Playpen safety

Safely set up, use and maintain playpens.

On this page

Safe set-up and use

Many playpens are foldable and portable. This makes it easy for you to take them down and set them up in different rooms in the house or other locations.

It's important to set up and use your playpen correctly to keep your baby as safe as possible. A playpen that is not assembled correctly is not safe for your baby. Follow all of the manufacturer's instructions each time you set up your playpen. Remember to check your playpen's weight and age restrictions.

You can also use the model and date of manufacture on the label to check the recalls and safety alerts database.

Supervise your baby while they're in their playpen. Your baby is safest when you are nearby and watching them.

Follow these safety tips when setting up and using your playpen:

  • Place your playpen away from items that may be unsafe, such as:
    • lamps
    • patio doors
    • wall hangings
    • other furniture
    • electrical plugs
    • curtains and windows
    • blind, extension and electrical cords
      • such as those found on lamps and baby monitors
  • Lock the sides of your playpen securely in place.
  • Remove the change table accessory or bassinet attachment before placing your baby in the playpen.
    • Your baby's head can become trapped in the gap that's created between the change table or bassinet attachment and the playpen.
    • This can strangle or suffocate your baby.
    • It's not safe to add blankets, pillows or an extra mattress to your playpen. Soft items can increase your baby's risk of suffocation.
  • Remove mobiles as soon as your baby can push up on to their hands and knees.
    • Once your baby can reach their mobile, they could pull off small, loose parts or use it to climb out of their playpen.
  • Keep large stuffed animals or toys out of the playpen.
    • Your baby could use them to climb out.
  • Do up the zippers completely on your playpen if it has zippers.
    • If a zipper is left undone, your baby could get their head stuck in the opening.

In Canada, playpens are not recommended for unsupervised sleep. They are not as durable and safe as cribs. If you use a playpen for sleep temporarily while travelling, you can take some steps to make your baby's sleep safer.

Learn more:

Playpen maintenance

Playpens can get worn down with use. Make sure the playpen is in good shape and safe for your baby by regularly checking:

  • that the floor pad is firm, as worn-down floor pads can cause suffocation
  • for tears in vinyl rail coverings, mesh panels and the mattress pad, as your baby could:
    • bite off small pieces and choke
    • become trapped or get an arm or leg stuck in the tear

Playpen bassinet attachments

Bassinet attachments on playpens can be a safe sleep option for your baby until your baby can roll over or reaches the weight limit, whichever comes first.

You can make sure your bassinet attachment is safe for your baby by following these tips:

  • follow the manufacturer's instructions
  • make sure that all components are used and installed correctly:
    • Some bassinet attachments have components like support bars for the mattress pad. When these components are not put together according to the instructions, the mattress pad can sit at angles. This can make it difficult for your sleeping baby to breathe.
    • If your bassinet attachment has support bars that can be detached from each other, make sure to re-attach them every time you set up your playpen. Check that they are securely attached before each use.

The change table accessory is not the same as a bassinet attachment. It's not a safe place for your baby to sleep.

Learn more on the safety of playpen attachments.

Related links

Page details

Date modified: