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Best Play Yards for Baby

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Today's play yards have come a long way from the basic playpens you used as a kid. The play yards below have plenty of additional features that make them useful for napping babies and changing diapers, along with the typical play yard purpose - containing toddlers. Available in a range of prices and in pared down or upscale models, there's a play yard for every baby here.

1. Chicco Lullaby LX Play Yard

Chicco Lullaby LX Play Yard
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.

This mid-range play yard sells for $160-$190, and has pretty much every feature you could want in a play yard. The changing table is attached to the play yard so that you can simply lay it over the side when it's not in use. There's a music unit with vibration and a night light that can be operated by remote control, and a toy bar that can be used in or out of the play yard. You can use the bassinet for smaller babies, and then the main play yard is rated for babies up to 30 lbs. I particularly like that the mattress can be removed and machine-washed. The wheels also stick through the carry bag, so you can roll the play yard around for travel.

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2. Graco Pack N Play Element Play Yard

Graco Pack N Play Element Play Yard
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.

Graco has long been the king of the play yard game, and for good reason. Their Pack N Plays, like this Element play yard version, come in lots of styles, patterns, and price ranges, plus they can be found with all sorts of convenience features. The Pack N Play Element play yard is one of the mid-priced versions, at about $125-150, but it's loaded with accessories. A bassinet, toy bar and diaper changing table are included with all of the Element play yards I've seen. Some have a diaper stacker, while others have a diaper storage area up top by the changing table. Some versions also have a canopy.

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3. Safety 1st Travel Ease Elite Play Yard

Safety 1st Travel Ease Elite Play Yard
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Priced around $100, this play yard may be a great choice if you're on a budget. While it may be a little less durable than high priced play yards, the Safety 1st Travel Ease Elite play yard has nearly every feature you could want. It lacks a music or vibration unit, but it does have a toy bar, a changing table, a bassinet insert, and a storage basket that hangs on the side for diapering supplies. This is also an attractive play yard, available in several color schemes. I like that this play yard is narrow enough that you can wheel it through most household doorways.

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4. Graco Pack N Play Play Yard

Graco Pack N Play Play Yard
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.

The basic Pack N Play from Graco is still a great choice, especially if you're on a budget or don't need much in the way of accessories. Priced at around $70, this basic play yard does come with a bassinet insert and a toy bar. It features the easy fold and unfold that Graco is known for with the Pack N Play series. These play yards also tend to hold up pretty well, so you'll get a lot of bang for relatively little buck.

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5. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light Play Yard

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light Play Yard
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.

For families that take their play yard on the road often, the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light might be a good fit versus a classic play yard. This travel crib will work for newborns up through the toddler years, and it weighs only 11 lbs, so you won't feel the strain when carrying this play yard on vacation. The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is on the pricier end of the scale for play yards at about $250. However, if you'll be opening and closing the play yard often and hauling it around, you might appreciate the more travel-friendly features despite the price.

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6. Graco Pack N Play Modern Play Yard

Graco Pack N Play Moderne Play Yard
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.

With all of the convenience features you could want, the Modern play yard from Graco's Pack N Play series is one of the best available. It has a cool, modern look and a cantilevered changing table that puts baby higher up so you don't have to hunch over to change a diaper. Adjacent to the changer is a refillable wipes case and space for diaper storage. There's a sound and lights electronic unit that also vibrates to soothe your baby, and a cute toy bar hangs on the canopy. You can use the bassinet for smaller babies, or use the full play yard space later on. About $200. 

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7. Graco Pack N Play Oasis Play Yard

Graco Pack N Play Oasis Play Yard
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.

Made to look more like your classic wood furniture, this pretty play yard is more than just good looks. It has the easy folding and unfolding capabilities of other Pack N Play models, along with a bassinet insert and a lights and music unit with vibration. I like the changing table that folds out of the way when it's not in use. The storage bins (there are 6 in all) are handy, too, for diapers and changing supplies. At about $225, this is one of the more expensive Pack N Play models, but it's a fantastic play yard that will look great in any room of the house.

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