Safety Considerations for a New Baby Playard

March 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Gear

Playpens, also called playards, are one of the most important pieces of baby gear for a new parent during the baby’s first several months. It’s comforting to know that baby has a safe and secure place to play or nap while mom and dad are tending to other things.

The design and functionality of the playpen are equally important. It must be safe and portable, as well as offer plenty of exploring opportunities to aid in the early formative learning periods. Anything the baby can see or touch contributes to his or her first learning experiences.

Small children can wield an unnaturally strong force at times, so your playard must accommodate this. Make sure your playard is strong and sturdy, and no safety hazards like small buttons or other parts are included in the design.

Remember that this abuse will continue on the playard for several months and even years of the baby’s life. Every part of the playard should be constructed to withstand up to 100 pounds. This way, if baby tries to climb over the edge, the entire playard won’t topple on top of him or fold in half!

Playards that withstand 30 or 50 pounds may seem like enough stability for your baby, but remember the laws of gravity and physics; when baby pulls on the railings or jumps up and down in the playard, his apparent weight is dramatically increased.

All of your baby gear should be constructed with a wide margin of safe weights and pressures on the item.

Inquire as to what materials are used in your proposed playpen. Is it made of wood or metal? Wood can splinter and break, and metal frames can withstand higher weights and pressures.

Don’t forget the importance of sufficient padding that is washable and long-lasting. Fabric such as 100% cotton can tear or rip more easily than nylon or canvas or some other cotton blend. It’s never a bad idea to purchase a replacement pad or two, or at least price them so you know how much they cost and how difficult it will be to find one when you need it.

Mesh siding in playpens allows mom and dad to still watch over baby while in the playpen, and this mesh should be made of strong nylon. It should be soft and pliable enough to not feel scratchy to the touch, but stretched tightly enough to hold baby should he press against it.

Other considerations for the playard include transportability and size. How large does it need to be? Can you change the size if needed? Perhaps an area for napping is available, as well as a place for playtime.

Wheels that can be locked offer a great way to put baby to rest outside of the nursery but move him where you can still see him.

Playards are a vital baby gear item needed by new mothers and fathers, and offer a great way to continue constant surveillance on the baby’s activities. Just remember to pay close attention to the safety features and design of each type to choose the right one for you!