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Select a safe playpen, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) seal, for your baby. If you purchase your playpen new, select one with the features you desire such as mesh sides, storage, play features, easy folding mechanism, a bassinet and wheels on the bottom. If you choose a used playpen, select one that is less than 5 years old with all features in excellent condition. Visit the CPSC website to check for playpen recalls, or call 800-638-2772 to inquire about a specific playpen model.
Set up the playpen in an area where your baby will be able to see and hear family activity. Choose a room such as the kitchen or family room where you will be working or relaxing so that you can talk to the baby and she won’t feel lonely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up the playpen properly.
Keep the playpen free of extra pillows, pads and blankets because these items can create suffocation hazards. Additionally, an older baby might use them to climb out of the playpen.
Provide safe and age-appropriate toys for your baby while he plays in the playpen. Do not give your baby toys that he can use to climb over the side of the playpen.
Start laying your baby in the playpen while she is not yet mobile. This will get your baby used to playing in this spot so that once crawling begins, she will be less likely to feel confined.
Place your baby in the playpen to play for short times. Try not to overuse the playpen by keeping your child in it for long periods of time. Babies need frequent interaction and attention.
Remove your baby from the playpen when she cries and needs attention or when you finish with your activities that prevent you from watching her carefully.