What we call playpens today used to be nothing more than a fenced area for babies to roam around and play inside the house. Nowadays, they are pretty much multifunctional baby equipment that you can easily convert into the likes of a crib or a bassinet, often including a diaper changing station. Of course, babies are precious and will need protection from everything around them and themselves, and the plyapen is the best place to start with.
Sudden infant death syndrome is one of the worst things that can happen to your baby during their time in the playpen. Sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS, is defined as the sudden death of a healthy baby during their sleep, having apparently spontaneously ceased breathing. Here are some tips that you can really use to keep the playpen safe for your kids. Follow these to make your kid’s play time a lot safer and make yourself worry less.
- Before you buy a playpen, you should check the label and see whether or not the pen has a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) label. The industry group JPMA evaluates products and makes sure that they meet the safety standards of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Their label is an indication that the product meets the said standards.
- If you are using old playpens – especially hand-overs that do not have a JPMA label or are produced before the current safety standards are in place – make sure that the spacing between the wooden slats measure 2 3/8 in. If the sides feature some sort of mesh, be sure that the holes are ¼ in. in diameter at most. The included mattress should be firm and have a 1 in. thickness. Also check if the hinges and supports are covered properly. If the playpen does not fit any of the above criteria, or if it has a diamond opening, do not use it.
- Be sure to set up your playpen according to the manual provided by the manufacturer. Follow the directions to the tee, making sure everything is locked in place so as to prevent the sides from being pushed down. If the mattress comes with the playpen, place it at the bottom and strap it in if possible. Even better, cover it with a sheet with the size that matches the mattress.
- Keep your baby’s playpen free of soft items like pillows, stuffed animals, and thick blankets until the baby is about 12 months in age. Past that age, you should keep toys that they can use as some sort of a step or platform as it will encourage them to climb out or cause them to fall.
- Set up the playpen away from anything that hangs on the nearest wall. Examples include blinds, curtains, objects hung on the wall, and hanging wall decorations. These objects not only have a chance of falling on your child; the baby might also reach out for the wall hangings and pull them down themselves. Either way, this poses the risk of the child getting injured by falling objects. In worst cases, your children may end up strangled by binds, curtains, and the like, especially when the child is left unattended.
- It is a best practice to lay a baby under a year old on their back when putting them to sleep inside the playpen. Do so unless a different sleeping position is recommended by your pediatrician. Laying a baby on their back can help eliminate the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, be it in or out of the playpen.
- The playpen is designed to keep babies safe. If they are too large for it, though, the pen may prove more of a hazard than a safety asset. You should stop using the playpen once the baby reaches 30 lbs. in weight or 34 in. in height.
- Do make sure that the pen playpen is always safe for use by checking it now and then to ensure that it is in full working condition. Keep watch of damages to the playpen such as holes and tears. It is always best that, if ever you need to replace parts of the pen, you only use parts from the same manufacturer.