Safety first. Everything else, next.

Our moms probably used them for us. Back then, they were called playpens. Nowadays, we like to call them playards. Whatever be the name, playards can be extraordinarily convenient when you want to keep your baby safe while get a few things done. But there is a caveat. Of course there is. And that’s ensuring that the playard you have (or intend to buy) is exactly right for your baby. More importantly, exactly right to keep your baby safe.

The DOs

  • Put your playpen in a safe place — never put it near a stove or other source of heat or near window blinds.

  • Dress your baby in footed pajamas for warmth.

  • Use only a sheet designed specifically for your playpen’s mattress.

  • Always put your baby to sleep on his back as recommended by the AAP in its Back to Sleep campaign, which was designed to help reduce sudden infant death syndrome.

  • CPSC standards are updated regularly. Therefore, buy a playard certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to ensure it meets safety standards set by the CPSC.

  • Do stop using the playpen for play or sleep when your child is tall enough to crawl out!

The DON’Ts

  • Never put it near a stove or other source of heat or near window blinds.

  • Never add a second mattress, comforter, pillows or toys to the playpen.

  • Never alter the playard in any way.

  • Do not use separate ill-fitting mattress or add soft bedding to the playard.

  • Never leave your baby in a mesh playpen with the side lowered to prevent possible suffocation.

  • Do not hang toys or other choking hazards on your playard.