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What Are Playpens Used for, and is It Really Helpful?
Playards and playpens serve a variety of functions beyond serving as a kid’s portable bed for naps or sharing a small bedroom.
For the most part, families utilize playards as a form of transportable child sleeping space. It’s perfect for sharing a room with a newborn because of its compact size and collapsible design. All playpens can also be used for naps during the day or for autonomous playtime while you do household tasks. Having a playpen is a no-brainer for parents.
Let’s have a look at how I put the playpen to use with my children and why you need a pack ‘n’ play.
Sleeping comfortably in a playpen is easy with a playpen. Suppose you’re visiting a friend or having dinner with your parents and your infant or toddler needs a nap. In these situations, having a foldable pack ‘n play is a godsend.
It’s not uncommon for families with several children to designate a separate area for their infant’s sleep time. This is especially true if the roommates are brothers. While your child sleeps, others can play with their toys in the room.
If you’re planning a vacation or a sleepover at the grandparent’s house, this will help your child adjust to unfamiliar environments.
2. Sharing room
It’s likely that you’ll be sleeping in the same room with your newborn for the first several weeks. Having the ability to nurse without having to leave the room is especially beneficial at night when you’re trying to get some shut-eye.
However, if you have a small bedroom, a playard may be the best alternative.
The bassinet feature on some models of the pack ‘n play allows you to put your baby on the same level as your own bed. This function is very useful for nursing your kid at night without having to share a bed with them.
Furthermore, the transfer to a separate room will be easier if your child sleeps in the same playpen.
A playard, on the other hand, can be utilized if you have multiple children that need to share a room. The playard is small enough to fit inside a child’s room, making it an ideal addition.
Your child’s growth will benefit greatly if he or she has time to play alone. As a result, a playpen is an excellent option for your child’s independent play needs (with your supervision).
He may safely roll and crawl around in the playpen without putting his head at risk.
4. Do chore around the house
While you’re working on your to-do list, you can keep an eye on your child.
You can get some work done while your child is in the playard playing with his toys. The playpen is a great aid if you have to cook or fold laundry.
5. Small break
When you need a little break, a playpen comes in handy. When the UPS guy knocks at the door, you get a phone call from your mother, another youngster needs your attention, or you simply need a bathroom break. Specifically,
Many times during a regular day, one or both of your hands-frees are required.
Sometimes, you just need a safe location where you can leave your child while you take a break and recharge your batteries.
6. Deck, patio and balcony
Even if you’re not at home, a playpen can provide a safe haven for your infant while you’re out and about.
Yes, you can put up a baby gate, but it’s a good bet that someone will forget to close the gate when you have guests walking up and down the stairs. In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to a serious accident.
Make sure your baby’s toys are safe by putting the playard on the deck and keeping an eye on him.
7. Visting family and friends
Having kids doesn’t preclude you from venturing out on your own. As a result, taking a playard on a trip to see loved ones is a no-brainer.
Having a youngster sleep in their own playard is reassuring when they are in a new area, in my opinion. When I went to a friend’s house for dinner or stayed the night with my parents, I often brought my playard. Once, I purchased two additional pack-and-plays for use in the grandparents’ house.
Additionally, our playard served as an extra bed for my buddies when they came to visit. In the guest room, I could simply set it up to accommodate parents with young children.
8. Hotels and Airbnb
The likelihood is that you’ll be staying in a hotel or an Airbnb while you’re on vacation. In some cases, a crib or additional bed may not be available. Using a playard as a travel bed is the best option for this situation.
Essential while traveling with children.
9. Beach trip
Picture yourself lounging on the sand with a good book and a refreshing drink in hand. Try doing the same thing with your infant in your arms, and see how it goes. This isn’t working for me, and I don’t know if it will for you. In addition, my baby has made it clear that he does not wish to be carried about all the time. Both of them were continuously on the lookout for a way out. At this point, it dawns on me that my playard was just as important as a beach towel.
While I’m making lunch or caring for my other child, I utilize the playpen as a safe haven for my infant. Aside than that, the playard was perfect for my baby’s afternoon nap.
It’s as simple as finding an area with enough shade for the pack ‘n play. To be more specific, it may be an enormous canopies of any of the above. Alternatively, a blanket can be placed on top. Take care not to expose your child to the sun for too long. Otherwise, it turns into a miniature oven.
Camping with a baby necessitates the use of a playpen. It’s not uncommon for us to go camping four or five times a year. Here are a few reasons why you should think about getting a playard for your child.
