Playpens are usually made of wood, but can also be fabric or metal. The classic playpen fulfils different functions and is a reliable, faithful companion for young families. Playpens offer a secure, enclosed area where you can let your child play unsupervised for short periods of time. Plus the bars give your child something to hold onto when learning to stand up and learn how to walk. The third function: babies can use the playpen as a day bed where they can nap safely.
1. Safety zone and retreat in one
Once babies start exploring the world, an exciting and sometimes nerve-racking time begins for parents: On their discovery tours, the little treasures take everything they find interesting apart, put things in their mouth and stick their little fingers into everything they can reach. But babies don't yet know that stairs, sockets etc. can be dangerous. To ensure parents don't have to constantly watch their child and the little explorers can still move around fairly freely, there are playpens: Here, babies and toddlers can play and have fun in a protected space.
2. Many advantages – from freedom of movement to safety
At the age of six to nine months, most children start being mobile. First they roll over, squirm or crawl, then they pull themselves up and start to walk. In this stage, it's impossible even for the most careful parents to constantly keep up with the child. Even going to the bathroom, let alone housework, can distract you long enough for your little explorer to start climbing up the stairs or nibbling a plant. So it's important to have a safe place where your child can play while you carry out your tasks – of course, without being away from your child for very long or very far away. A playpen is not a babysitter.
A playpen also has advantages for the child: If it's nicely made and contains some toys, this place will become a little refuge just for your child. Plus a playpen is perfect for practicing learning to stand up and walk: the bars are great for holding on to and walking along. A suitable mat in the playpen ensures that falling does not hurt their little bottom.
3. What's what – the different types
There is a huge variety of different playpens available. Our little overview gives you an impression of the different types of commonly available playpens:
Playpens are available in different materials. Wooden playpens or metal playpens with a mesh insert are most common. Shapes can range from the classic rectangular playpen to six sided, eight sided and oval. If you like carrying your playpen from room to room, a playpen with wheels or a foldable playpen is a good choice. Height-adjustable playpens are also convenient – here you can raise the floor for babies and then gradually lower it for older children to almost floor level. For small babies, this type of playpen can be used as day bed. Sometimes you can get modular sections to enlarge the playpen.
4. Important info at a glance: what to watch out for when buying
Quality in every regard – that's the credo for a good playpen. The materials used should be free of harmful materials, the bars need to be close enough together so the child's head cannot get trapped and of course the playpen needs to be stable and must not have any sharp edges. Otherwise it's important to think in advance about how you want to use the playpen.
5. Timing: When to buy
The best time to buy a playpen depends on how it will be used: a height adjustable playpen can be used from birth. Other playpens should be ready when the child starts walking.