Thursday, July 7

The 6 best playpens and play yards in 2021 for indoors, outdoors, and travel

Safe sleep

No matter which type of playpen you choose, considering safe sleep is a must. Last year, inclined sleepers like the Rock’n Play Sleeper were recalled after infant deaths, a reminder that some products on store shelves do not follow the safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to those guidelines, infants should sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface without any loose bedding or other objects. The playpen you choose should also meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

When it comes to playpens, Justin Smith, MD, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s in Trophy Club, Texas, said parents should look for firm sleep surfaces.

“All sleep options should be a flat surface with a firm mattress in order to be safe,” he said. “Parents should also be careful to make sure that the surface doesn’t have built-in bumpers or soft surfaces which could cause suffocation .”

If you plan to cover the mattress with a sheet, make sure that it fits tightly. Loose-fitting sheets and soft items like blankets and stuffed toys should never be placed in a portable crib with a child under 1 year old.

With any playpen or travel crib, it’s important read the entire user’s manual, which will also include weight, height, and age restrictions. For example, most bassinet add-ons are only rated to 15 pounds, with changing tables often having similar restrictions.

To protect children against injuries, caregivers should also provide constant supervision while they are in the play yard, whether they are awake or asleep. It’s also important to note that, like with cribs, once a child can climb out of a play yard, it is no longer a safe space for them to spend time.

Whenever traveling, Smith recommends making sure that the baby’s caregivers are also aware of safe sleep guidelines.

“Parents should keep in mind that travel is a particularly risky time for babies regarding safe sleep environments,” Smith said. “Make sure each caregiver, including grandparents, is aware that children should be placed on their back on a flat surface for every sleep .”