In Australia, there is yet to be a mandatory safety standard for playpens. While some products may be tested against the European standard EN 12227 or the American standard ASTM F1004, it’s important to think twice about your playpen choice in Australia to ensure the happiest and safest playtime for your little one.

CHOICE has conducted tests and reviews of playpens and recommends bearing the following factors in mind:

  • A playpen should be sturdy enough so that it won’t fall over if your child leans on one of the walls, or if something bumps into it. Consider choosing a slightly heavier option to help prevent collapses.
  • Look for parts of the design that could function as footholds, such as small holes near the bottom of the walls. If your child can climb up the walls, it could lead to a fall.
  • Ensure the gate, if there is one, can be securely latched.
  • Latches should be childproof and safely covered up to prevent pinches.
  • Bars should not be so far apart that a child’s head or limbs could become stuck between them. Australian cot safety standards state that gaps between bars should be no larger than 95mm for head entrapment, and spaces between 30mm to 50mm can be dangerous for little limbs.
  • Walls should be at least 50cm high – high enough that a child cannot climb or fall out.
  • Stable enough design.
  • There should be no small, removable objects that could be swallowing hazards.
  • Look out for sharp corners, or anything protruding that a child running around could run into.
  • Watch out for parts of the playpen that could snag or catch onto clothing.

Safe playpen use

When setting up and using the playpen, consider the following:

  • Make sure the playpen is not near any dangling cords, curtains, or blinds.
  • Remove objects that your little one could use as a step up to climb out. These may be some kinds of toys.
  • Keep the playpen far away from heaters, power points, and stovetops.
  • Make sure the playpen is fully erected and all the locking mechanisms engaged before use.
  • Do not use any accessories which are not approved by the manufacturer.
  • Regularly cleaning and maintenance to ensure the playpen is functional without any part is broken, torn, or missing.