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Have you ever wondered about what a playpen entails? That’s what we will be discussing today. A playpen is a small play area surrounded by bars or a safety net with the top opened for children to play in without adult supervision. The playpen’s design allows adults to continue their work while only providing little to no form of supervision.


What is a playpen?
The aim of the playpen is to provide a safe area for children to entertain themselves and express their inner creativity. The vast majority of playpens are wooden structures to enable easy transportation from one point to another. Wooden playpens are popular among parents because they are lightweight, safer, and decoration is a tad easier. Playpens and cribs are entirely different. The former is a play area for kids without adult supervision, while the latter is a resting place. You use lighter material when making playpens, making portability its main feature, while the crib's design is that which you place in a selected area in a room.
What age Is Playpen for?
  • Four to Six Months
You should introduce your kid to the playpen before they turn four months. That way, the child grows accustomed to the play area. It is important to teach the child early so that they do not develop a phobia for enclosed areas.
  • Six to Eight Months
During this period, the child's development is happening at a faster rate. The playpen offers a sense of security, so they can go all out without being injured. This is the age bracket where you begin to introduce new toys so that they learn how to sit and stand unassisted.
  • Eight to Ten Months
This is the age where children begin to crawl and stand unassisted. You need to increase their play area to match their development. The playpen is no longer suitable to cater to their adventurous nature, so you should probably take them out of it.
Different uses of a playpen
The playpen supports a wide variety of uses. They include:
  • Playtime
This is the obvious use, just as the name suggests. Whenever your kids are playing without adult supervision, they should be in the playpen with enough toys for them to play with.
  • Napping
When your kid is exhausted from his/her playtime, the next thing that follows is a good nap. The playpen provides a comfortable place to nap. Your child becomes able to sleep anywhere, regardless of the fact that it is not their bed.
  • Travel
A playpen is an essential travel item. It eases the task of carrying your child in your arms. The playpen enables the parent to focus on other tasks while the baby naps or plays. You can convert the playpen to an actual sleeping area for your child in the absence of needed space. That way, you and your child can have enough space to sleep in. The playpen is a valuable asset in areas that are hazardous. You should set up the playpen in a place where there are no exposed power cables and outlets. You can also use the playpen in areas where there are pets. That way, you keep the children from possible harm and infections.
Different types of playpens
  • Travel Playpens
These foldable structures serve as a primary napping area for your child while travelling.
  • Standard Playpens
The standard playpen is primarily for indoor purposes. It has a raised floor with open sides for you and your child to interact.
  • Playpen Gates
These structures do not come with floors. They are primarily for outdoor uses since they provide a large play area. You can set this in a corner in your house or outside on the lawn. However, you cannot use the playpen gates while traveling. A child can properly use a playpen when they are able to crawl. This happens when they reach the six months mark. It is important to use the playpen before a child can move freely. It helps them get used to the feel of it so that as they grow, they do not feel confined to one exact area. Do not use a damaged, dirty, or hole-filled playpen. Remove items that a child can use to injure itself, such as ropes, plastic bags, and ribbons.
Playpen Pros and Cons
Advantages of the Playpen
  • The baby can play in a safe area unsupervised without the fear of sustaining injuries.
  • Parents or guardians can dedicate the free time to complete tasks/chores while the child plays or naps.
  • The child can sleep in the playpen if he or she is exhausted after playing.
  • The playpen helps develop the child's sitting and standing ability with the help of the walls as a source of support.
  • The playpen helps develop the child's walking ability. The child learns to walk using the walls for support.
Disadvantages of the Playpen
  • Some people believe that if a child stays too long in a playpen, it affects their physical development, but this is still a myth.
  • The playpen leads to a break in the parent/baby relationship. The playpen can make parents/guardians neglect their kids, depriving them of the much deserved parental care, love, and attention.
How to clean a Playpen?
Cleaning a child's playpen follows three main steps
  • Spot Cleaning
Some playpens are large structures making it almost impossible to wash using a washing machine. You can carry out spot cleaning as an alternative to using the washing machine.
  • Washing
You can wash some playpens, but in a bathtub rather than a washing machine.
  • Drying
Playpens come with thick cardboard backing in the mats. You must dry the wet cardboard backing so that it does not warp. Spot Cleaning a Playpen You can spot clean ever playpen. If you are struggling with fresh spills, particularly baby food and formula, this method is for you.
  • Blot
This is the first thing to do when you encounter a stain. If you are dealing with a fresh spill, use a dry cloth or paper towel to soak up the spill. Follow that with a sponge dipped in a wash solution. Make sure to dilute the wash solution and that it is children friendly.
  • Flush using water
Once you have successfully saturated the stain, flush it with cool water. If the stain is in an area where your faucet cannot get to, use a sponge soaked in clean water. Detergent removal is what you are trying to achieve here. When you have completely gotten rid of the detergent, proceed to the next step.
  • Dry
This is the final step in spot cleaning a playpen. Allow the playpen to dry naturally. Do not dry the pen with a hairdryer. The heat from the hairdryer will make residual stains to be permanent. Deep Cleaning a Playpen You cannot remove some stains on your playpen by spot cleaning it. If the playpen is extremely dirty, you need to deep clean it to get rid of all the grime. The deep cleaning session requires a tub or large container that can hold the collapsed pen.
  • Soak
This is the very first deep cleaning step. However, before you begin, spot-clean any stain on the playpen as a preparatory step. Fill up your tub with hot water and two capfuls of soap. Strip off and soak the mat, followed by the folded playpen. Open up the playpen while holding it under the water. You can use DIY soap as a substitute for commercial soap. A baking soda and vinegar solution will also work. Soak the mat and playpen for about 30 minutes. Turn it around and repeat the process for an added 30 minutes.
  • Agitate
Shake the playpen while holding it under the water instead of scrubbing it. This way, you remove all the dirt in the fabric without stressing the material.
  • Rinse
When you are done with the previous step, rinse the mat and playpen with hot water until the water runs clear. You can make use of a flexible showerhead to make the task easier. If you do not have one, fill the tub with clean water, agitate, and repeat till you get rid of all the detergent.
  • Dry
Drying the playpen is the final step to the deep cleaning process. It is better to allow your playpen to dry outside under the sun. An open window is a preferable alternative in the absence of direct sunlight. Lay the mat flat so that it dries straightened out. You can use a drying rack to prevent warping.
Factors to consider before acquiring a Playpen
Before you buy a playpen, you need to take into consideration several factors. The baby's weight is one of those factors. The playpen must be sturdy enough to support the baby leaning, playing, and sleeping on it. A playpen will cave in if it is not sturdy enough, and it can injure the child.

The child's size is another factor to consider. Children need enough space with limited constraints to play in. That way, they can grow up without stress.

Every playpen should be easy to use. The build should be in such a way that you can fold and store it when they are not using it.

You should also factor in the size of the playpen before buying one. It should be big enough to keep the child happy and small enough not to cover excess space.

The additional accessories are another factor that you should consider. You need to account for the attached wheels, diaper stacks, and secondary storage space. You can also use a rocking attachment to facilitate sleeping.

The last factor would be your budget. How much do you have to spend? This is something you must ask yourself before going out to buy a playpen. In the long run, you should settle for quality over everything else. If you are on a tight budget, you should be looking at purchasing something with high durability.