Playpens were traditionally made of wood, and consisted of a flat rectangular platform, usually square in shape, with vertical bars on four sides, so that the child can see out. The floor of the playpen is usually a soft mat. The walls of the playpen are usually higher than the height of the child, so as to avoid climbing injuries; playpens may also have a detachable lid. There are many more modern and portable designs.
Modern playpens are portable and typically consist of a basic metal and plastic support system and mesh, soft plastic or nylon sides. An optional removable bassinet can be attached at the top for the child to sleep in or be changed in until four months of age. Some models have attachments such as mobiles, side pockets for supplies and toys, change table attachment, night lights, music boxes, and clip-on adapter for CD player for the child to listen to music while sleeping or playing. Portable playpens come in different sizes, but most are expected to be collapsed into a small roll for easy storage and transport. Difference between playpen and playard is small.
It is important to ensure the playpen being used is safe for the child. This is especially relevant when the playpen has been bought second-hand which may have been subject to a product recall. Unsafe playpens may collapse which could result in (possibly fatal) injury to the child.
Best Extra Large Baby Playpen: TODALE Baby Playpen, Extra Large
We asked the readers of our baby gear book, Baby Bargains, for their advice on extra large baby playpens. We took these suggestions and then narrowed down the finalists based on overall quality, ease of assembly and portability (some playpens are; others not so much).
After evaluating a half dozen extra large playpens, we think TODALE’s Extra Large Baby Playpen is the best bet for most folks. Yes, this playpen boasts an impressive 27 square feet of play space (it is 75″ x 59″ wide—yes that is more than six feet long by nearly five feet wide).
To compare, consider the size of the most popular standard playpen (the Graco Pack ‘N Play), which is 40″ x 28.5″—basically half the size of the TODALE.
What We Liked
- Water proof.
- 27″ tall = corrals even kids who are climbers.
- Zippered doors.
- Mesh on all sides for air flow.
What Needs Work
- Once built, it is somewhat difficult to take apart. You connect the pipes with t-connectors and four suction cups to keep it stable. That’s nice, but it isn’t the easiest thing to dissemble.
- No floor padding. You may want to set this up on carpet or an area rug.