Playpens offer a convenient way to keep your baby safe and under your watchful eye when you need to prepare dinner or hang the washing. They are also a quick alternative for a temporary, but safe area for your baby to play or nap while traveling or visiting with friends and family. Playpens are so versatile and convenient -- you may be hard-pressed to find a parent who doesn't own one!

Playpens fold neatly into a compact rectangle, slip into a carrying case, and can fit under a bed, in a closet, or the trunk of your car. A standard baby playpen is rectangular, typically 28" by 40". Most playpens should only be used by babies under 34 inches tall, weighing less than 30 lbs, who are unable to climb out.

Most baby playpens have a padded floor, mesh sides, locking casters on one end, and top and bottom rails that lock and unlock allowing the playpen to fold up easily. Newer playpens are equipped with a removable canopy to help keep your baby shaded and out of the sun when outside.

Some have a removable bassinet for use by newborns weighing less than 15 lbs and a changing station for use by babies weighing less than 25 lbs. Bassinets and changing stations sit on the top of the playpen and are easily removed when your child grows out of them.

Don't mistake a playpen for a play yard. Play yards are similar but are typically made of durable steel or molded plastic with an open floor. Portable cribs are also similar to playpens but are made of metal or wood and are designed to be compact versions of a standard crib.

Your playpen will include a manufacturer warranty of varying length and come with a Product Registration Card. Remember to fill out and send in your Product Registration Card. The manufacturer uses this information to activate your warranty and send you the proper replacement parts if something needs to be replaced on your playpen. The information you provide on the card is used to notify you of any product or part recalls related to your playpen.

When choosing a playpen, you want to be aware of playpen safety guidelines and choose a safe one. You can contact CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 to make sure your model has not been part of a recall. You can also check these sources to find playpen recall information:

Consumer Reports
Consumer Product Safety Commission
A playpen is a nice home and travel accessory when you want a safe place for your baby to play and nap while washing the dishes or visiting with friends. The GRACO Pack N Play Playpen/Portable Crib is a great, easy to use playpen that is definitely worth the investment. This playpen is considered a portable crib because it is equipped with a removable full-size bassinet insert for your newborn. Really, it is just a playpen with a removable bassinet. It folds up and stores in a handy carrying case which makes it easy to transport anywhere, any time.
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