Are Playpens Good for Babies and Toddlers?

A parent always needs to keep an eye on their children and make sure they’re safe, healthy, and happy. But it can get quite exhausting from time to time and there are moments when you need help. This is when a playpen comes in, your child’s very own designated play area.

What is a Playpen? 

It is an enclosed space that allows your child to play safely in a secure area under your watchful eye. These self-contained units are made from plastic, wood, or metal; most of them are lightweight, easy to carry around the house, and easy to install or remove to save space. To install, you simply choose a safe area around your home, preferably one you pass by a lot. Some come in the form or a rounded gate, while others are large play-cribs that can allow your child to rest.  

Benefits of using a playpen 

Even though you would like to cuddle with your baby all day, there are some situations when you have to get things done around your home or you need a break while maintaining their safety as well. Playpens will allow you to catch up on your chores as your baby safely plays or naps with frequent checkups for you. They are ideal for independent playtime as well and can also work at any location, whether at the beach or their grandparents’ home for Sunday dinners.

What you should look for when buying one

When purchasing a new one, there are a few things you need to look for to guarantee your child’s safety and comfort. You need to also consider the timing you buy one; your toddler might have a hard time staying with them if they’re not used to playing in a designated area. According to Beginnerbabycare, getting a playpen early on when they’re younger and before your child learns to move around, will allow them to get accustomed to it and enjoy it better. Another thing you should consider is where you will use it. If it’s only home-based and you have the space for it, then you don’t need to worry about its weight or its size. However, if you’re planning to use it wherever you go then consider getting one that is compact, foldable, and easy to install and uninstall. For the outdoors, consider the material it’s made out of as well to avoid damage. 

Safety measures 

First off, you need to make sure it has a JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) label because that means it has met the safety standards put in by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. When setting it up, you need to choose the area wisely because it needs to be kept away from open windows, fireplaces, heaters, or any electrical outlet. It should keep your child safe from any potential harm. Some come with their own soft padding like mattresses, while others are simply gate-like, so you need to make sure you install it on carpeted or soft floor to protect your child from falling incidents. Make sure the rails are padded as well to avoid any bumps. Nothing should be around to help your child climb out of it and don’t leave any hazardous toys with ribbons and ties alone with your child. If your play area is made out of mesh, make sure there are no holes or tears in it. Finally, all locks should be out of reach so they won’t open it themselves. 

Criticism and precaution 

Playpens have been going through some criticism by some parents because they feel it’s not wise confining children in a closed space. They believe it will prevent their independence because they can’t go exploring. However, other parents believe that using them is no different than constricting your child from running through the streets or at a mall unsupervised; it’s only to keep them safe. Either way, it’s never advised to leave your child in one for a large amount of time, only use it when necessary or when you need to get things done quickly. When used right, they can be extremely beneficial. 

No matter what your parenting style is, keeping your child in a safe environment is always your primary goal. Choose the best playpen that suits your child’s needs and yours as well without endangering anyone. If correctly used, you’ll be able to get things done while allowing your child a safe area to play independently.