• Larger than most playards
• The carrying case has a full shoulder strap for travel
• Attached wheels make it easy to move it around the house or bring it outdoors
• Too bulky for small rooms
• Breaking down each rail takes some time and attention
• Securing the mattress straps to the playard floor can be tedious
The Joovy Room2 Playard is plenty roomy for baby to sprawl out with lots of toys, and still folds down into a reasonably compact size for storage and travel.
Rating: 4 stars
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My daughter is just over a year old, and while she’s not walking yet, she’s a power scooter so she can get around pretty quickly. The Joovy Room2 is a great option for containing her when I want to make dinner or clean up without her pinching my heels or heading down the hall and out of sight. At 10 square feet, this playard is a lot roomier than other playards I’ve tried (offering one to three square feet more play space than some other brands—that’s room for up to four more Take Along Elmo plush toys!). I like that I can toss in several toys and there’s still plenty of room for my daughter to move around or even lie down—she’s even napped in it before. ( Ed Note : According to Joovy, the Room2 is large enough and durable enough to even accommodate twins—or playdates with baby’s friends.)
Lately the weather has been nice, so I’ve rolled it out onto the patio where I can sit outside and drink a cup of coffee without worrying about her launching off a step onto concrete or tearing apart my potted plants. Two attached wheels on the bottom of the playard make it easy to move the playard around the house or bring it outside without having to fold it all up first, and the large mesh sides of the playard give my daughter full visibility of her surroundings. The playard is bottom-heavy, making it super sturdy, and is built to support babies until they’re 35-inches tall (about the height of an average kitchen counter).
Another great feature I really like is the included carrying case with an exterior shoulder strap. I borrowed a friend’s playard from another brand several months ago and brought it on a vacation, but I found that it was difficult to get the handle in the right position and was extremely awkward to carry it through the airport. Having the option to sling the Room2 over your shoulder is crucial when you also have a stroller to push and a suitcase to pull. When it’s folded up, the playard measures 37 x 9 x 9 inches and weighs a little over 30 pounds (imagine carrying about four gallons of water at once)—just keep in mind that’s definitely on the heavier side as other portable playards and travel cribs can range from 7 to 25 pounds.
I love that there’s barely any assembly required to set up the Room2. The steel bars are sturdy and easily snap into place—you just need to make sure to take each top bar and snap it straight before flattening the bottom of the playard. If you secure the base first, these bars will remain bent. The only somewhat frustrating thing I found when putting this playard together is that if you want to fully secure the mattress pad to the bottom of the playard, it requires squeezing Velcro straps through tiny slits, and the Velcro tends to get stuck multiple times during this process.
Collapsing the Joovy Room2 is also pretty simple, but it definitely takes a bit more effort and attention than when you take it out. You remove the mattress pad and pull up on a hook in the middle of the base before pressing a button on each rail—it takes a little fiddling to get the locking mechanism on the rails to release. Once all the rails fully fold down (there are two points that need to release on each rail), you just press the four corners of the playard together, roll it up in the mattress and slide it into the carrying case.
As far as playards go, the Joovy Room2 is pretty sleek, simple and designed for convenience. There are even little illustrations right on the mattress pad that show you how to assemble the playard so you don’t have to go crazy looking for the instruction booklet.
I opted for the black playard, but it’s also available in three fun, bright colors—red, yellow and purple. The playard comes with a thick, 100 percent cotton mattress sheet that’s held up through multiple washes, but you can buy additional sheets separately ($40). All of the fabric, including the carry bag, is made of high-quality nylon, which makes it incredibly durable and easy to wipe down with warm water and a mild household soap or detergent. The rails are steel and extremely sturdy, and the space is roomy and perfect for toddlers. Just don’t expect to cram it into a teeny room or maneuver it easily down a narrow hall.
If you plan to purchase just one playard and you don’t live in super-tight quarters, I’d recommend you go with the Joovy Room2, since it will last you into the toddler stage. It gives my daughter plenty of room to move around, and I was surprised by how much she likes spending time in it.