When your baby is a newborn putting them low to floor can cause major strain on your back so you'll want to shop for a playard that has two levels so you can have them higher when they are younger and then move them lower when they learn to roll over. This model from the popular Graco line does all of this at a reasonable price and has some added features like a mobile and pockets on the side to store, diaper, wipes and such.
The Graco Pack ‘n Play with Reversible Napper and Changer Playard is an upgraded version of the basic Pack ‘n Play; it comes with a cozy newborn napping station that flips around, becoming a changing station that easily wipes clean after use to save your back during diaper changes. It is perfect for tight spaces because you’re combining at least two products in one. However, some users have reported that it is somewhat difficult to flip the napper/changer back and forth. This Pack ‘n Play also comes with a storage pocket to stash your extra diapers and wipes, and it has beautiful colors and a stylish design. At $88.90, this product is a good value for all the features it comes with, but it is more expensive than your basic Pack ‘n Play model. This product is not eligible for Prime shipping, and it typically takes one to two months to ship. It’s on the heavy side at 28.3 pounds, so it may not work as great as other playpens for travel. Luckily, this product grows with your baby, becoming a full-fledged playpen when your baby grows out of the napper.
ATTENTION moms, grandparents, babysitters... I bought this for my one year old grandson, actually 2, 1 for my house and 1 for my daughter's house. She told me a week or so ago that he'd removed one of the suction cups (there are 2 on the bottom of each panel), I thought it must have been a fluke, but I'm either in there with him or very close by, didn't think it would happen again. Just tonight, while I was maybe 5 feet away, watching him play, he somehow got a suction cup off one of the panels and into his mouth. This could have been a tragedy!
Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Playard - This is the benchmark for comparison. When I had my first child, he was only in our house so this served as his napper and playard in the family room when we didn't want to trek to the bedroom. My first loved it. Napped easily in the bassinet, changed his diapers in the bassinet, easy to clean, set up, take apart, and the mobile was awesome - ran on batteries and had good songs. This was THE ultimate playard. In fact, we brought this back out ... full review
As much as I wanted to, it’s impossible to keep your eyes on your toddler 24/7. It is not even possible to take a shower peacefully or make a delicious dinner, for that matter, it is not possible to do any other daily chores when your toddler is crawling every corner of your house. That is why many people today are finding this playpen as a better solution to keep your toddler safe and also to do their chores peacefully.
The word, on the face of it, is rather contradictory, combining play—a word with inherent jouissance—with a suffix that suggests confinement. Given that even pens for livestock have fallen under scrutiny—battery cages for chickens, for example, are critiqued because in them, hens “endure high levels of stress and frustration”—it’s not surprising to find parental discomfort with a product that seems so, well, penitential. Of course, the word yard itself has prison overtones, and when examining a product like the “North States Superyard XT Gate Play Yard” it’s not hard to get some serious Gitmo vibes. (Such misgivings about the playpen are exemplified in sculptor Robert Gober’s X Playpen, a bifurcated enclosure that, as one critic put it, “emphasizes this domestic space’s claustrotraumatic quality.”)
While it might seem like a nice gesture to hand down a playpen that’s been in the family for years, I would strongly recommend not using an older or used model. The idea of picking up a lower-priced playpen from a garage sale or Craigslist might seem appealing at first, but this is never a good idea. Baby equipment, including playpens and playards, are recalled all the time, and older models might have safety hazards.
It's helped us out tremendously. It provides a way for us to cordon off a safe space for our son while allowing him an area to freely move. The fact that it breaks apart and can be arranged in various patterns allowed us to expand that space with some creative use of furniture. Sadly though like all young raptors, he's testing the gates, looking for weaknesses that he'll eventually use to escape and terrorize the local populace of cats.