Starting with the fact that traveling in a tent or RV may be both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. Therefore, your baby may be more at ease resting in a more familiar setting (the pack ‘n play) because of this. A small infant should not be left alone in a tent with all the beds, blankets, clothes, and other camping gear. The playard is the safest location for your child to sleep when you’re out on the open road with your family.
It can also be used during the day as a safe play area for your child while you are making hamburgers or helping another youngster.
Make sure you acquire a mosquito net to cover the top of the playard if you take it outside the tent. When a newborn wakes up screaming at night because of all the mosquito bites, it’s the worst.
11. Picnic at the park
We enjoy having picnics in the park with our family and relaxing on a picnic blanket. In contrast to adults, babies are naturally curious and will attempt to wriggle out from under the blanket as soon as they have the chance.
The use of a playard comes in useful when your baby is in the mood to play or nap. A playard isn’t necessary if you’re only going to the park for a few hours, but it comes in handy if you plan on spending the entire afternoon there.
12. Improvise baby gate
It’s possible that this isn’t the safest option, but sometimes you have to improvise. Suppose you’re on vacation with your kid and you’re staying in an Airbnb unit that has a vast library filled with heavy volumes or a glass collection. You don’t want your child to climb the library or mess with the glass. It could spare you a trip to the ER or an additional charge on your credit card if you put the playpen in front of it.
If you’re in a non-fatal scenario, this is the only option you have left. The playard cannot be used to secure a balcony or stairwell door. If you want to keep your Christmas tree or any other decorations safe, this is a perfectly appropriate alternative.
13. Safe storage
Assuming we’re still talking about Christmas, let’s say your youngster is enthralled by the brightly wrapped presents that await him or her. The Christmas gift could be saved by hiding it in the baby’s playpen.
You can also use a playpen to keep your child away from dangerous objects.
Good Ages to Keep a Baby in a Playpen
Playpens are utilized by parents for a variety of purposes, including to keep their children safe. First and foremost, make sure the child is out of harm’s way of the household dog or an older child. The second option is to keep the baby occupied in a confined area.
The third and most common reason parents use playpens is to allow their children to sleep comfortably. When traveling, a playpen can double as a portable crib.
Four to six months
Keeping a baby in a playpen is not a good idea.
Because of the enormous distance between an adult’s face and that of a baby in a playpen, they need a lot of stimulation. In addition, babies are unable to move enough in a playpen to keep themselves entertained.
Before putting your baby in a playpen, be sure she can turn over, hold a toy, and lift her head. By the time she’s four months old, you should have introduced her to the playpen so that she’s familiar with it. In order to keep her safe, you must move her to a new location as soon as possible.
Six to eight months
A playpen is perfect for babies at this age. Sitting up and grabbing adjacent objects are common abilities for most newborns at this age.
Leaving your baby in the playpen for a short period of time (while you remain close, of course) is not likely to cause too much of a fuss when they are this age.
Be sure to include some fresh toys in the playpen with him as well. Toy cords and strings can suffocate babies if they are tied to the sides or the top of a playpen.
Eight to ten months
At this age, your child is likely to be crawling and even able to stand on her own. As a result, she may be starting to become restless in there.
Unless you take her out of the playpen, she’ll probably start crying and get up to look around. The playpen should be stocked with new toys that she hasn’t seen before to keep her happy. The playpen may be out of the question once your baby is able to walk, as she is more likely to scream if you try to keep her in a small area.
6 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Perfect Playpen
Do I need a baby playpen or a baby play yard?
You may not need one, but a decent playpen is useful when you’ve got a baby who’s crawling around. You may leave your hands free by putting your child in one of these enclosures, which provides a hazard-free play area. Consider the following factors before making a purchase of this additional baby gear:
- You may have observed that the terms “playpen” and “play yard” are sometimes used interchangeably. That’s because they both relate to enclosed play areas that protect your child from harm. When it comes down to it, so-called “play yards” are really fancy versions of regular playpens. Graco’s Pack ‘n Play play yard is also known as a play yard by the name of Pack ‘n Play.
- If your baby can’t get around on their own, you don’t need a baby playpen (unless you’re looking for a play yard/bassinet combo for travel). However, a playpen may seem like a good option as soon as your little bundle of joy begins to crawl, which is usually about five months of age. There are weight and height restrictions on each playpen, but most of them should survive until your child is about two years old.
- Having a play yard is more of a luxury than a necessity, depending on your budget. To save money, a simple infant playpen will do the trick. If you don’t have a lot of money, you may simply buy a safety gate and a play mat and transfer them from room to room.
What features for safe play should I look for?
