When it comes to useful baby items, the right playpen is something that you will use time and time again. A baby playpen can serve as a safe place to set your baby down, a large play area to keep them busy, or even a travel crib. Below, we’ve listed 7 of our favorite baby playpens and what makes them so great.
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What is a playpen?
A playpen is usually a small portable enclosure which has bars or a net on the walls with an opening on the top whereby a baby or a child is put to play and keep distracted especially when the parent or guardians are busy or not close for supervision.
Most playpens are made of wood furniture so that they can be easy to move around or change the location.
Also, wood is mostly preferred due to its weight’s nature, more flexible in decorating and safe.
It is a creative safe space for a child to play and amuse itself away from the artificial world.
A playpen should not be confused with a crib because a playpen is usually made of lighter material hence is more portable than a crib which may be located in one designated area in a room.
Various ages that are suitable for playpen;
- Four to six months; a baby should be introduced to playpen not later than four months so that the baby grows up knowing that the playpen is secure for play. In case of later introduction, the baby might feel insecure being left in an enclosed space.
- Six to eight months; at this age the baby is learning some milestones and a playpen is the ideal place to do so since it is secured and will give a sense of security. When in it one needs to introduce new toys so that as they stretch to get them, they can learn to stand or sit on their own.
- Eight to ten months; at this age the child is able to crawl or stand up. Putting them in an enclosed space might seem to limit their adventurous spirit. It is advisable to give them space to explore and the playpen may not be the best option.
Different uses of a playpen
A playpen comes in handy when a toddler needs to nap.
Here the advantage is that a child can adopt to sleep anywhere since he/she is not limited to his/her bed.
There are sometimes when a child engages in his/her independent playtime and so a parent/guardian can avail some toys in the playpen for the child to play with.
When in transit, a playpen will come in handy since it will ease the task of carrying the baby in your arms.
It helps the parent to free up their time, and allow one to perform other duties while the baby plays or naps in the playpen.
Playpens will also ‘act’ as a bed where sleeping quarters may be small and so the parents/guardian may utilize the bed while the baby uses the playpen.
It is advisable to use a playpen in places that are dangerous in the household such as places with exposed electrical cables or outlets and places where pets are kept to prevent children from the pets’ harm or contamination (infections).
There are several factors to consider before the purchase or acquisition of a playpen such as the weight of the baby.
One needs to choose a playpen that will be able to support the weight of the baby and not collapse while the baby is playing or napping.
Another aspect to look into is the size of the baby.
A playpen should have ample space for the child or toddler to be able to play with minimal restrictions
The construction of the playpen should ensure that it’s easy to handle.
In instances when the playpen is not in use it should be able to fold or hang for storage.
The size of the enclosed area where the playpen is designated is also another major factor to consider.
One should not purchase a big (large) playpen when his household has limited space as this would hinder the movement of other parties in the household.
The other factor to check on are the extra features that may come with the playpen package such as attached wheels that facilitate transport, features such as diaper stacks or a space for storing the baby’s essentials.
A rocking attachment can also be very useful incase you want to lull a baby to sleep.
When planning to buy a playpen one should also consider his/her budget and buy something which is pocket friendly since it is not for long-term use.
There are some different types of playpens
1) Standard playpen
This is for indoor purposes of child entertainment which consists of a raised floor and open sides so that the child can interact with its supervisor.
2) Playpens Gates
There are also some playpens that don’t have floors and are also called playpens gates that can be set outside in a lawn or in a house corner.
It is more spacious though it cannot be used for travel.
3) Travel playpens
These are able to fold and more compact.
They are used mainly for baby naps while traveling.
The ideal age for a child or baby to start using a playpen is above six months when the baby starts to crawl.
It is also advisable to buy or acquire one before the baby starts to move around so that it does not feel confined or restricted in one specific place.
Playpen should not be used in case its broken or damaged in any way, has holes or is dirty.
Avoid putting items that a baby can use to hurt itself such as dangling ropes or ribbons so as to avoid accidents.
Playpen has its pros and cons;
It creates a safe haven for a baby to reside without fear of being hurt when the parent or guardian is not around.
