Last updated: August 18, 2021

Our method

7Products analysed

21Hours spent

6Evaluated articles

30User reviews

A baby playpen not only offers a toddler a protected place and supports the development of first attempts to stand and walk. A baby playpen also gives parents a safe feeling when it is important to leave the child unattended for a moment. The doorbell rings, the washing machine is ready or household chores are on the agenda. With our big baby playpen test 2022 we want to help you find the ideal baby playpen for you and your baby. Among other things, we have compared material, size and shape. We also looked at the advantages of playpens on castors and why a height-adjustable base plate is useful. This knowledge will help you decide which baby playpen suits you best.




Summary

  • A baby playpen offers your child a protected space wherever you are.
  • The playpen accompanies your child from birth through several age groups and ensures safety in every situation.
  • The versatile possibilities of use make a baby playpen an all-rounder in baby equipment.

The Best Baby Playpen: Our Picks

Baby playpen: buying and evaluation criteria

Are you thinking about buying a playpen for your baby? The criteria listed below will help you get an overview of the wide range of baby playpens available.

The following information will help you to make the first decisions to find the right playpen for you and your baby.

Material

Baby playpens can be made of wood, fabric or plastic. There are different advantages and disadvantages depending on the material.

Wood

Wooden baby playpens are made of beech, oak, pine or spruce. The playpen walls consist of several bars. Wooden playpens are more stable and durable than fabric or plastic ones. Depending on the supplier, wooden playpens can be extended as desired with additional elements. The disadvantage of the material is the weight. The finish of a wooden baby playpen is important. If you decide on a lacquered version, pay attention to the colour fastness. Manufacturers then label their products as free of harmful substances.

Fabric

The side walls of a fabric baby playpen are covered with mesh. The mesh fabric allows your child to see outside and to perceive its surroundings. The use of textiles also offers your child special comfort. Another advantage is the light weight. A disadvantage is the cleaning of the material. Before buying, pay attention to the manufacturer's instructions regarding the cleaning possibilities.

Plastic

A plastic playpen consists of several plastic elements. Make sure that the plastic is BPA-free. You can find the information about the pollutant-free production in the respective product descriptions.

A baby playpen made of plastic is weatherproof due to the material and can also be set up in the garden.

The plastic wall elements are available in different designs. They should also contain open elements so that the child can see you and the surroundings. The advantages of a plastic playpen are its light weight and easy cleaning. In addition, the material can be used outdoors without any problems because it is weather-resistant. Plastic playpens can usually be extended. A small version for the living room can easily become an XXL version for the garden.

Size

The baby playpen sizes start at square dimensions of 75 x 75 cm or rectangular dimensions of 75 x100 cm. These sizes are handy and can be placed flexibly wherever you are; whether in the house, in the flat or in the garden.

TIP:

According to DIN standards, a door frame is 61 to 98.5 cm wide. If the playpen is to be moved from room to room, this must be taken into account when choosing the size. Ideally, measure the width of the door frame before buying. Small playpen sizes are ideal if you want to put your child in a protected place for sleeping or as a short place to stay when leaving the room. When your child starts to get mobile, crawl and crawl, the most common size is 100 x 100 cm. This gives your child more freedom of movement and allows them to move around safely within the playpen. A larger version also allows space for toys. Baby playpen models made of wood or plastic can be easily enlarged with additional elements, depending on the manufacturer. This allows you to adjust the size individually to the needs of your child and the location conditions. The decision about the size of the baby playpen also depends on the personal living conditions. However, there are also options for a baby playpen with limited installation possibilities. In this case, the shape can be decisive.

Shape

Baby playpens are available in different shapes. Whether oval, round, square, hexagonal or even octagonal. When choosing a design, do not only consider your personal taste, but also your living conditions. Oval or round baby playpens are modern and stand out because of their design, but these shapes also take up space in your home. Just like hexagonal or octagonal playpens. If you want to use a baby playpen in a space-saving way, square or rectangular shapes are more suitable. You can place the rectangular design in the corner or against the wall. Another advantage over oval and round baby playpens is that you can fold them up and store or transport them. If you want to flexibly expand your baby playpen later with additional elements, you should go back to the rectangular shape. With a playpen with flexible elements, you can also implement your own design ideas.

Height adjustability

Baby playpens that have a base plate have a height adjustment function. The adjustable height is ideal for a baby playpen that will accompany your child for several years. The playpen can be used as a baby bed or changing table when the child is still a baby. When the child grows, the base plate can be moved downwards.

As a rule, the maximum load-bearing capacity of a base plate is 15 kilograms.

