Playards have been around for years. They're perfect for travel or for room-sharing when your baby is small. Despite the playard's longevity as a staple for parents everywhere, you still may be asking yourself "is it safe for baby to sleep in a playard?" Like most things, the answer isn't always black and white, and it's always better to be overly cautions, especially about your baby's sleep.
According to On Safety, a website by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been a number of infant deaths and non-fatal injuries related to playards, emphasizing the need for safety precautions. However, the article also stated that the majority of the deaths and injuries weren't sleep related, but were due to improper set up of the playard, or use for children who were old enough to climb out. So, according to CPSC, as long as you're following the setup instructions and proper baby sleep safety tips, letting your baby sleep in one is fine.
If your baby is still in the newborn phase, many playards come with bassinet attachments that are designed for newborns. They can be incredibly convenient, especially when you're room-sharing with your baby. Similarly, when your baby gets old enough, it's fine to let them sleep in the larger part of the playyard. To ensure that your baby is as safe as possible, always lay them on their back to sleep, according to guidelines by the Safe To Sleep campaign, and that there are no blankets, pillows, or toys in the playard with them.
Although they can be great for travel and in small spaces, the mattresses aren't always the most comfortable or firm, so if you play to let your baby sleep in it often, it may be worth investing in a more durable portable mattress ($28).