It gives the parent/guardian ample time to conduct his/her household chores without hindrances.
If the child becomes tired and has had enough of play, the playpen can double up as a napping place for it to rest and slumber.
The playpen also helps train the baby in sitting skills since it has walls to support the back of the baby.
A baby learns to walk very early when growing because the baby can walk along the hand-holds, enhancing and improving his/her steadiness.
Playpen brings about detachment between parent or guardian to its baby, whereby the parent may in turn become lazy and deprive the child the parental love that it deserves when leaving the baby in playpen for long.
There are some arguments that suggest that prolonged stay in the playpen can affect the physical development of a child but is yet to be verified.
Steps on making playpen for 13 months baby
Step 1. You can make a playpen for your 13 months baby. If you try this, it’s very easy and fun to do! Why not take some time and construct one in the shape of an octagon?
Step 2. You can use simple supplies such as square sheets of plywood or rectangular pieces of particle board just cut down into manageable sizes to create the [octagonal](/glossary) shapes that will become each side panel.
Step 3. Securely attach them with wood screws, then add hinges so that when folded out they form a large square.
Step 4. Hinge two adjacent panels to either end (if working with plywood), put strong magnets on all four corners if using sheet metal instead. Finally, paint the finished product whatever color suits your taste.
Can you safely co-sleep with a newborn?
Co-sleeping can be safe if you know what to do. First, make sure your baby’s room is on the cooler side and that there are no blankets or pillows near them since this could pose a suffocation risk. Second, always place your newborn infant sleepers on their back to reduce SIDS risks.
Next, co-sleep only during naps or nighttime sleep so mommy can hear her little one without having to get out of bed every time they need something. If you feel uncomfortable with these guidelines then it might not be right for you!
But remember: just because you don’t want to co-sleep does not mean that other people should also avoid doing so as well! It depends upon each family’s preferences.
How do you fix a pack n play?
The pack n play may need to be fixed if the mattress is not fitting properly.
Assemble your tools and materials.
To begin, you will need a flat head screwdriver. You can use this tool for multiple purposes on the pack n play, so it is good to have one handy at all times! A drill with screws might also come in useful as well as some wood glue or nails depending on what needs fixing.
Make sure that you are wearing appropriate safety gear before starting such as goggles or gloves because accidents can happen when working around sharp objects like saws and drills. If there isn’t any damage done to anything yet but just want to replace things where they go when you don’t even need tools!
Sometimes people just want to rearrange the pack n play so they take out all of the screws and put them in a different place or replace old ones with new stronger nails.
How do you wash an ingenuity washable playard?
First, you need to unzip the bassinet and remove it from your playard. Then fold up the sides of the playard until they lock in place (they will stay folded).
Unfold them once fully locked into place, then use an adjustable wrench or pliers to gently release any tension on the zipper around the mesh panel by turning the bottom portion that is connected underneath the bassinet pad away from the centre towards the outer edge of the mattress.
Now take a damp washcloth and wipe down inside portions where the baby’s head would be laying when sleeping; make sure there are no dirt particles left behind after wiping the cloth across the surface area because this could cause damage later if not properly wiped off before folding back together again for storage purposes.
Once done with the washing process, make sure all fabric is completely dry before folding back together (if not folded correctly, it could cause the zipper to get stuck when trying to re-zip).
Once the pad has been detached from the playard and cleaned up, you can now remove the bassinet liner by unzipping the mesh panel on top of the mattress where the baby’s head would be while sleeping.
You will see two exposed metal bars that are holding in place; grab hold of these with pliers or adjustable wrench and twist them gently counterclockwise until they unlock.
With your hand still firmly grasping onto the exposed bar underneath the plastic lining, pull upwards slightly so the bottom portion comes off but keep the bar resting against the underside/backside of the plastic lining so it doesn’t break apart during the laundering process. Now you can remove the liner from the play yard without worry of breaking any parts.
Before putting back together, make sure all fabric is dry and clean; otherwise, the plastic lining will not fit correctly onto metal bars if still damp/wet (will cause discoloring).
