It’s difficult to get any work done if you have a toddler running around—you’re always afraid that he might get hurt, break something, or both! That’s why a playpen can be so helpful. It can help section off a safe area where your child can play.
But that assumes, of course, that the playpen itself is safe and poses no hidden hazards to your child. Here are some things you need to check before leaving your child in one.
Check the nettings
Ideally the playpen should have a very small, fine weave. Make sure your child’s hand, or even his finger, can’t poke through. Also check if there are any holes, rips or tears. You’d be surprised at how strong your toddler’s grip can be—he can find that ‘Weak spot’ and poke his hand, or even his head, through.
Check the drop side
Each time you use the playpen make sure that the drop side is stable, and securely locked. This prevents a very dangerous hazard: your child could get trapped in the space between the mesh and the pad. Small babies can even suffocate! Toddlers, on the other hand, may reach for that side and inadvertedly get his finger pinched in the hinges. And, if the drop side falls down, your toddler could climb or crawl out—and explore, unsupervised, in the room without you even noticing.
Check the rails
The rails should be well padded, with no tears in the padding. Toddlers will put anything in their mouth, and they may start poking at any holes, remove the padding, and eat it. This could be a choking or a poison hazard.
Remove all cords
Your child could get entangled in the cords or try to climb out by grasping the cords. That’s why you should remove all mobiles by the time your child can stand up, and never hang or place any string toys in the playpen.
Choose the right kind of playpen
Don’t get play fences that fold up like an accordion, since your child can get his fingers stuck in the hinges. Others could poke their head through the gaps in the fences and get stuck. And, before getting any playpen, check for safety reviews.
It’s best to peek at your child every 10 minutes to see if there’s a problem. Leave a baby monitor, too, so you can hear him if he cries. Ideally, you have a movable play pen so you can place him within the same room you are in, or at least within hearing distance.
Photo from 10pregnancy.com