Today, playpens are used mostly for safety and convenience. They are a great option for putting a baby down while you exercise, clean, or make a meal.
What are baby playpens? Five main types
Today we have many more options than parents did in the 1920s. Baby playpens are much safer and offer numerous accessories and functions. Here are the five main types of baby playpens available.
1. Infant play yards
An infant play yard is a great option for keeping babies of various ages safe from other things around them like animals or older children. They are usually square or rectangular, with the base on or very close to the floor.
This type of baby playpen is the most versatile. Some are designed for travel and pack into a carrying bag. Others have accessories for babies and parents. They are a great option when there is limited space as some can double as a bassinet for very young babies sleeping in their parents’ room.
This is particularly helpful for breastfeeding moms since you don’t need to leave the room. With all the options available, infant play yards come in a wide range of prices.
2. Expandable baby gate
Expandable baby gates are a good option when a permanent gate cannot be installed. They are made out of metal, wood, or mesh and can often be installed directly out of the box with no assembly required.
3. Freestanding baby gate
Freestanding baby gates are very portable. They can be used inside to prevent a baby from entering an area of the house, or they can be used outside when a fence is not available.
They are made from either plastic or metal panels and typically come apart for easy storage. However, because they are designed to be freestanding, they may not be as stable as other types of baby playpens.
4. Summer baby gate
Summer play gates differ from the others in that they usually do not have a bottom. Many look like plastic baby gates connected in a round shape. They are freestanding, with one of the panels functioning as a gate.
They are completely portable, as many come completely apart and stack flat. They can be used inside or outside, when weather permits. Because they are usually made of plastic, they can be easily cleaned.
5. Playpens with a changing table
As mentioned above, the baby playpens of today are available with so many different options. One of the options that you may find extremely helpful is a playpen with a changing table. These can be attached to the top sides of the playpen for easy access when the baby needs a diaper change.
Many come with a section of pockets that drape over the playpen to hold diapers, wipes, creams, lotions, bottles, etc. It can then be removed for the baby to play or sleep.
Make sure to pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for height and weight when using any playpen. They are usually restricted to babies who weight less than 25 pounds and are less than 35–40 inches tall.