Once everything has been wiped down on the inside portion where the baby’s head would be laying while sleeping, re-attach the mesh panel to the mattress by replacing the bar that was held in place between two exposed bars underneath the plastic lining.
Insert one end into the groove at the top then push downwards towards the bottom until it snaps into place–you should hear a click after pushing firmly.
Then take another bar and repeat previous steps for inserting into grooves located along the edge of side panels under the bassinet pad.
Once everything is in place and snapped together, you can now re-attach the bassinet pad back onto the playard by zipping up the top portion (it may take a few tries to line it up correctly) until all plastic lining has been completely covered.
Once done with this process, zip the bottom portion of the zipper underneath the mesh panel towards the outer edge of the mattress; make sure no dirt particles are left behind because this could cause damage when trying to fold everything back into storage position for next use.
Now that your washable ingenuity playard is cleaned and dried properly, you can also remove white dust covers from inside portions where the baby’s head would be laying while sleeping–simply unzip them just like any other piece of fabric on the entire product and remove.
Now that everything has been cleaned and dried, you can now reassemble your washable ingenuity playard for your next use!
Make sure all fabrics are completely dry before folding back together again (if not folded correctly, it could cause the zipper to get stuck when trying to zip up).
Best Baby Play Pens
1.Graco Pack N Play
Keep in mind: The bassinet feature is only recommended for babies who weigh 15 pounds or less and are unable to push up on their hands and knees.Why it’s great: This Graco Playpen just screams versatility. It’s not only affordable but also functional in a number of ways including as a small play area for your baby, as a travel crib or bassinet as well. There is a bassinet attachment that allows the mattress pad to be higher up, but this attachment can be removed, allowing for the pad to be moved to the bottom of the playpen turning it into more of a traditional playpen for older babies.
Good for: Families on a budget who want to get multiple uses out of their playpen.
2.SASRL Baby Playpen
Keep in mind: Since this playpen is a bit larger, it may not be ideal for travel. It’s a great item to have set up at home for your baby or toddler to play in.Why it’s great: The SASRL Baby Playpen is the ultimate play area for any baby. This playpen is soft, spacious, and sturdy. It even comes with included plastic balls to turn it into a ball pit. As a safe and fun play area for babies and toddlers of all ages, this item is worth the investment because you’re likely to get many years of use out of it. The mesh side panels are made with eco-friendly, natural materials and feature zipper doors that can be closed to keep your baby contained, or opened to allow them to enter and leave as they please.
Good for: Spacious areas and busy babies.
3.Regalo My Portable Play Yard
Keep in mind: This playpen is only recommended for babies between the ages of 6 and 24 months, so it wouldn’t be useful for younger babies.Why it’s great: Unfolding and setting up in seconds, the Regalo Portable Play Yard is a great playpen to take on the go. As a portable, lightweight option this playpen can go just about anywhere with you and the included carrying case makes it easy to throw over your shoulder (even with a baby on your hip!) This playpen can be set up inside or outside and even features water resistant material. Since this playpen is fully assembled, all you have to do to set it up is unfold it and click it into place.
Good for: Older babies and toddlers.
4.Toddleroo 8 Panel Play Yard
Why it’s great: The Toddleroo 8 Panel Play Yard helps create a super spacious, safe play area for your baby. This gated play area can be set up just about anywhere and offers up to 34.4 square feet of play space. With the option to set it up as an 8-panel or 6-panel play yard, you’re able to decide how big you want it to be, perfectly fitting it to your space. The included carrying strap makes this playpen easy to take on the go and durable features such as skid-resistant pads make it safe for your little one.
Keep in mind: The super spacious features of this playpen make it ideal to set up in large, open spaces, such as the living room or backyard. However, if you live in a smaller, more condensed home, it may not fit well.
Good for: Multiple children and toddlers.
5.Fisher Price On the Go Baby Dome
Why it’s great: The Fisher-Price On-the-Go Baby Dome is the perfect item for parents of young babies. This compact, portable, play area can be set up anywhere and can even serve as a safe place for a nap. The included hanging toys help with sensory play. This playpen allows you to go anywhere with your little one. Set it up outside so you and your baby can get some fresh air together, it even comes with a protective canopy that shields your baby from sun and bugs.
