A newborn baby needs a safe place to sleep, play, interact with others, and watch the world around them. These many activities typically require a great deal of space and childcare necessities, such as a changing station, baby blankets, a crib, baby bibs
, and infant bottles, to name but a few. To new parents, their child’s needs seem inexhaustible and the list of things to buy seem never-ending. Yet, experienced parents are aware that they can buy versatile, multifunctional baby accessories instead.
One of these such useful products is a playpen. Since some parents may not be able to afford or have the space for a baby bouncer
, activity center, playhouse, crib, baby rocker
and other accessories that help keep a baby comfortable and entertained, a modern playpen can be a handy, multifunctional solution. It provides a versatile area where you can put a baby for a nap, playtime, or use it to keep a child safe while a caregiver does some chores or takes a break.
As with all children’s products, it is important to ensure that their new playpen poses no safety issues. Parents, it’s a good idea to read through safety guidelines for playpens you’re interested in purchasing. Although most brands adhere to strict safety standards and normally carry a safety tested seal, it’s still a good idea to look over the structure and test it out. By reading up on what hazards to look out for, parents can readily spot potential playpen problems thus avoiding dangerous situations.
Playpens come in varying sizes, shapes, designs and with different features. As you would imagine, all of these factors affect its price. When considering your play yard budget, bear in mind that your feature and design preference have a large role in determining which model you’ll choose and, in the end, what price you’ll pay. You should expect a price range of around $50 to $200, but be ready to pay a bit higher if you are looking for a high-end quality playpen.
During our research, we found some less expensive playpens. However, they are not featured in this review as they are not good quality and wouldn't last long. Additionally, some of them did not have safety certifications, and we want you to have only the best quality for your little one. We are confident that any product/brand that you select based on this review would afford you good value for your money.
When looking for a playpen for your baby, it’s imperative to understand which ones are more suitable for an infant as opposed to a toddler. There are features that are important to look out for as you go shopping, so you can get the perfect one for your household. Some of these features include:
- Design - This determines its size, how functional it would be, and how long it would last
- Ease of Use and Maintenance - Ensures that it’s easy to use and clean
- Size - This determines the weight of the baby it can be used for and for how long
- Weight - This helps to keep it steady and determines how safe it would be for your baby
- Material it's made of - This affects the quality and durability
- Safety features – These are the most important factors to look out for
- Versatility – Check whether it is multifunctional and can grow with your baby
- Portability and ease of storage - Check the ease of mobility and storage
- Ease of Installation – Ensure that it’s easy to set up and dismantle
- Extra Features – Find out the extras that come with it
Construction and Design
Playpens are designed in different styles and have various features. A model that works for a newborn may not be appropriate for an older baby or toddler. Depending on your budget, you may want to look out for those brands that come with multiple features which make them multipurpose. Some of these features include a bassinet for newborns (suitable from birth till about 15 pounds), a changing station, a diaper holder, and a storage section for wipes and other baby products. When your baby outgrows the bassinet, you can detach it and use the main layer of the playpen (according to safety guidelines it is unsafe to add extra mattress padding). If the foam is too thin and uncomfortable for your baby, you may want to place them elsewhere at night to sleep and keep the playpen for short naps.
The changing station and storage pouch may be detached when they are no longer needed, but are very useful for the first six months of infancy.
When selecting a playpen that has so many wonderful features, make sure they meet the necessary safety requirements. Many baby products are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association and have the seal to show that they have been tested for safety. There are also other authorized bodies that certify baby products as safe. Find out who they are in your area to ensure that those products have the safety seal.
Playpens with wheels are also a good option because they help you move your baby to wherever you are, making it easier for you to keep an eye on them while doing chores. You may also want to look out for extra features like a canopy that would shield your baby from sunlight allowing you to take your baby to activities outdoors. This canopy would also serve as an additional barrier against sound and distracting movements, helping your baby calm down when it is time to rest.
Performance and Ease of Use
A good playpen should be stable and sturdy so as not to tilt or flip over when your baby moves. This is particularly important for children that shift and move around a lot, or toddlers who attempt to climb out. However, it should not be so heavy as to make it cumbersome in case you need to travel with it or take it on an overnighter to grandma’s place.
The time it takes to assemble and disassemble the playpen should be another factor to consider. The last thing you want is a playpen that takes hours to set up and fold down, especially if you are always on the move and would want to double it as a travel cot. Wooden playpens are more difficult to assemble than the foldable material ones. Even though you can certainly move them around or travel with them, they are not ideal if you’re looking for something you can easily fold up and store. So, all in all, playpens made of fabrics that have structural metal supports are usually the best option for parents. They ensure a straightforward setup, simple dismantling, and are also portable and easy to store. Hands down, that is truly a winning combination for already exhausted parents. For families who are frequently on the go or who often need to take their babies with them, these portable, foldable play yards can be a real lifesaver.
Playpens with detachable parts are easy to clean and maintain because, no matter what you drop or spill on it, all you need to do is detach the affected part and clean it according to the manual.
Playpens with clear, breathable mesh provide ample ventilation for the baby while giving the parent or caregiver a clear view of the child. Most playpens have safety zippers that act as an added safety barrier which ensures the child doesn't roll or crawl out. These zippers also help keep other children, such as siblings, from removing the baby from the play yard. Lastly, before purchasing any playpen, parents should spend some time thoroughly testing its safety features to guarantee that it is a safe product for their child.
There are no perfect playpens out there, and that’s because each and every family have different needs and requirements. What works just right for one family might be inadequate for another. When trying to decide which playpen suits your needs best, keep in mind what features are important to you, all while looking at the selection within your price range. You can then decide which play yard will be ideal for your child, keeping them safe and content as you go about your daily routine. Taking these factors into consideration will help you figure out what is “best” for you.
We hope we have provided some valuable information to help you choose which playpen would be perfect for your baby. Maintain your peace of mind knowing that your infant can rest, play, or interact with you, all from the safety of their new playpen as you attend to other matters. Get your play yard now and keep your bundle of joy safe and happy.