Babies are nearly impossible to keep-up with sometimes, and need constant attention. Sometimes we need to be sure that we can put our child down and not have to worry that they will get hurt, or escape on us. A playpen is one of the most commonly used forms of child enclosure, and have changed greatly throughout the years. There are many different sizes, styles, and types of playpen there are even playpen with bassinet in them, each that as its own purpose for day to day use. It’s not safe to leave your child unsupervised for a long period of time, but for the time you do need to leave them on their own for a quick moment, a playpen is a great solution. We will look at some the different types of playpen, as well as some of the things that make them safe, or less safe to be using for your child.

Types of Playpens

Fabric-sided playpens

Playpens that have a folder structure, with the posts and space between covered with fabric and mesh. These are also called play yards, and are notorious for being less safe, as that can be easily moved around because they are usually freestanding.

Upsides – They are compact, so if you have limited space they can be set up to fit your needs. They are also a cheap option that can be fashioned into a more permanent playpen solution. The fabric is also usually easy-to-clean, so all of the messes baby makes come off with relative ease.

Downsides – If your child tries to pull themselves up from a seated position, the playpen could collapse. There is limited support for these as they are not tied down to anything. They can also be an eyesore to have just sat out in your residence.

Travel cots

These playpens are usually fairly small and compact, but have the added benefit of being portable. They can be brought with you almost anywhere, and usually fold up into the mattress that comes with them. Roughly the size of a rolled up yoga mat when in travel mode, and nearly just as light, it makes a great solution if you are on the go frequently. Some of these playpens have a bassinet as well, so your baby can sleep when they are done playing.

Upsides – The travel cots are incredibly affordable, coupled with the benefit of folding capabilities for transportation and storage, they are a great option if you are on a limited budget. They can also be used as a playpen, or a playpen with a bassinet so your baby can get sleep if the occasion calls for it.

Downsides – They are intentionally small, which makes for limited play space. This can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation, but finding a travel cot that is also large enough for your child to run around will be difficult. The sides are usually made of mesh, which makes it difficult for a child to pull himself up, some travel cots do have grab handles on them though, which eliminates this downside. Another downside to the mesh is that it limits visibility, which might make being in it less interesting for your child.

Wooden baby playpen

These are the flagships of the playpen world. Usually spacious, sturdy and gorgeous playpens, the price often matches their looks. These have a lot of support for your child to pull themselves up, as well as a ton of visibility through each of the bars so they can see the world around them. Wooden baby playpens are usually quite large, and can be fashioned to be permanent. They are often considered the safest type of playpen.

Upsides – Has a large area for your child to play in, allows for tons of movement and activity to keep your child busy while you are. They are also much better looking than their counterparts, making a stylish addition to your home. They are the sturdiest and safest playpens available.

Downsides – Has a large area for your child to play in…. while this is also an upside for your child it could be considered a downside for you. This means that more of the space in your home will be taken up by your child’s play area, and can end up in your way. Wooden baby playpens also are much more difficult to put up, and take down, which usually results in them staying up for prolonged periods of time. (Unless you don’t mind the work of putting it up and taking it down each time) Lastly, they are also the most expensive playpens, usually by a fair margin, so if you are looking for a cost effective option, this may not be your best choice.

Whichever you decide to use for your child, whether its a playpen with a bassinet (travel cot), a wooden playpen, or a fabric sided playpen, remember not to leave them unattended for extended periods of time, and make sure the area in and around the playpen is safe. Playpens are a great way to make sure your child doesn’t get into something they shouldn’t while you are busy, take some time and choose the right one for your lifestyle.


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