Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard Review

An all-in-one place for baby to sleep and play

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4.5

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard

Verywell Family / Katie Begley

What We Like
  • Lots of included accessories

  • Bassinet option

  • Grows with baby

  • Highly portable

What We Don't Like
  • Setup takes some practice

  • Accessories are difficult to store

Bottom Line

The Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard is a good purchase that you will use for years with your baby and toddler. It makes traveling simple and safe, and it provides extra accessories to use around your home.

4.5

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard

Verywell Family / Katie Begley

We purchased the Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard so our reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it with her infant. Keep reading for our full product review.

Traveling with a baby is no easy feat. You need your run-of-the-mill items like diaper bags, changing pads, pacifiers, clothes, and toys, but then you also have to think about larger items like car seats, strollers, carriers, and where baby is going to sleep. There are a lot of travel cribs on the market and each comes with different features depending on what parents want and need. The Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard is one such option which comes with a changing station, removable vibrating seat and bassinet, built-in shelves, and, of course, a spacious, mesh-enclosed playard. To see if the all-in-one travel crib was ideal for sleep and play, we tested it with our 3-month-old daughter. Read on to see how she liked it. 

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard
Verywell Family / Katie Begley

Setup Process: Gets easier with practice

Our biggest gripe with the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard is how difficult it is to set up. The instructions are clear and include helpful diagrams, but getting the rails to properly lock takes more luck than knowledge. This is the first step of setting up the playard, so if you’re easily frustrated, be warned that this is the hardest part. If you try to push the base down before locking the rails, the playard will just continue to fall in on itself. Most pack ‘n plays are designed this way, but some companies do have one-hand assembly. 

The Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat and the changing table insert were also challenging to put together. That said, they aren’t as portable as the playard, so we don’t see ourselves assembling/disassembling them as often as we’ll use them primarily at home. The two accessories feature a vibration unit which can be turned on/off depending on your baby’s preference. This unit attaches to the electronics module (which also controls the sound and light) via embedded cords in the playard and bassinet itself. We like that the cords are tucked away, so they won’t be tugged on by baby. The power comes from three AA batteries in the electronics module. You will need to supply those, as well as a screwdriver to remove the panel and install them. 

Our biggest gripe with the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard is how difficult it is to set up.

Luckily, packing up the playard is pretty easy since there are release buttons on each rail. The mattress folds around the playard frame and it all fits into the included carrying case. The accessories, however, don’t have a designated storage or transport system and were very awkward to pack. When we travel with the entire setup, we ended up just leaving them assembled and loaded them on top of the bags in our trunk.  

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard
Verywell Family / Katie Begley 

Design and Performance: Room for everything

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard, which is certified by the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) was designed to provide a space for every activity and item a baby could need. The central component is the playard itself, a 33.25 x 28.5 x 40-inch enclosed crib which works for playtime as well as sleep. Beyond that, the pack ‘n play offers a few extras, including a vibrating bassinet, a diaper changing insert, and a removable rocking seat. The mattress pad (which lines the playard and is secured with hook and loop tabs) can be folded up for easy transportation and you can also raise it for use in the bassinet.  

We used the pack ‘n play as a bassinet sleeping space in our home as well as a portable crib while traveling. While the set did take up a lot of room in our SUV, it was worth it as we knew our 3 month old had a safe, comfortable place to sleep. The issue of space isn’t unique to Graco’s model, either; most pack ‘n play portable cribs take up a fair amount of room even when folded.  

One of our favorite design features is the bassinet insert.

One of our favorite design features is the bassinet insert. The bassinet uses the same mattress as the playard but it’s raised up so it’s easier to monitor and reach your baby throughout the night. We did have to provide our own sheet, as it doesn’t come with one, but you can easily purchase this directly from Graco or another retailer. Once the playard is set up, it’s easy to attach the bassinet and it includes hanging shelves which can be accessed through a zipper panel at the bottom of the playard. We used this space to store diapers, wipes, and extra clothes. This was especially handy when we were traveling as we didn’t have to dig through a diaper bag to find the items we use most often. Since we have two toddlers, we also appreciate that the zipper has a two-part buckle which keeps the compartments from being accessed by curious hands. 

