More than just somewhere for baby to nap, playards (formerly known as playpens) can serve as a secure place and controlled environment for your little one to play in. There are hundreds of playards on the market and many models to choose from. They are made from mesh, plastic or wood. Some are roomy and at floor level while others are smaller and sit above the ground.
Going out and buying the playard that is best suited to your needs won’t cut it. To protect your baby from any and all risks, you should also be aware of the safety rules surrounding playards. Here are five things you should know about using your playard.
MAINTAIN AUDITORY CONTACT WITH YOUR BABY
Even if your baby is in a protected environment and the sides of the playard are well built, it’s important to monitor your child continually. If your child is playing, listen carefully and talk to him to make sure that everything is alright. If it’s naptime, check on him once in a while!
ENSURE THAT THE SIDES OF THE PLAYARD ARE LOCKED
Playards, like everything else, come in all shapes and sizes and vary in cost. With playards that have drop-sides or doors, the locking mechanism must be checked regularly. If one part of the playard were to slip or open, the chances of crushing the baby or the baby falling would inevitably increase.
PUT THE PLAYARD IN A STRATEGIC SPOT WHERE THERE IS NOTHING IN BABY’S REACH
Sometimes parents use their playards for children who are 20 or 22 months old. At this age, your child could easily prop themselves up on the sides and cling to furniture, door handles or to the bars that surround the playard. To ensure that there are no accidents, try placing your playard in the middle of the room or close to open walls.
DON’T OVERLOAD THE PLAYARD WITH TOYS
Many parents put pillows, stuffed animals and blankets inside the playard. Rather than adding comforting objects, you may be preventing your baby from moving around freely. You may also be giving your child the chance to climb on top of those objects and get out of the playard on their own!
INSTALL THE PLAYARD ON A LEVEL AND NON-SLIP SURFACE
Some playards are very light or have wheels, which makes transporting them easy but diminishes their stability. To prevent your playard from tipping over, it’s better to install it on a flat, non-slip surface.
There are varying opinions about using playards for children. Some parents prefer to let their baby move around on a mat in the living room or bedroom. In that case, make sure that the room you choose is baby-proofed. An unstable or sharp piece of furniture, small objects they find on the floor and power outlets are all potentially hazardous things that your baby shouldn’t have access to.