- It is important to note that each playpen or play yard has its own weight and height limits. Keep your child safe by observing these guidelines. (You may find out more about height limitations here.) ‘
- The holes in mesh make it a popular choice for playpen walls since it allows for good airflow while also allowing you to peep at your sweetie whenever you want. You must, however, ensure that the mesh’s holes are no larger than a quarter-inch in diameter. Baby could be snagged by anything taller.  Keep an eye on the mesh for holes, loose threads, and missing staples.
- Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act mandates that the floor pad of your infant playpen should be solid and no more than 38 millimeters thick.  As a safety precaution, you’ll want to ensure that there is no gap between the cushioning and the frame. Make sure you check the cushioning for loose or ripped sections.
- Locks: Before putting your infant in the playpen, make sure the sides are fully raised and locked. In order to ensure your child’s safety, some playpens automatically lock when closed.
- Check to see if the model has obtained a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) safety seal before purchasing. The government does not force corporations to participate in product testing. The JPMA seal tells you that the brand has taken extra measures to ensure that their product is safe for your infant.
If I want a portable play yard, what features do I need?
- Basic play yards weigh about 24 pounds on average, according to Consumer Reports; deluxe play yards can weigh up to 30 pounds.  To make moving your computer easier, choose a basic model that you can move yourself.
- The ability to fold your play yard down into a fraction of its original size makes it much easier to carry around and store. There are even playard types that come with their own carrying bag, such as the 4moms Breeze 4 Plus Playard.
- Play yards with wheels make it easy to move from one area to the next. To make moving the playpen easier for grandparents who don’t want to lift and carry it, wheels are an option. Once you’ve parked the pen, ensure sure the doors are locked.
- Canopy: If you’re going to use your baby’s play yard outside, a canopy will assist protect your baby’s skin from the harsh sun. A canopy, on the other hand, may not be a feature worth paying on if you have sunscreen and a tree nearby.
What dimensions and shape of playpen work best?
- Height: In Canada, children’s playpens must be 90 centimeters or higher in height to be considered safe (just under three feet). According to these rules, that means that the sides of the play mat must be at least 50.8 centimeters high from the top of the mat.
- When it comes to the shape, rectangular and octangular are the most common possibilities. Apartment and condo dwellers will like rectangular playpens for its ability to fit into tight spaces and along walls (away from drapes and blinds). A broader circumference makes octagonal playpens more suitable for open areas.
- Playpens can be expanded in a variety of ways. Some are small enough to fit in a purse or suitcase, making them ideal for travel or small households. Other people take up a lot of space, allowing adventurous kids to go around. Look for an extendable type that allows you to add more locking panels to increase the playpen’s size if you want something that can grow with your child.
Are there materials or designs that make cleaning easier?
Messes are bound to follow your young one everywhere he or she goes. Cleaning a playpen shouldn’t be a hassle, because that defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. Look for playpens with washable mattress covers like cotton or polyurethane in the removable variety. Spills are no problem to clean up when using materials such as vinyl and canvas.
Choose a baby playpen that can be disassembled simply so that each time a mess happens, you do not have to clean down the entire structure. Check over the product’s reviews to see if there are any warnings regarding the product’s messiness or difficulty in putting it together.
Are there any special or “extra” features that I should consider?
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get good value. No need to get a heavy-duty model with all the bells and whistles if your playpen is only going to be used rarely or as a long-term play area. Baby playpens like the Evenflo Portable BabySuite provide a safe haven for your toddler even when they are simple in design.
You can save money on a playpen with additional functions if you plan to use it for numerous children or to use it as a portable sleep and changing station.
- As a newborn, you may find that the bassinet attachment is useful because it provides a place for your child to sleep while you’re away from home visiting relatives or friends. Just keep in mind that play-yard bassinets have weight restrictions (typically for infants under 15 pounds), which means they’ll probably only be functional for a few months at the earliest.  If your infant is a fidgety sleeper, you should avoid using them as a substitute for the crib.  When your infant is able to pull themselves up or roll over, it’s usually best to discontinue using the bassinet. 
- Having a changing table on hand is always a good idea because you never know when the urge to pee will strike. A changing table in the play yard will make it easy to swap out a dirty diaper when the time comes. If you’re looking for a play yard and changing table set, search for one with a table that locks or snaps into place for added security. This function may be quickly outgrown by your child due to the weight limitations. A changing pad can also save you money, making a changing table a “good to have” rather than a “need to have.” 
- A playpen with extra storage, like the Graco Pack ‘n Play Close2Baby Playard, is ideal if you frequently travel with your child. Make certain that none of your supplies are within reach of your child.
