Play pens are another item which most mothers wish to buy when their baby arrives. But when BabySpace spoke to several mothers their response was that a play pen is not always a necessity for every parent and some even believe that it is a waste of money to get one.

In this page BabySpace will help you understand if you really need to get a baby play pen and if you do how to choose a good play pen.

A baby play pen is a safe place for your baby to stay in when you or his/her care taker is not around to look after. However as long as your baby can keep herself occupied there is no problem until she gets bored and wants other stimulants to entertain her. In other words some babies don’t really like to be left alone and then the newly bought play pen won’t be of any use. Also if you leave your baby to entertain him or herself you’ll be missing the chance to stay by your baby’s side as he or she grows up.

Most mothers who spoke to BabySpace stated that they use a play pen to protect their baby from pets, other young siblings and electronic items that could harm your baby.

How to choose a good baby play pen?

If you have decided to buy one it is important that you know how to buy the best product for your baby. The following are some aspects you should look into before buying a baby play pen.

  • The railings of the baby pen should be able to easily support more than the babies height and weight
  • Side railings should be tall enough so that the baby won’t fall off it
  • Make sure that the pen is error free. If there are unfinished areas that could wound or hurt the baby don’t buy the pen.
  • Even edges that are sharp or otherwise hurt the baby should be avoided
  • Look if the playpen floors are safe with the ability to withstand 80 pounds and ability to withstand movements of the baby
  • Push your weight against the baby play pen to see if it could withstand the weight and
  • Give the pen a hard shake to see if it is stable and wouldn’t rattle or wobble. Avoid buying play pens that rattle and wobble in any way
  • Make sure that the paint is not peeling off (especially if it is second hand play pen). Your baby will put the peeling paint on his or her mouth which will be bad for him/her.
  • Do not leave the baby pen filled with toys and pillows that will leave your baby trapped and helpless

Wooden play pens vs. mesh play pens

Wooden play pens are heavy but will be an ideal choice for your baby. The wooden play pens comes in features that’ll help your baby to sit up comfortably, good back support and an entertaining view for your baby. Most of the wooden surfaces are well polished and splinter free and they usually have a larger floor than other play pens.

The slats of the baby play pen should be 2 3/8 inches apart so that the baby wouldn’t slip or fall off the pen. Make sure that the railings are made to support teething of the baby so that you won’t find your baby eating into the wooden rails.

On the other hand mesh play pens (made with a mix of plastic frame covered in cloth and net) are lighter in weight. This factor will enable you to easily carry the play pen around without any trouble. But you have to make sure that the mesh is tightly woven so that it won’t wound or harm your baby. Also if it is not properly woven the baby’s clothes may catch on it and cause strangulation. Unfortunately this will also cause your baby to have a limited view and block away the world outside the play pen.

Always make sure that air circulation freely takes place within the play pen because if you are leaving your baby in it for a longer period of time when air circulation poorly takes place it may cause health conditions.

Let’s focus on pros and cons of getting a baby play pen


  • Most play pens are easily portable and you can carry them on trips to be used
  • It is safe place to leave your baby if you want to do something. E.g. Have a shower or watch your favourite TV programme without worrying he’ll hurt himself
  • If you leave safe objects and toys in the play pen your baby will entertain him or herself without making any trouble
  • They are safe and contained and will ensure a safe environment for your baby


  • Leaving your baby in a play pen will limit his ability to explore and learn from his or her environment
  • Most play pens are not always used and will be discarded within a few months
  • Takes up a lot of room, therefore can limit the space to move in your house

Also it is handy to keep in mind to be very careful when buying a second hand baby play pen. Most parents tend to use their friends or siblings used play pen but there are aspects where you should be careful in.

  • If the play pen creaks or rattles when you push your weight against it, avoid buying or getting it
  • Mesh baby pens tend to loosen with time. Inspect every inch and corner of the play pen for any harmful edges
  • See if the locking mechanisms are still working well
  • If it is a wooden baby pen look for rotten wood that will break with time