decent playard that works great when you need a crib while traveling. Comfortable and easy to set up.

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