Does My Baby Really Need a Playpen?

Months before your baby was born, you probably sat down and made a list of all the items you might possibly need over the first year of his or her life. On that list was likely a playpen; an item you probably didn’t think much about, just added.

Because playpens are kind of a given for a new baby, right?

Well, not necessarily… but we’ll get to that.

If this was your first baby, you then likely took that list to your local baby supply store and created a gift registry. Onesies! Baby monitors! Slings! Swings! It was all on your list, and you might have made out pretty well when your baby shower came along.

But if that playpen never came to fruition, do you need one now?

The Benefits of a Playpen

So why do people get playpens, anyway? What’s the point?

Well, for starters…

  • Playpens can provide a safe place to put your baby once he or she becomes mobile while you go to the bathroom, or cook dinner, or just get 5 minutes of much-needed mommy time.
  • Many playpens nowadays are multi-purpose. They can be converted to a baby gate, or serve as a secondary changing station. And most of them can be easily broken down and thrown in the car for travel purposes.
  • Your little one may benefit from a play area of his or her own that can become a safe place for independent play.

The Drawbacks

So why wouldn’t you get a playpen?

If your home is small, it simply may not be necessary—and could become another burden, just taking up space. It’s possible in a smaller home that you would just be better off using your baby’s crib as a playpen.

Beyond that, some critics believe that playpens can encourage parents to put down and ignore their children, no longer engaging because they feel their baby is safely contained. Being aware of that possibility, and the reasons it is undesirable (because babies thrive with interaction) is important, but it is certainly something you can avoid, even with a playpen.

The Considerations

If you’ve decided a playpen is for you, you just want to make sure you’ve selected a brand that has not been recently recalled for safety concerns (this can be easily checked online) and one that is clean and in good condition, should you use a second-hand playpen.

Also, remember that the same rules apply to the playpen as the crib. No heavy bedding or toys your baby could suffocate on, and nothing your baby could use to help him or her crawl out.

Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.

 This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.