Baby Play Pens Yards

Selecting a Baby Play Space

You have been cuddling your precious baby in your arms, and both you and baby need a break! Baby play yards and portable playpens provide a secure place for your little one to rest or explore independently while you give your upper-body muscles a much-needed reprieve. There are a lot of options available, so make sure you pick the best one for your child.

What's the difference between playpens vs. play yards?

As you shop the large number of playpens and baby play yards available, you'll find that these words are used interchangeably by baby gear manufacturers. Rather than focusing on the terms, pay attention to the features each product offers to determine if it is the best choice for you and your baby.

Popular features in a playpen or play yard

Here is a list of coveted features among parents that you might want to consider in your own playpen or play yard purchase:

  • Portability - Whether it is foldable, on wheels, or both, a portable option provides flexibility to move it from room to room, set it up outside, or even take it on trips. Look for a model that rolls when folded and includes a travel bag for added convenience.
  • Extra amusements for baby - Music machines, mobiles, and toy bars entertain your little one while you tend to household tasks.
  • A baby changing area - Many portable play yards include a special cushioned platform for diaper changes. The weight limit is generally low, so this feature is best for newborns and very young infants.
  • A bassinet insert - Another feature best-suited for young infants, a bassinet gives parents another nap-time option.
If your play yard gate is for a toddler, consider a fence-style product with removable panels that can be set up in the size and shape of your choice to allow your little one to work on their walking skills.Choosing a safe baby play yard

No matter what playpen or play yard you select, it's important to check the label for JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certification. This means that the product meets the safety standards set by the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission). Here are some additional safety dimensions to look for in a product:

  • The sides of baby play yards and baby playpen gates should measure a minimum of 20 inches high.
  • Mesh holes should measure 1/4 inch or less.
  • Spaces between slats should measure no larger than 2 3/8 inches wide.