The load capacity is important for a baby playpen with a base plate. If you decide to buy a baby playpen with a base plate, check the manufacturer's specifications for the maximum weight. Also look at the scope of delivery. Most base plates do not offer enough comfort, so it is advisable to buy an additional mattress. A baby playpen with a base plate is bound to its shape. If you want to buy a playpen that can be extended in the future, you should go for a version without a base plate.

Safety

In connection with children's toys and furniture, the following three DIN standards guarantee the safety of your baby playpen.

  • DIN EN 12227 confirms the safety of baby playpens. This includes the minimum height of the wall elements of 60 cm as well as the distance between individual bars of a maximum of 6.5 cm.
  • DIN EN 1930 again includes the minimum spacing of cage bars as well as the child-safe processing of corners and edges.
  • DIN EN 71 tests children's toys and furniture for the presence of small parts, the stability of the toy or piece of furniture and whether the materials used are flame retardant. This standard also includes the testing of paints or varnishes that are free of harmful substances.

You can find the information about the tested DIN standards in the product information of the respective manufacturer.

Baby playpen: frequently asked questions and answers

In order to clarify your unanswered questions and to inform you comprehensively about baby playpens, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Who is a baby playpen suitable for?

A baby playpen is suitable as a shelter for babies and toddlers. This safe room can be placed in your own home. The area inside a baby playpen blocks out sources of danger and provides children with a safe place to lie or play.

Give your child more protection with a baby playpen, even when sleeping. (Image source: Nyana Stoica / unsplash)

Babies who are starting to crawl and crawl enjoy protection from wires, sockets or small parts. Toddlers who are starting to walk also benefit from the safe environment. The advantage of a playpen for babies is therefore the carefree use, where parents know which objects the baby will come into contact with. In addition to the freedom of movement that a baby playpen offers for the first attempts at locomotion, certain models also support development. The bars of a wooden baby playpen help children to stand up and hold on. Flexible playpen models are practical for use in different rooms, in the garden or when travelling. Especially when there is no possibility to childproof every room, a baby playpen ensures safety.

What types of baby playpens are there?

In addition to the selection criteria already mentioned, such as material, size or shape, baby playpens differ in the following characteristics:
Type Advantages Disadvantages
Castors Easy mobility Parking brake with child safety lock
Door Flexible one-hand opening Not possible with round or oval shapes
Slip bars Possible with all shapes Unhandy to remove
Foldable Space-saving to store, Suitable for travelling Ensuring quality with repeated assembly and disassembly

Detailed information on the advantages and disadvantages of the different features is summarised for you below.

Castors

The advantage of a baby playpen with wheels is the ease of mobility. The baby in the playpen can easily accompany you into any room. A playpen for babies on castors is also advantageous for housework such as vacuuming. Check the locking function of the brakes on the castors so that your baby can move safely in the playpen. In addition, the parking brake should not be able to be released by the child.

Door

A baby playpen with a door element can usually only be opened from the outside. The mechanism allows flexible one-hand opening. A simple door opening is not possible with round or oval shapes.

Sliding bars

You will find slider bars on baby playpens made of wood. The option of opening the playpen by removing individual bars is suitable for all shapes. It is not possible to remove the individual bars with one hand. In addition, it should not be possible for children to open the playpen.

Foldable

Foldable playpens for babies offer the possibility to store the playpen in a space-saving way. In addition, a foldable baby playpen is ideal as a travel cot. When buying a playpen, look for high-quality workmanship to ensure stability even when the playpen is repeatedly assembled and disassembled.

For what age is a baby playpen recommended?

The purchase of a baby playpen can already be recommended for newborns. Then the playpen is used as a cot, travel bed or changing table. Until the child is mobile, a playpen can also be recommended to place the child in a safe place for short moments without being watched.

A baby playpen with a height-adjustable base can also be used as a baby bed for a newborn. (Image source: Ömürden Cengiz / unsplash)

Babies between the ages of 7 and 10 months start to become mobile. A baby playpen provides a safe environment for the first crawling attempts during this period. After that, children start to pull themselves up on furniture and objects. Up to 15 months, a playpen can support development and help toddlers to stand up by grasping the bars. At the same time, safety in the baby playpen is ensured by the minimum height of the side elements and the spacing requirements of crib bars. They can neither get stuck nor climb over the playpen.

Please pay attention to the DIN EN 12227 standard. At about 18 months, the child can walk. Then the playpen no longer does justice to the child's urge to move. In addition, the height of the child should be taken into account in order to exclude the possibility of climbing over the side walls. In the case of a baby playpen model with a base plate, it is also important to pay attention to the maximum load capacity.