- You may want to look for a play yard with a calming system if you have a baby that has difficulty self-soothing. There are many different types of calming systems that you can use to help your baby relax if they are upset or scared. For kids who want to play on their own, however, these features aren’t necessary and can raise the cost of the game. Make sure they have a few favorites and they’ll be delighted.
How do you clean a playpen mesh?
Babies love to crawl around in playpens, so cleaning the mesh is a must. You don’t want your child’s safe haven to become a soiled, germ-filled mess when they’re playing.
The playpen mesh may be cleaned in a variety of ways, although some procedures work better than others, indicating that it is dependent on the original product material and whether or not inserts or stuffing were used. It’s also important to know if they’ve been cleansed to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated.
In general, though, the following concepts may be considered:
a solution of vinegar and water
Using hydrogen peroxide, spritz the area.
Remove all metal parts and use baking soda and water to clean the surface. Use hot water and a delicate cycle in the washing machine to clean.
There’s a big difference between using cold and hot water. Without causing any harm to the goods itself, this will destroy most bacteria and pathogens.
You don’t want to clean your playpen mesh and ruin it after all this work, so take care! There have been several instances of babies getting their fingers hooked between inserts that have been washed, which is why they should always be removed before being washed.
How do you remove the napper from a Graco Pack N Play?
Remove the nappy from a Graco Pack N Play napper Then, raise it up and play. During this posture, you should be able to see four posts under the area where your baby’s feet will be.
To remove the clips holding the napper in place, press down on the pink button at the top of each post and push outwards at the same time. Wait one more second before returning them to their original locations.
After that, the napper should be able to easily roll toward you! Before letting your child climb in and out of the play yard, always remove any fabric products from toy bars or other spots where your child could be caught by its straps while trying to climb over them, rather than first removing these items from the play yard.
How do you break down a pack and play with a changing table?
There are a variety of options available here.
For your changing table, you may not want to use the first option. In order to catch spit-up and dribble from your baby while they sleep on the pack and play pad, you can simply place a towel or blanket on top of it.
You should use fitted sheets if you intend to use the pack and play as a sleeping area, so that nothing falls through the seams.
Another alternative is to place two pieces back-to-back and flip one of the sides to produce an adjustable flat surface from the three rounded edges that were previously available (the inside edge will now have right angles). There are no gaps between the mats, so this works well, however getting in and out of it can be a challenge.
With your pack and change table, the second method is just as simple! When changing your baby’s diaper or swaddling them for sleep, just place your baby on top of one side (the outer edge will now have right angles) and then flip that same side up against the inside wall of the pack and play so that there is no gap between where they were previously laying.
There are no gaps between pads, but if you plan to use this as an adjustable surface, make sure to keep track of which sides go together!
You can construct an adjustable flat surface out of what were previously three rounded corners by arranging two pieces back-to-back, with one side being flipped over.
If you plan to utilize your pack and play as a changing table every time, the third option is the best choice!
When the baby is done sleeping, simply throw a towel or blanket on top of the mat and then flip that same pad up against the inside wall at just the right height so that you may sit down next to them comfortably (you might want some help from another person here).
When you’re done, simply fold everything back into its original position! The best way to ensure that nothing falls through is to use fitted sheets that fit snugly around all four corners.
How much does playpen cost?
The most basic playpens, which cost between $40 and $80, are the most affordable. Prices for bassinets and changing stations range from $80 to $120, while more luxurious ones can cost anywhere from $120 to well over $200.
Are playpens a good idea?
Playpens have a bad reputation for limiting children’s freedom, according to some experts, and they’ve been overused in the past. There are times when a safe area to put your infant for a short length of time may be necessary due to the design or conditions of your home. A playpen comes in handy in these types of scenarios.
What age is a playpen suitable for?
About six to eight months.
A playpen is perfect for babies at this age. Sitting up and grabbing adjacent objects are common abilities for most newborns at this age. Leaving your baby in the playpen for a short period of time (while you remain close, of course) is not likely to cause too much of a fuss when they are this age.
Are playpens useful for babies?
When your baby gets mobile, a playpen can be a secure haven for you to leave him while you use the restroom, prepare supper, or just have some much-needed mommy time. Many of today’s playpens are multi-functional. They can be used as a baby gate or as a second changing station, depending on your needs.
What’s the purpose of a playpen?
Your youngster can be safely contained in the playpen while you answer the door or do some housework or get ready for work. Playpens have a bad reputation for limiting children’s freedom, according to some experts, and they’ve been overused in the past.
Are Playards necessary?
Since a playard isn’t a necessity, it’s crucial that you find one you can afford! Portability. If you’re going to be taking your playard on the road (or even simply moving it around your house), you’ll want to make sure it’s lightweight and easy to fold.