As mentioned earlier, the playard also comes with a vibration unit. Our 3 month old was not a fan of the vibration when we tested it out under the bassinet mattress, but some babies may love this feature. The playard is also equipped with sound and light controls. We used the white noise option a lot as it helped our baby fall asleep quicker at night. You can choose between this setting or nature sounds and you can control the volume and set a timer, if you wish, via a panel on the side of the playard’s railing. There is also a light option but we didn’t use it often. If you use the changing table at night, it could help, but then you risk waking up baby. 

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard
Verywell Family / Katie Begley

Age Range: Birth through toddler

The bassinet can be used from the time that baby is born up until they are 15 pounds or pushing up on their hands and knees. The removable seat, which does have straps to secure baby as well as soft microfleece lining, can be used for infants under 3 months. 

We tested the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with our 3-month-old daughter and she slept well in both the bassinet and the playard. We preferred the bassinet because it was easier for us to reach her and we could store her spare diapers in the hanging shelves, but we expect to transition her to the playard by the time we take our next road trip in a few months.

We used the pack ‘n play as a bassinet sleeping space in our home as well as a portable crib while traveling.

The changing table can be used with babies up to 30 pounds, though we expect our daughter to be wiggling off before she reaches the weight limit. This accessory was useful but not essential for us. It was much easier to just bring along an extra towel and use that as a clean surface for diaper changes.

The construction of the playard is sturdy and durable; the fabric has stayed in tip-top shape throughout our testing. Because the sides are mesh, it is prone to tears, though. While we haven’t had any issues yet, we could see it suffering a few rips if you have a super active toddler. While there’s no suggested age for the playard, Graco does recommend using it only with kids under 35 inches tall as they could otherwise climb out. 

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard
Verywell Family / Katie Begley 

Safety: Meets all recommendations

When purchasing a portable playard—or any baby product, for that matter—we always scrutinize the safety requirements to make sure it’s been tested and approved by the JPMA. Both the playard and the bassinet have mesh sides to allow baby to breath, even if they get close to the edge or corner. The mattress itself is also firm, another important component of safe sleep.  

Setting up the playard correctly is important to make sure that it will stay secure. There are numerous safety guidelines at each step of the instructions, such as making sure that Velcro straps are secured and noting where and how to properly attach the accessories. We appreciated the special attention to detail here.

Graco Pack 'n Play Cuddle Cove Playard
Verywell Family / Katie Begley 

Price: A worthwhile investment

Graco’s $240 asking price is nothing to sneeze at, but the pack ‘n play does offer all-in-one functionality with a changing table, removable seat, bassinet, and playard. Plus, it’s ideal for families who frequently travel or spend the night at grandma’s house. If properly stored and taken care of, we could see the set lasting through multiple children.  

Competition: Pay more for accessories and convenience

4Moms Breeze Plus: If ease of use is high on your pack ‘n play priority list, check out the 4moms Breeze Plus. The sleek playard can be set up and broken down with just the push of a button, and its price is comparable to Graco’s at $299. With a size of 43 x 30 x 29 inches, it is slightly bigger than Graco’s option, but it still breaks down to fold into a provided carrying case. While it lacks a few of the accessories that come with the Graco Pack ‘n Play, it does still offer a removable bassinet and changer.  

Graco Pack ‘n Play On the Go Playard: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly playard that’s still from a highly regarded brand, Graco’s Pack ‘n Play On the Go Playard is a great option. The $100 model (which often goes for as little as $70) is 20 percent more compact than most playards and it features a reach-through bassinet. It’s also available in a handful of colors and patterns.  

Final Verdict

A safe, versatile space for baby to sleep and play. 

We consider a portable, high-quality pack ‘n play to be a must-have for new parents. The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard has all the design and safety features one could want, plus extra inserts and accessories that make life and travel easier.

Specs

  • Product Name Pack ‘n Play Playard
  • Product Brand Graco
  • MPN 1927564
  • Price $239.99
  • Weight 33.22 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 33.25 x 28.5 x 40 in.
  • Warranty 1 year for material and workmanship defects
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