A playpen, traditionally, is a piece of furniture in which an infant or a young toddler is placed to prevent self-harm when the parents are either occupied or away. A playard is also an enclosed space that provides the baby with a convenient and safe place to play and sleep. The best playard for toddlers, however, are more portable and typically made of metal with a plastic support system and side mesh.
Unlike the traditional playpen made of wood with a rectangular platform and vertical cross bars which makes it very heavy, modern playpen has a removable bassinet that can be attached to the top for the child to sleep in or not. The modern playpen comes in various sizes, shapes, and forms which can easily be folded for easy storage and transport.
Playpens are almost a necessity for parents. Children, as they grow, need to exercise their muscles and develop their cognitive and psychomotor skills. Playpens are the best pick for promoting motor development. Because they need to move, the play yard is the ideal as it does not restrict movements like jumpers or other seated devices. It also provides a safe spot for babies to play and not wander into any form of danger while parents are engaged.
Factors to Consider to Choose the Best Playard for Infants
There are various models and make of play yards available in the market. The play yard you choose will actually depend on the reason why you need it and what you need it for. There are some that do not require space while others require large space to give children enough space for play.
Safety: A playpen must have a locking rail and a secure locking or latching device for drop sides, folding sides or end panels. It must also not be positioned near electrical appliances or near the window.
Usage Mode: You must ask yourself how you will be using the playard or playpen. Will be stationary or will be moved, and how frequently? It must be lightweight and portable one that folds compactly and easily if you will be using it for travel purposes. A portable playpen must have an easy folding mechanism to enable quick and easy assembling and dissembling.
Floor Beddings: You must also ensure that the mattress is not too thick and very firm in order to prevent your baby from slipping into the space that may be created between the edge of the mattress and the side of the play yard. Also, do not more mattress to the play yard.
Height and Weight of the child: you must ensure that your child is not taller or higher when standing than the play yard as this might pose great danger. Every play yard unit has detailed and specific instructions for baby size and height.
Facilities: Deluxe play yards often come with storage facilities for toys and some other baby items like diapers, wipes, and blankets. These are additions which may not be needed. Some others come with hanging toys, night light, and sound. The reason for buying it determines if these facilities would be needed.
Maintenance: A good play yard must be easy to clean and maintain, especially those with attached washable sheets which can be easily detached for washing.
Budget: The price range of playard varies depending on all the factors stated above. Your budget determines which one you go for. But, safety must not be negotiated.
Top 5 Best Playard For Toddlers
This playard is best for its versatility and usability both for indoor and outdoor purposes. This baby playpen has reversible legs which makes it suitable for use in the lawn (outdoor purposes). It is also compatible for indoor use as the stands are padded for interior floor surfaces to eliminate all forms of scratch on interior floor surfaces. The playpen measures over 18.5 square feet play space and 28 inches tall which is perfect for baby safety. It is easy to assemble and dissemble even without any tool. It is also very portable, easy to use and maintain. Kids can easily move around because of its size.
The playard consists of panels (made of high-quality plastic) which makes it possible to either reduce or increase the play area by buying more panels. Each panel is held together with a very simple push button. The side panels are carefully crafted that it is a bit difficult for a baby to climb it and it is strong enough for the baby to lift him/her self up through it.
Pros: It is best for crawling children and is one of the biggest playpens for children because it can be expandable.
Cons: The plastic panels bend under pressure. If a weighty child climbs and pushes on one side, it could bend and topple. It is not perfect for kids that are already walking.
The North States Superyard Indoor-Outdoor Play Yard is an excellent solution for creating a safe play space for children. When bought with the foldable ABC play mat, it works to produce the best playard by providing additional comfort and sensory stimulation during play. The playard measures about 18.5 square feet in play space and about 26 inches high.
Pros: The rounded plastic edge helps protect children from injury. It is also very large to allow free movement of children within the pen. It is fairly stable and can support crawling children leaning on as long as all the joints are angled and not straight.
Cons: It is a bit difficult to assemble and disassemble. You will need a screwdriver.
This summer infant portable playard is big enough for the kid to move around. The playpen is lightweight and super easy to set up and move around. It measures about 14 square feet, 48 inches wide and 26 inches tall. The folding metal frame can be easily assembled and unfolded within seconds. It has a water resistant floor which helps to keep your baby dry when used outdoor on damp grass. The sides are made of mesh which provides added visibility for parents.
Pros: It is very compact, portable and easy to carry.
Cons: The bottom isn’t removable and a bit demanding to clean.
The Regalo Playard has a play space of about 48 inches wide and 26 inches tall. This pack n play playpen is lightweight with plenty of room for kids to move around. It is designed to fold easily and disassemble within seconds and packed neatly into its travel bag. It has a nylon bottom that provides protection from rough surfaces. It is water resistant making perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
Pros: It is so super easy to set up, no need of any equipment.
Cons: The base is not cushioned or padded so you need to place it on a soft surface.
This playard has a rubber base to make it stand sturdy on the floor without falling when pushed by children. It is the most child-friendly playpen and safest for children. Its anti-clip design at the junctions helps protect kids from injuring themselves. The materials used are BPA free, non-toxic and non recycle material with HDPE. The structure is one that ensures its strength and durability. It has attractive colors and animations to engage children
Pros: It has a great play space for children. The fun and vibrant colors are attractive
Cons: The lock mechanism is a bit difficult to operate. It is also not as portable as other playards.
This gate is specifically designed to protect babies by confining them to certain areas in the home. It is also very good to keep out pets from certain areas in the home. It is durable, easy to install and easy to assemble. The pressure mounts are rubber covered and provide an excellent anti-slip surface for installation. The gate comes with stops at the bottom to prevent free swing in either direction in case you only want it to operate in one direction.
Pros: The gate is tall and can easily keep off pets from kids.
Cons: The door does not close by swinging.You need both the thumb and index fingers to put pressure on the triggers for the door to open.