When your baby has a small area in which to play safety, you can get needed work done without fear of him getting underfoot. However, it's important to bring the same careful scrutiny to using a playpen or play yard as you do any environment in which you place your baby. Make sure that:

  • Netting has a small weave without any tears. The weave should be so small that not even your baby's finger could slip through and become entwined.
  • The drop side is up and securely locked. If not, your baby can roll into the pocket created between the mesh and the playpen pad and suffocate. Also, he could catch his fingers in the hinges or crawl or climb out of the playpen if all the sides are not locked up.
  • The rails and padding are in good condition. Do not use a playpen in which the padded rails have rips or tears. Your child could remove and ingest the plastic material.
  • Never string toys from the playpen. Any dangling string or cord could encourage your child to try to climb out, resulting in a tumble.
  • Never use an accordion-style fence as a play yard. A child can get his head caught in the openings and injure his fingers on hinges.

From The Parents Book of Lists: From Birth to Age Three, by the editors of Parents magazine with Marge Kennedy. Copyright ? 2000 by Roundtable Press and G+J USA Publishing.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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