Keep in mind: This portable playpen is recommended for babies 0-5 months of age, so it wouldn’t be a useful choice for older babies or toddlers.
Good for: Younger babies who are on-the-go.
6.Albott 14 Panel Play Yard
Why it’s great: One of the most distinct features of the Albott 14-Panel Play Yard, is it’s ability to be set up in multiple ways. Keep your kiddos interested by setting it up in a square, circle, hexagon, or really any shape that fits in your space. The suction cup feature helps the pieces securely lock into place, making this playpen sturdy and safe. It also folds up to be pretty compact, allowing for easy storage when not in use.
Keep in mind: This playpen does not include a soft mat or pad, so you’ll need to be sure to set it up on a soft carpeted area for your baby, or purchase a play mat separately to place underneath.
Good for: Babies of all ages and larger areas.
Keep in mind: Measuring at about 4.5 feet when set up, this playpen is great for toddlers and babies to play in but isn’t as spacious as some other options. It’s a great option for parents who plan to take it on the go, and for use in smaller homes.Why it’s great: With a machine washable cover and waterproof fabric, the Hiccapop PlayPod is the ideal playpen to set up outside for your baby or toddler. You won’t have to worry about it getting damaged or dirty because the fabric is durable and super easy to clean. This playpen also has two large doors, allowing for an open design for older kids who want to crawl in and out. The anti-slip feet make this playpen great for indoor use as well.
Good for: Use in smaller areas.
1.Do I need to get a playpen for my baby?
As a parent, you don’t necessarily have to do anything. However, we definitely recommend owning a playpen for your baby. Playpens are a convenient item to have on hand because they allow you to set up a safe space where you can set your baby down and walk away when need be. Playpens are often versatile, offering many uses and some options may even serve your child for many years.
2.How much do baby playpens cost?
Baby playpens definitely range in price, so this really depends on the playpen that you choose for your baby. On the lower end, playpens can cost as little as $70 – $100, while some of the pricier options may go all the way up to $200 – $300. It’s definitely possible to find an affordable option without sacrificing quality.
3.Are playpens good for babies?
It’s great to give yourself and your baby some independent time and having a safe place to set your baby down is certainly important. However, we do not recommend leaving your baby unattended in their playpen or leaving them confined for long stretches of time. Playpens are ideal for supervised play or for situations when you need to walk away from your child for a few moments, such as when you have to tend to a pet or another child.
4.Which baby playpens are the best?
The best baby playpen will depend on your family’s unique needs. If you’re looking for a lightweight, travel-friendly playpen that can also function as a travel crib you might want to go with something like the Graco Pack N Play. However, if you’re looking for something more spacious for at home use, you may want to go for something like the Albott 14-Panel Play Yard.
5.Are baby playpens washable?
Again, this question depends on the type of playpen you choose but ultimately, there is some way to clean most baby playpens. Some of the fabric options can be spot cleaned or feature removeable covers that are machine washable. The plastic baby gate-style playpens can easily by wiped down with whatever cleaning products you prefer. Check your baby playpen’s user manual for more specific cleaning instructions.
6.Are baby playpens useful for travel?
Yes! One of the best reasons to own a baby playpen is to take it with you when you travel. Hotels are anything but baby-proof, so by bringing along a safe, easy-to-set up playpen you’re guaranteeing a safe area for your baby and it can even serve as a travel crib.
Ultimately, there are tons of high-quality, affordable, and useful baby playpens on the market. So, although it may be difficult to choose one amongst so many wonderful options, rest assured that the best option for your family’s unique needs, is out there waiting for you. Take some time to consider how you plan to use your baby playpen, your kids’ ages, and what your budget looks like.
Every family can benefit from owning a good playpen. As much as you want to hold your baby at all times, there will be moments when you have to step away, so by having a closed in area to set them down, you can walk away knowing that your baby is perfectly safe.