Is Your Baby’s Playpen or Playard Safe?

If you have purchased a playard, you may have just invested in a little more peace of mind than you originally thought. Playards are excellent ways to keep baby safe and comfortable in any area of your home. Playards were created to make the lives of parents a little easier. You can put a playard in just about any room of the house and have just about everything you need to take care of baby all in one place. Playards keep parents from having to constantly run back and forth to the nursery to check on their little one. With today’s playards, you can give your baby more than just the option to play in a safe confined area. Several of the newer models now come standard with removable canopies, changing tables and mobiles! Several also feature pouches where you can store all of your diaper changing necessities, such as diapers, wipes and creams, along with a change of clothing.

As your baby grows, he will be able to enjoy the security that a playard provides, however, like with most baby items, there are certain safety precautions that must be taken to ensure that your baby is always safe. One of the first rules to understand is that though playards were designed to be a place where you could place your child to safely play and not crawl out of, it was never meant to be a substitute for the attention and supervision of the parent. Never leave your child unattended in a playard. Babies only need a single moment to get into all kinds of trouble!

Remember that when you get your playard home from the store, to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for putting it together. You will also want to pay careful attention to the instructions guiding you through the opening and closing, setting up and tearing down of the playard. A good rule of thumb is to never allow your baby to be near the playard when you are opening or closing it. There are too many opportunities for tiny fingers to get mashed etc. Be certain that when you open the playard up that all joints lock securely in place. You should hear an audible click when all joints have linked correctly.

Most playards consist of the soft mesh material these days. The holes in the mesh should be no more than a quarter inch in diameter, and the spaces between the slats should not be greater than two and three-eighths of an inch. Mesh is a pretty durable material, but you should check the lining periodically to ensure that there is no excessive wear in the material or that it is tearing. If you allow holes to develop in the mesh, your baby could tangle his arm or leg in it at some point and potentially injure himself.

When your baby is old enough to play in the playard, be careful not to put large toys or thick blankets or pillows inside the playard with baby. Not only do these pose a suffocation risk, should your baby fall asleep in them, but a mobile baby may be able to use these items to stand on and work their way out of the top of the playard!

Playards can prove to be quite a blessing. They provide your baby with a safe area to play in, while freeing up your hands to do other tasks in the same room. You can also enjoy watching your baby participate in independent play in the safe confines of a playard. Always remember that safety is a huge part of every aspect of child development, and that though playards have been designed to bring you peace of mind, there are still safety guidelines to follow to ensure that your baby remains safe and happy.

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