Baby Toys

Best Baby Play Pen and Play Yards for A Baby’s Safe Space

Last Updated August 31, 2021

By  Janice Warren

The best play pens and play yards serve as the ultimate babyproof play area solution to help keep an eye on babies and toddlers and keep them away from trouble. But besides keeping these kids from flushing themselves down the toilets or getting into any trouble, the playpen can also be a safe place where you can lay them to sleep anywhere, both indoors or outdoors. This comes in handy, especially when you're out on family vacations and don't have the crib nearby.

Playpens are ideally supposed to be versatile and convenient tools that you can use to keep an eye on your child while they play with their toys. But choosing the wrong one can easily cause you some level of frustration with difficult folds, hard-to-clean surfaces, and bulky bags. The best playpens come in different options that are portable, simple to use, and some are safe for babies to sleep in.

These variations come as playpens with a removable bassinet, while some create safe outdoor play spaces. Overall, safety is the primary consideration when considering the safest sleep surface for infants. Also, you're advised never to leave your child unsupervised even while they're in a playpen.

What Is A Baby Playpen?

A playpen is an enclosed safe play area for your baby and a great place to watch over your toddler while you get some work done. These units are either made of plastic, wood, or metal. Most are lightweight, portable, and can be safely stored anywhere around the house.

Do You Need One?

In a much as you'd want to cuddle your cute baby 24/7, it's impossible. Considering all the other things that you need to do, like actually use the toilet or have a cup of coffee, for instance.

Overall, it not only makes it easy to watch kids, but it also helps give your baby some time to get a little creative with their toys or form some sense of independence at an early age. You only need to set it up on a flat floor surface, fill it with toys, and then watch them play while you work.

What Is the Difference between A Play Yard and a Playpen?

The only real difference between these two is that some play yards can be converted to a travel crib or has extra features like a changing table that you can use to change the diaper of your little one. Regular playpens don't. Additionally, play yards typically come with an attached floor, while the playpen doesn’t. This is why playpens don't show weight limits.

1. Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen

Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...
  • FOLDABLE & PORTABLE: Easy storage and take it anywhere; anti-slip/non-scratch pads...
  • STURDY & SECURE: Keeps its shape and position thanks to its strong hinge connectors...
  • FUN & EDUCATIONAL: Drawing has been shown as the most effective way to improve your...
  • PRE-ASSEMBLED & CUSTOMIZED SHAPE: Simply expand the folded panels into your desired...
  • SPACIOUS: Covers over 25 square feet and stands tall at 24.4’’.

This foldable playpen makes it on top of the list mostly because of how easy it is to assemble, which is a great bonus for many parents. It's also a top choice in the portable category.

When you fold it, it collapses to only 11 inches wide, which makes it portable and allows it to fit literally anywhere for safe storage. It also weighs about 36 pounds, so it's easy to move around when you need to.

The Fortella Cloud Castle is also easy to move around because of the small handles on the panels. It comes with features such as anti-slip pads at the bottom that work great to create a safe place for your child to play both inside and outside the house. In addition, this bottom won’t damage your polished floor.

The panels also allow you to change its shape to suit whatever area you're looking to put it in. In addition, it comes with a whiteboard and activity wall to help harness your kid’s creativity and motor development, which is crucial at a young age.

It gives the baby 25 square feet of space. The play space, convenient features, versatility, and extra safety features come at a relatively higher price, but it's also worth every penny.

  • Pros
  • Whiteboard and activity wall to help harness your kid’s creativity and motor development
  • No footholds so the babies won't climb over
  • Simple safety gate to keep the baby secure
  • Made from a non-toxic, food-grade, BPA-free material
  • Improved safety with no sharp edges
  • Customizable size and shape
  • Gives the baby 25 square feet of space
  • Small slats to prevent babies from trapping their arms
  • Cons
  • Relatively pricey

2. 4moms Breeze GO Portable Travel Play yard

4moms Breeze GO Portable Travel Playard, for Baby, Infant, and Toddler, Easy One-Handed Setup, from...
  • One push open, one pull close
  • Easy, one-handed set up and take down
  • Great for travel or moving around the house
  • Water-resistant playard mattress
  • Streamlined, airy design provides clear views of your little one

This portable travel play yard by 4moms Breeze GO gives your baby plenty of space to play, making it ideal for outdoor use. It can also be made compact enough to fit in your bathroom.

This play yard comes in a steel frame that's incredibly sturdy enough to hold a firm but a well-padded mattress, a few inches off the ground. This mattress is much better than most of the budget options out there. It's easy to clean wIn addition, whenever you experience baby food splatters or accidental spills, the nylon sides can easily be wiped and leave no stains. 

It generally looks and feels like the traditional playpen, but the only difference is that you only need to pull up or press down on the center to set it up and tear it down; no need to lock or unlock the top railings. These features make it easy and fast. Even the carry bag is conveniently thought out since the zipper runs diagonally down, making it easier to fit the foldable play yard inside.

At almost 3-feet long in the travel bag, it's not exactly the best to carry around, but that's a trade-off for an excellent construction. Overall, it's the best budget play yard.

  • Pros
  • Easy and fast setup and teardown
  • Versatile, convenient design
  • Sturdy steel frame to firmly hold its well-padded mattress, a few inches off the ground
  • Great play space size
  • Affordable price
  • 1-year warranty on manufacturing defects
  • Cons
  • Heavy
  • Bulky design

3. Hadwin Baby Playpen, 8 Panel Foldable, and Play Yard

This summer, infant playpen, and playard can easily fold into a compact travel bag, making it easy to carry and great for parents to take on outdoor activities. What's more, it comes with a weather-resistant canvas floor making it great outdoors.

