A playpen, also called a play yard, is a versatile piece of baby gear that provides a safe place for babies and toddlers to sleep and play. Lightweight and easy to set up and then fold up, a playpen is perfect for travelling. You can use it as a portable crib for babies or as safe play area for toddlers. And with a range of add-on features, playpens can transform into bassinets and change tables. When buying a playpen, keep the following in mind.
To ensure your playpen meets current Canadian safety standards, check to see it has a label that reads "This product complies with requirements of the Playpens Regulations (Canada)."
The mesh walls of the playpen should be slightly stretchable and offer good ventilation. The mesh itself must be small mosquito-type netting to avoid buttons on children's clothing from catching.
The side rails should have a double locking mechanism to prevent the sides from accidental collapsing which could cause falling or strangulation.
The play yard floor pad/mattress should be a maximum of one-inch thick and firm, not soft, to avoid suffocation hazards. Do not add additional cushioning. The pad should fit snug against walls of the play yard.
Check that there are no gaps big enough to trap small hands, limbs or heads.
In 2000, new safety standards for playpens were announced, so if you are buying a model made before then, be aware of the potential hazards.
Attaching to the top rails, a bassinet provides babies less than 3 months or 15 pounds with a cozy place to sleep before moving to a big crib.
Sitting securely on the top rails, a change table feature lets you handle diapering duties from a comfortable, convenient height. Some models also include storage pockets so you can keep diaper supplies nearby.
Wheels make it easy to move your play yard from room to room. Make sure that the wheels lock.
Depending on your preference and budget, you can find playpens with sunshades or canopies for outdoor use, toys, vibration features, sound effects, lights, and more.