1. Parenting

Video:Tips for Buying a Playpen

with Kathy Moore

A portable crib, or playpen, can be an indispensable baby accessory that provides a safe place for your baby to play. See what you should consider when buying a playpen for your child.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Buying a Playpen

Hi I am Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. A portable crib, or playpen, is a very useful piece of furniture. This program offers tips on what to consider before purchasing a playpen.

What Are Playpens and Play Yards?

Today's playpens or play yards are used for more than just sleeping. As the new name implies, play yards offer a safe area for babies to play while you are cooking, helping an older child or for times that you just want to keep your children separate. There are several elements to keep in mind when picking a playpen.

Playpen Measurements

The sides should be at least 20 inches high, measured from the floor of the playpen. Make sure the mesh siding that surrounds the unit has a weave that is no more than one quarter inch wide, and that it does not have any tears. It should also secure tightly to the top rails and floor. Test the crib for sturdiness, especially the side rails.

Playpens and Baby Size

Almost every playpen, I looked at was rated for use by babies up to 30 pounds. Be sure to check the manufacturer' guidelines on any playpen you consider. If your child is old enough to figure out how to climb out of the playpen, it is probably time to stop using it.

Playpen Portability

Portability is also a consideration in choosing a playpen. Think of how you are going to use the crib. Do you travel a lot, or do you want to be able to take it to the park? Be sure the crib is easy to set up and take down, as well as tote. Most newer playpens have top rails that automatically lock when lifted into position. This is a real timesaver if you will be setting it up and tearing it down frequently.

Used Playpens

Most new play yards meet the latest safety standards. If you are considering a used model, check for any safety recall information on the web at CPSC.gov before you use an older playpen.

Playpen Add-On Features

Lastly, playpens have many useful add ons. A top bassinet is great for newborns, and a changing surface can help offer another place to change the never ending line of dirty diapers. Some brands also offer storage shelves, nightlights and even canopies.

Regardless of the style of playpen you choose, you will be thankful to have safe place for your baby to play. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at parenting.about.com.
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