Image Credit: BabyDan
Playpens (also know as playards) have gone in and out of fashion over the years; in the 1950’s and 1960’s a playpen for your baby was a must-have and most babies, like myself, probably had one.
So when my first baby began to crawl, I thought, should we get a playpen? We decided on a modern metal BabyDan Playpen and we were absolutely delighted with it. Here's why we loved it.
The playpen that I had as a baby was a classic rectangular wooden playpen; however my memory of it is of looking into it from the outside, so suspect I am remembering my younger sister using it. I also remember it a s being colourfully painted - probably in a type of paint that is banned for use on baby products these days!
The purpose of a playpen is simple; it is intended as somewhere that a crawling baby or smaller toddler can be placed in to prevent them hurting themselves. Their carer can then perhaps answer the doorbell, cook a meal or visit the bathroom, safe in the knowledge that baby cannot climb on the sofa unsupervised or get hold of any dangerous objects.
Playpens they fell out of fashion for a while as a tiny proportion were used to coop children up for hours at a time, and soon parenting experts were advising against them.
However in the last couple of decades they have become popular again as people realised that, used for short periods of time as intended, they give mum or dad a few moments of respite and allow a child to be left for a short while, safe from the trampling feet of its larger siblings.
This sounded like a very good idea as our oldest was crawling at 6 months and walking at 11 months, so was of course into everything!
Having decided that we would buy a playpen. But what a choice - metal, nylon, ones that double as a travel cot or even as a play tent! In fact the only type we couldn’t find was a wooden one.
We rejected immediatly the idea of the ones which double as a travel cot; they looked far too too flimsy for a toddler as boisterous as ours, and as they stood on feet several inches off the ground, it looked to us as if the travel cot was used by a larger toddler it could be toppled over too easily.
So this narrowed the selection down to one which stood right on the ground.
At the time that didn’t leave us many options and so we chose the BabyDan Deluxe PlayPen Including Playmat which seemed to tick all the boxes for us.
Image Credit: BabyDan
This BabyDan playpen is made from reassuringly weighty metal with a washable padded base which goes straight on the floor. It can also be converted, when it’s time as a playpen is over, into a fireguard or room divider.
When we bought our playpen it was also possible to add a top section so that it can be turned into a fun playhouse too, but this tent top is no longer available.
This type of playpen design has now been used by many companies - now you can even get a wooden playpen in a five or six sided design.
The pros: Firstly, this play pen is incredibly weighty and sturdy - it certainly wasn’t going anywhere - it would have been pretty difficult for me to topple it over, never mind a small child! It will not move around much either.
The thick padded fabric base was soft and comfortable for baby to crawl around on and washed up easily in the washing machine if there were any little spills.
We certainly felt we made the right choice as the BabyDan was very easy to assemble and when it was no longer needed, it was also easy to dissemble and store until our second baby arrived. Folded it took up very little space.
Although we did not ever need to use it in this way, it can also be converted to use as a fireguard, room divider or as a stairgate.
The BabyDan playpen remained in very good condition and once the kids were too old for it, we were able to sell it via our local newspaper for over 60% of the purchase price within hours of the advertisement appearing!
Image Credit: BabyDan
The cons: The only drawback that I could really find was that the BabyDan Playpen is quite large and took up a lot of space in our tiny living room.
Of course this does mean that baby has plenty of room to crawl around inside, and there is room to leave lots of toys (or lob them in at the end of the day when you are too tired to clear up!).
The most up-to-date version of this play pen is called Park-A-Kid and I guess you can definitely say that it does what it says on the tin!
Being able to put our baby or toddler into a play pen gave us such peace of mind, knowing they were safe if we needed to answer the door or cook a meal. In fact we kept a few toys that stayed in the playpen, so that going in was a treat, as it was the only time the toy could be played with.
I would whole-heartedly recommend this playpen to any parent who wanted a playpen for a baby or toddler.
You can buy the BabyDan Playpen with Playmat from Amazon.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!