A playpen is not necessary, but it can be very useful once your child starts to move independently. These enclosures provide a safe place for your child to play, so that you don’t have to worry about them. Consider the following when deciding whether to purchase this additional piece of baby playpen gear:
Baby playpen vs playard
Baby Playpen: These terms are often interchangeable. Both terms refer to safe spaces for your baby. Play yards are basically fancy playpens that often include mattresses, change tables and bassinets. You may also have heard the term Pack ‘n play, which is Graco’s take on a play yard.
Age range: A baby playpen is not necessary if your child can’t walk independently. A playpen may seem smart when your little bundle of joy begins crawling, which is usually around five months old. Each playpen has its own weight and height, but should last for around two years.
Budget: A play area is more of a luxury than a necessity. A basic baby playpen is fine if you have a limited budget. You can also save money and buy a safety mat and play mat, which you might already have. Then move them around from one room to the next.
What safety features Baby playpen should I be looking for in safe play?
Height and weight restrictions: Each playpen or playyard will have its own size limits. These limits are important for your child’s safety. (You can read more about height restrictions here.
Mesh size: Mesh is common for playpen walls. The holes in the mesh allow for airflow and allow you to peek at your little one. You should make sure the mesh holes are not more than one quarter inch wide. Your baby may be caught if the holes are larger.  Watch out for tears in mesh, loose threads, and missing staples at seams.
Proper padding: The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act states that the baby playpen’s floor should not exceed 38 millimetres in thickness. It’s also important to ensure that the padding is not separated from the frame. This could pose a safety risk to your little one. You should also be aware of any loose or ripped padding.
What features are required for a portable Baby playpen play area?
Consumer Reports found that the average play yard weighs in at 24 pounds. The deluxe models can be heavier at 30 pounds. A bare-bones model is more portable if that’s what you are looking for.
Foldability: Your play yard can be folded down to a fraction its size, making it easier to carry around. You can even fold some models, such as the 4moms Breeze 4 Plus Playard with its own bag.
Wheels: Many play yards have wheels that make it easy to move from one room to the next. For grandparents who don’t have the time or desire to carry the playpen around, wheels can be an excellent option. Make sure the wheels are locked after you have parked the pen.
Canopy: A canopy is a great way to protect your baby’s skin from the sun. You can still use sunscreen (always a necessity, and we have a cheat sheet to help you choose the best baby sunscreen), or shade from trees, so a canopy might not be worth it.
Which dimensions and shapes of playpen are most effective?
Height: Canada’s playpens must be high enough to hold children up to 90 cm tall (just below three feet). These regulations require that the sides of the play mat should be at least 50.8 cm high.
Shape: There are two choices when it comes to shape: Rectangular or octangular. Rectangular playpens are a great option for condo or apartment dwellers because they can be inserted into corners or along walls (away blinds or curtains). Because they have a larger circumference than other playpens, octagular playpens are better suited to open spaces.
Expandability: There are many sizes of playpens. Many are small and can be used for travel or small homes. Some take up much more space, giving adventurous children plenty of room to roam. You can expand the playpen to make it more flexible for your child.