Playpens can cause serious injury if they tip over easily, collapse or have gaps which can trap a child’s fingers, limbs or head/neck. Make sure you buy a sturdy playpen with no dangerous gaps or pinch points and with no footholds which a child may use to climb out.

About playpens

Playpens are used to limit children’s play areas as they become increasingly mobile during their first 12 months. Playpens with a floor, where the floor is provided as a supportive base and is an integral component of the product, are regarded as folding cots and must comply with the requirements of the mandatory standard for those products.

Risks and injuries

There is a risk of strangulation if a child's head becomes trapped between the side bars of a playpen, or if sharp parts snag their clothing.

Playpens that don’t have strong sides or well-secured latches may tip over or collapse if children lean on the sides. If children fall this way, they can suffer serious injuries.

Buying tips

  • Choose a strong, sturdy playpen that won’t tip over when your child leans on the sides. It helps to choose a heavier model rather than a lighter one.
  • Check that folding parts have latches that lock securely and cannot be undone by a baby.
  • Check that the playpen has no sharp fittings or parts that might snag clothing.
  • Check that the playpen is more than 500 mm high and the spaces between the side bars are between 50 mm and 95 mm—larger gaps can trap a child’s head.

Safe use

  • Ensure all latches are locked securely before use to prevent the playpen accidentally collapsing and trapping the baby.
  • Remove any toys or objects from inside or next to the playpen that your child can use to climb on, to avoid the child falling.
  • Keep the playpen clear of heaters, stoves and power points to avoid burns and electrocution.
  • Keep the playpen away from blinds and curtain cords as these may catch around the baby’s neck and cause strangulation.