The Hadwin Baby playpen also comes in a great size for ample space for your little one, not only to play with toys but also room enough to crawl or move around. Its panels and construction make it easy to set up or fold down to a small size that's easy to carry.

Unlike other play yards, it doesn't come with a door or gate opening, meaning that you'll have to lift the baby in and out. Not having a door might be a little hard to use especially if you had a c-section.

  • Pros
  • Its panels make it portable
  • It's compact and foldable enough to fit into a travel bag
  • It comes with a weather-resistant canvas floor
  • Cons
  • It doesn't have a door, so you'll have to lift the baby in and out

4. BABYSEATER Playard Play Pen with Carrying Case

BABYSEATER Portable Playard Play Pen with Carrying Case for Infants and Babies, Beige
  • ❤️ TIME TO PLAY – For little ones, it’s all about fun! But keeping a constant...
  • 💙 A FLICK OF THE WRIST – Setting up your baby playpen is so easy, you might just...
  • 💛 NOW YOU SEE ME – Peace of mind for everyone! The BabySeater portable playpen...
  • 💚 FUN ON THE GO – Fun shouldn’t have to stay at home! Whether you’re in the...
  • 💙 OUR PROMISE – You’ve come to expect the best from BabySeater, and our pop...

BABYSEATER is a portable play yard with a lightweight panel construction, making it easy to pack up and transport. This comes in handy, especially when you’re visiting family or need to relocate from one room to another.

It also comes with an attached floor that's padded to create a soft buffer for the baby on the hard floor. This is extremely great for babies who are still learning to stand or walk around. It comes with a removable lining that's also machine washable, so you won’t need to worry about your baby's play yard not being clean enough or sanitized.

This is important since babies have a lot of spills and drool a lot too. It's most ideal for babies who are still teething. In addition to all these features and great panel space, it's also water-resistant.

  • Pros
  • Comes with great space
  • A clear mesh so parents can easily see the child
  • Comes with 2 safety latches
  • Simple takedown with a one-hand folding system
  • Comes with a carrier bag
  • Is under 15 lbs. in weight
  • Removable lining that's also machine washable
  • Padded integrated floor
  • Cons
  • Not completely waterproof

5. Tiny Love Here I Grow Portable Playard

Tiny Love Here I Grow Play Yard, Magical Tales
  • 6 modes of use: 3 ways to care & 3 ways to play
  • Ways to care: spacious changer, comfy bassinet, roomy play yard
  • Ways to play: play bassinet, play mat, play yard
  • Extra large arches with fun, developmental toys
  • Attach the toy arches to the included play mat for tummy time to promote fine and...

The Tiny Love Here I Grow is a 6-in-1 play yard that offers parents one of the best all-in-one solution for changing diapers, laying the baby to sleep, and putting them to play. Among the features, it comes with a changing area, bassinet, diaper caddy, and infant activity play yard. In addition, its changing station is much larger and more durable than others, while the play yard gives your baby plenty of space. 

The gym comes with a mat, a detachable toy arch, and a developmental guide to give you ideas on spending time with the baby. It's made of plastic panels, a plastic and metal frame, and a polyester fabric that feels really comfortable. Unfortunately, the mattress is white and spot-clean only.

  • Pros
  • Comes with a bassinet
  • Changing station table and diaper caddy
  • Has an activity gym
  • Well-built
  • Large playing space
  • 1-year warranty
  • The panel is made of plastic
  • Cons
  • Changing table can be a little difficult to disassemble
  • Relatively heavy

What Factors to Consider for the Best Baby Play Pen?

A) How Collapsable/Foldable Is It?

Not every house comes sprawling with plenty of space, so having a play pen/play yard for your baby's play space that also collapses for easier storage is a great plus. If you want to keep it in your living room, this is something you should consider.

B) Extra Panels?

Simply put, more panels mean it's extra-large and covers more space. You can always adjust the size of this playing pen by either adding or removing the panels. So, consider the customization feature before purchase.

C) What Material?

Playpens come in different materials, which include wood, plastic, mesh, and steel. Typically most mesh panel playpens come with a metal frame for durability.

Always keep in mind your preferences when looking at playards, especially if you want something easy to carry outdoors or used indoors or both. For example, plastic is lightweight and easy to clean, and some playpens with mesh sides come with removable covers that can be washed.

D) Is It Easy to Use?

Obviously, no one wants to spend so much time taking apart and putting the playpen back up. So always choose something easy to assemble and fold back up when you need it.

Frequently Asked Questions on for the Best Baby Play Pen

1. Is getting a playpen a good idea?

Needing to get a playpen for your little one's safety while they play as you work will come on its own, especially when the child is roughly 6-7 months old and they begin to crawl around.

Tip: It's a good idea to peruse through a list of the best playpens and get one before your baby starts moving around too much, so they can get used to it.

2. Is it safe for the baby to sleep in the play pen instead of the crib?

Yes, but it also depends on what type of playpen it is. If the playpen has a mattress, then your baby can occasionally sleep in it; if not, then it means that it's not meant for the baby to sleep in. Some of the best baby playpens come with instructions on whether the playpen can be used for the baby to sleep in or not.

3. How long can the baby safely use a playpen?

When babies get to about 35 inches tall or 30 pounds, somewhere between 2-3 years of age, they can no longer safely use their play yards or playpens. Also, note that there are instances where your little one might not weigh 30 pounds, but they can easily climb out since they're a little too tall for their age.

4. Can a 7-month-old baby sleep in a pack n' play?

To prevent deaths and injuries in playpens, it's safest always to lay babies who are under 12 months on their back as they sleep in the play pen or crib. Also, don't put anything like pillows, quilts, pillow-like toys, or sheepskins to reduce the risk of suffocation or SIDS. Additionally, always ensure that the playpen is well set up before putting the baby in it.

Janice Warren

Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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