Playpens or play yards come in various types. The most common kind looks like a softer version of a crib with sides made of cloth and mesh. Unlike cribs, most playpens are foldable and portable.
Other playpens don’t double as a crib; they only have plastic gates that enclose the baby within a confined space.
How to Choose a Baby Playpen
While playpens are generally safe for babies, it is not advisable to leave an infant unsupervised for a long period. In choosing the best playpen for your baby, keep the following tips in mind:
Make sure it’s by a reputable manufacturer
The shop you are purchasing from can usually clue you in: if they are a well-established store selling well-known brands, you’re likely in good hands. But if you are purchasing online, pay better attention: look into the playpen manufacturer. Are they credible? This will give you a good idea on the quality of the playpen.
Inspect the playpen for hazards
It’s important to ensure that the playpen is safe for use before buying. If you can, inspect the product in person for any hazards. Look out for the following:
- Paint that peels off
- Splintered wood, if it has wood compartments
- Loose screws and other plastic parts, which the baby can undo easily
- Wide rails, for those with fences
- Loosely-attached mesh
- Mesh with large holes
The sides should also be at least 20 inches high, with the locks out of your baby’s reach.