Mother and Baby

The best playpens that babies and toddlers will love

Baby in playpen

Finding the best baby playpen can be a game-changer when it comes to safely keeping your baby in one place. 

As soon as your baby starts moving independently, that's it - you won't see them for dust if you let them have their freedom. 

Keeping them confined to one area is sometimes necessary for their safety, and for us parents to be able to get anything done - but they don't have to be boring for the children.

Choose one of our favourite baby playpens and you'll soon hear no more protesting - it's not baby prison after all! The right playpen will give your baby a safe space to play and provide you with the peace of mind that they're playing safely - where you can see them at all times. 

What is a baby playpen and do you need one?

A baby playpen is an enclosed play area that gives your baby a safe place to play, always under your watchful eye.

The self-contained units are usually made from wood, plastic or metal. Most baby playpens are lightweight so they can be easily carried around the house and stored.

As much as you might want to cuddle your baby 24/7, it's pretty much impossible with so many other things to do - going to the loo, for instance... 

A baby playpen will not only make your life easier, but it will also give your baby some sense of independence at an early age.

To use, simply set up your chosen playpen on a flat floor surface, fill with toys, and watch them play while you do something else on your hefty to-do list (or maybe just have a coffee).

Which are the best baby playpens to buy?

There's a huge range of playpens on the market, depending on your own style and budget; we've picked some of the best for you to choose from.

Scroll down to see our top picks for the best baby playpens available. 

Advantages:

This trusted company have been in business since 1967
It's simple and effective
It can also be used as a room divider

Disadvantages:

Includes no toys so you'll need to add your own 

Tested by Naomi Johnson, 32, from Peterborough, mum to Logan, 10 weeks, and Elizabeth, 11; she said: ‘This is sturdy, spacious and very easy to use. I loved the extra storage bag. However, the mattress isn’t very thick, and it takes up rather a lot of space.'

Advantages:

Blends easily with any decor scheme
It has changeable panels, so you can alter its shape to suit your room 

Disadvantages:

It's very plain, so you need to add some exciting toys for your baby

Advantages:

Made from European furniture-grade hardwood
It has three adjustable height options for the various baby/toddler stages
Features lockable wheels so it's easy to move around from room to room

Disadvantages:

You need to buy the mat insert separately
You'll need to remember to lock the wheels to stop it from moving about

Advantages: 

Scandi-style to suit any nursery decor
Foldable and portable - great to take on holiday or to visit friends and family
Available in five colours: White, White Beech, Stone Teal, Stone Blue and Dusty Aqua
Size: H63 cm x W72 cm x L103 cm
Made from: Solid beech wood

Disadvantages:

Self-assembly required
Not the largest playpen on our list 

Advantages:

It's large, at 1.5m square
Features anti-slip playmats
200 brightly coloured balls are included in the price

Disadvantages:

It requires a lot of space to make full use of this playpen

Advantages:

Folds up and down easily in seconds 
Features a floor mat so can be used indoors and outdoors 
Includes a zip-open panel to get in and out easily 
Measures 136 x 136 x 75cm

Advantages:

It’s very colourful with different shapes, patterns, and designs
It has in-built toys and activities
It can be made bigger or smaller by simply adding or removing panels

Disadvantages:

Balls not included

Advantages:

It's perfect for spending lots of time outside
It has a weather shield that protects from UV rays, wind, and sand
It comes with an over-the-shoulder carry bag

Disadvantages:

Only for young babies who aren't crawling yet

Advantages:

It’s portable and folds into a compact travel bag
It has a weather-resistant canvas floor

Disadvantages:

There is no door so you have to lift your baby in and out

Read our full review about the Summer Infant Pop 'N Play Playpen. It was Shortlisted in the 2017 Innovation of the Year M&B Award. 

Choosing the best baby playpen for your baby

In order to find the best playpen for you and your baby, the first thing you need to think about is how much floor space you have.

There’s no point buying something that doesn’t fit in your front room. Next, look something with a strong construction but that is lightweight with foldable features for easy storage, or wheels for easy transportation. 

There are so many different designs and shapes for baby playpens so you are sure to find something that's suitable for you.

The types of baby playpens

Traditional wooden baby playpens: 

This type is usually more spacious and can easily match with your decor. They provide plenty of room for your baby to play safely.

Coloured plastic baby playpens: 

These are eye-catching and fun for baby but usually large and harder to move from room-to-room, so make sure you have enough space for them.

Metal structured and fabric-sided baby playpens: 

These are better for smaller spaces and very easy to keep clean. These tend to be durable which is great if you're planning to have more than one child.

How much does a baby playpen cost?

A basic model will set you back about £30, whilst some of the fancier ones can cost well over £100 depending on the type of baby playpen you choose.

The average price for a good playpen is about £50-£60.

Important: Avoid buying a used playpen if possible as over the years several popular baby playpens have been recalled. It's better to buy a new one to keep your baby completely safe or at least research the second-hand model you are buying to make sure that they are still deemed safe for use. 

Important safety points for baby playpens

Here are some important things to note about playpen safety to avoid accidents and injury.

  • Only buy a playpen with the BS EN 12227:1997, 1999, or 2010 safety mark.
  • Never leave children alone and unsupervised in a playpen.
  • Keep the playpen clean.
  • Make sure there are no large items inside the playpen that your baby can step on to and use to climb out.
  • Never leave a playpen near an open fire or other heat sources.
  • Don’t tie anything across the top of a playpen as this is a strangulation hazard.
  • Never leave a playpen near doors or windows that can be opened.
  • Keep playpens away from any dangling cords or cables.
  • Make sure that the baby playpen is in good condition with no holes or broken pieces of wood or plastic.

What do you think about these best baby playpens? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Why not join thousands of mums and start your very own Amazon Baby Wish List? They're absolutely free to create and perfect to send to your family, friends, and colleagues to make sure you're getting the baby products you really need... Click here!

Now read:

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What to buy to make having baby number two that bit easier

 
  • Author: Sophie Knight Sophie Knight
  • Job Title: Contributing Editor

Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited motherandbaby.co.uk before moving on to write about family cars for Parkers.co.uk - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and WhatsTheBest.co.uk 

She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.

Sophie studied History at the University of Sheffield and has been in journalism for 16 years. 

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