What to Look for in a Play Yard

baby in a playpenToday's modern baby has to be able to be on the go. Whether they have older siblings or not, more children are being cared for by babysitters, grandparents, or other care givers than in any other period of time. Just because they are on the move, does not mean that the comfort,or safety of home need to be sacrificed. The play pens of today are up for the challenge and can provide an excellent place for babies to sleep as well as a safe place for them to play!

Years ago, parents would place their babies in play pens filled with toys so that they could enjoy some hands free time cooking or cleaning. The baby was happy and safe, and mom had a back relieving break. As a society, more and more mothers have forgotten that it is easier to baby proof a play pen than it is an entire house. Perhaps it can be attributed to our urges to allow freedom and exploration at a young age. Regardless, there is still a definite need for every mother to have a play yard or play pen at their disposal. It is important to keep in mind that throughout the years, safety guidelines and restrictions have changed dramatically with regard to baby equipment, and it is best to purchase a newer model. But, what are the things that a mother should look for in a play pen? This comprehensive list is a good place to start!

  • Probably most important is the ability of the play yard to fold up easily. This means that you can fold it up and set it up by yourself. If it takes a brain surgeon to figure out how to set it up or take it down, you will be less likely to carry it with you and more inclined to not set it up properly. The sides should have a locking mechanism that is easy to activate!
  • The product you purchase should be certified by the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association). This ensures it won't collapse (when set up properly) and that it has been safety tested in various ways.
  • Initially, the play yards that have a bassinet option or changing station are ultra convenient. They can be set up in your room next to your bed to ensure you are always right beside your baby while you sleep.
  • Play yards that come with mobiles or toys are a great way to entertain a baby. They can be used in every room in the house to ensure your baby is safe. It is also a great way to ensure they don't pick up small choking hazards off the floor.
  • Wheels are a must. This makes the play yard easier to move around and improves its portability.
  • If you love the outdoors, finding a play yard that has an attachable canopy can ensure that you still enjoy the sunshine without putting your child in danger. This is great for vacations as well as for families who have older children and spend a lot of time outside.
  • Play yards come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. What you need in this area is truly a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that your baby will grow, and you probably want something you can use for a while.

Modern day play yards are definitely a must have baby item. You can find sheets to fit them, extra elements to make them more versatile, and they are normally easy to transport around. They are wonderful to have when you travel or when you decide that it is time for you and your husband to have a night out together. Grandma can certainly set it up in her home, and you know your child will have a safe place to sleep.

Just like with all other baby products, you should check it often for wear and tear. Ensure that the legs and sides are always in a locked position, and if the mesh on the sides gets torn, it might be best to discontinue use. Even though many parents feel that the idea of a play yard is confining, studies suggest that small babies actually find comfort in familiar and close quarters. A play yard can definitely give your arms a break and always serve to ensure that your baby has a safe and comfortable place to sleep whether at home or away!


What do you think?

What to Look for in a Play Yard

Tell us what you think!


  1. Lynn says:

    We are registered for a play yard with a bassinet and changing table so it can be used from 0-12 mo. Hopefully that mean we won’t need much else.

  2. I’m registered for the Graco Pack ‘n Play and I hope we can get it! My parents, bless their hearts, are a bit on the pack-rat side and it sounds like they have kept nearly every baby item I used as an infant/child. No offense, and yes I did survive, but like this article says, lots of safety guidelines and restrictions have changed over the years and I DON’T want to put my child at risk for the sake of nostalgia.

  3. Marina says:

    I registered for SafetyFirst play yard.

  4. Jeanetta says:

    Good safety tips…will keep this in mind.

  5. SammysMOMMY says:

    I just put one on our registry but didnt see sheets. Oops…

  6. Sasoo says:

    It seems like they are much more expensive than they were just a few years ago. When I find one for under $100, now I am suspect! This was useful info


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