What alternatives are there to a baby playpen?

As an alternative to a baby playpen, you can also opt for a rocker, cradle or a childproof environment.
Alternative Description
Rocker A rocker is a baby rocking chair. It can be placed flexibly in different places without any effort. The child is strapped in during the time in the rocker. Depending on the model, baby rockers can be used by children up to the age of 2.
Cradle A cradle is a rocking reclining place. There are baby cradles with a stand and cradle function and spring cradles that require a suspension device or are attached to the door frame. The baby cradle can be used up to the age of twelve to sixteen weeks.
Childproof environment Childproofing your own home. Remove sources of danger from the premises, block off certain areas and take isolated safety precautions. These include child-proofing sockets, locking cupboard doors or fixing furniture to the wall so that the toddler can pull himself up.

Compared to a baby playpen, the alternatives listed are flexible and space-saving, although they do involve current expenditure. A child-safe environment must be ensured at all times. A baby playpen is a longer-term and less complicated option in terms of duration of use and possibilities.

What other uses does a baby playpen offer?

The baby playpen not only offers a shelter for playing, but can also function as a mobile bed within your own four walls. Depending on where you are in the home, your baby can have a safe sleeping area. Another use for your baby playpen is as a changing table. At home, you can set up a back-friendly alternative from which you have an easy way to change your baby. However, the function of your playpen is important. The playpen must have a height-adjustable base or an extra changing mat.

A foldable baby playpen made of fabric is ideal as a travel cot. One feature of the fabric version is its light weight. In addition, these playpens are usually supplied with a matching transport bag. If you like to travel, visit family or have your child stay with the grandparents, the baby playpen from home is a suitable travel cot option.

A baby playpen model that folds together is ideal for use as a travel cot. (Image source: __drz__ / unsplash)

If your baby playpen consists of individual elements, they can also serve as a safety gate. If your child is already walking and the playpen no longer offers sufficient room to move, the elements can be used to block off individual living areas. In this way, certain sources of danger, such as stairs, can be secured. In addition, the side walls of a baby playpen offer the possibility of converting the area into a ball pool. This is a nice alternative, especially for play dates or children's birthday parties. This option also offers a change in your child's play routine.

What do I have to pay attention to when setting up a baby playpen?

Your baby playpen should be set up on a flat surface. This surface must also be non-slip. You can also use an anti-slip mat for carpets. Some baby playpens also come with suction cups to ensure the stability of the baby playpen. If you have chosen a baby playpen with wheels, check the locking function of the brakes. Depending on the type of construction, a baby playpen is assembled with screws and nuts. You will need a screwdriver or Allen key and, if necessary, a second tool for countering. If your baby playpen is assembled with screws, make sure that all screw heads inside the playpen are firmly covered with caps. The same applies to the covers of possible hinges. Another type of assembly consists of plugging together individual rods. The plug-in connections usually have a LockGuard system. This system provides safety for the baby playpen by blocking unintentional folding.

How do I set up a baby playpen?

When furnishing your baby playpen, consider not only decorative and playful elements, but also the comfort and safety of your child.

  • Mattress: If you have decided on a baby playpen with a base plate, take a look at the scope of delivery. A base plate alone usually does not offer enough comfort, so it is advisable to purchase an extra mattress. The cover of the mattress should be removable and washable at 60 degrees. If you use the baby playpen as a cot, a nest is an alternative for newborns.
  • Fabric edging: For baby playpens made of wooden posts, a fabric surround is useful. This protects the baby when moving and playing in the playpen. When choosing a baby playpen, it is important to know how to attach it to the baby playpen. If your child becomes mobile, he or she could pull off the fabric surround and pose a safety risk.
  • Toys: A play bow is a nice activity for your child in the baby playpen. It can be watched hovering over the mattress during the waking phases. In the plastic baby playpen version, there is the option of elements with prefabricated play ideas, such as a built-in football goal. These elements have decorative stickers, among other things. For safety reasons, the durability of the stickers should be checked regularly.

There should not be too many children's toys inside the baby playpen so that there is always enough space for your baby to lie and play. In the best case, you only keep certain toys in the playpen, so that you also make the time in the playpen more attractive for your baby.

Conclusion

The range of baby playpens covers every individual need and does not neglect any safety standards. Whether you want to use your baby playpen as a portable travel cot, as a baby cot or changing table at home or are looking for a baby playpen for the garden. Once you have found out how you want to use the baby playpen, you will find the right baby playpen for you and your baby in the large selection of different models. Now you have to decide which design you like best! Picture source: Pokrovsky/ 123rf.com

Reviews