Skip to main content

Search
Safety and Injury Prevention

Choosing Safe Baby Products: Playpens

|

These high-sided, enclosed play areas are popular because they allow parents to put their baby down with the knowledge that their little one can't wander off. However, playpens are no substitute for adult supervision — never leave a child unattended in a playpen.

What to look for:

  • If the playpen has mesh sides, the holes in the mesh should be no larger than ¼ inch (0.6 centimeter) to keep small fingers from getting caught. The mesh should be securely attached.
  • The sides should be at least 20 inches (51 centimeters) high, measured from the floor of the playpen.
  • If the playpen is wooden, the slat spaces should be no more than 2-3/8 inches (5.08 centimeters) in width.
  • Look for padding on the tops of the rails to protect your baby from bumps.
  • The locks that allow you to lower a side should be out of your baby's reach.
  • Make sure the playpen has well-protected hinges and supports.
  • Look for a playpen with top rails that automatically lock when lifted into the normal position.
  • Examine the floor of a used playpen for wear and tear.

SAFETY NOTES:

  • Never leave a baby in a mesh playpen with the side lowered. The baby could get trapped between the mesh side and the floorboard. Because of the danger of suffocation, only one floor pad should be used and soft bedding should be avoided in the playpen at all times.
  • Show babysitters and other caregivers how to correctly set up the playpen.
  • Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back.
  • Stop using the playpen when your child can easily climb out — when he or she reaches a height of 34 inches (86 centimeters) or weighs 30 pounds (14 kilograms).

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)

Videos

Overcoming the Odds: A KING 5 TV Children's HealthLink Special 0:44:45Expand
12.30.13

In the spirit of the holidays, patients, parents and doctors share inspirational stories of healing and hope. From surviving heart failure and a near-death drowning to battling a flesh-eating disease, witness how the impossible became possible thanks to the care patients received at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Play Video
Miracle Season 2013 0:57:06Expand
12.11.13

Miracle Season, hosted by Steve Pool and Molly Shen, aired Dec. 8, 2013, on KOMO 4 TV. The annual holiday special celebrates the remarkable lives of Seattle Children's patients.

Play Video
Children’s Mental Health 0:00:30Expand
11.22.13

Mark Fadool, clinical director of mental health services at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, provides early warning signs of mental health issues in kids and teens and urges us all to notice the signs and act early.

Play Video