A playpen should be a place where a baby is safe. When buying a new or used playpen, it is important to make sure it is a newer model and meets current Canadian safety requirements.
Choosing a playpen
- Before buying a second-hand playpen or re-using a playpen for another baby, check with the manufacturer and Health Canada for recalls.
- Playpens must have a label that states the manufacturer, model, and date of manufacture.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations for weight and age requirements. It is important to make sure that the product is assembled correctly before using it.
- Make sure the sides are sturdy and made of mosquito-type netting. If the mesh is larger, buttons or hooks on clothing could get caught, resulting in strangulation.
- Avoid playpens that have sharp edges or hinges that can pinch, scrape, or cut fingers.
- Do not buy playpens that have protruding bolts, and make sure that the ends of bolts are covered with tight acorn nuts. Joints and ends of metal tubing should also be covered with a pad or cap.
- Check that the mattress pad is firm. Mattress pads that are worn down could create a suffocation hazard.
- Check for tears in vinyl rail coverings, mesh panels, or in the mattress pad of the playpen. A baby can bite off small pieces and choke.
Using a playpen
- Supervise children at all times while they are in a playpen.
- Never leave a baby in the playpen with the side down; the baby can roll into the space between the mattress and the mesh side and suffocate.
- Make sure sides are in their fully raised and locked position before placing a baby in the playpen. If the sides are not locked in place, a "V" shape can be created in which a baby can strangle.
- If a change table or bassinet is provided as an insert for the playpen; never put a baby in the playpen while the change table or bassinet insert is still in place. Babies have died when their heads became trapped between the top rail of a playpen and the bottom rail of an insert.
- Babies should never be placed to sleep on change table accessories that attach to playpens.
- Never put scarves, necklaces, or cords in the playpen or around a baby's neck. These items can catch on the playpen and strangle a baby.
- Never put the playpen near a window or a patio door where a baby can reach the blind or curtain cord and strangle.
- Place the playpen away from stairs, doors, furniture, and appliances.
- Remove mobiles and toy bars as soon as the baby begins to push up on their hands and knees.
- Do not place a baby in a playpen with large toys or stuffed animals that can be used to climb out of the playpen.
- Do not add blankets, pillows or an extra mattress to the playpen. The use of these items could lead to suffocation.
For more information
More about playpen safety:
General information about the safe use of children's products: