What Are Baby Play Yards?
A baby play yard, also known as a travel yard, is a device that allows your baby or toddler to play freely inside of a restricted area. Baby play yards are all a little different, but generally they are square structures with some built-in toys and other features.
Baby play yards are cozy spots for you little one to play or nap. They can be used indoors or outdoors, and generally fold up for easy travel. You aren’t meant to leave your baby inside the play yard and walk away–all manufacturers recommend that all play in baby play yards be supervised by an adult. Baby play yards are perfect places for interaction between parent and child, and gives your baby a safe amount of freedom to play on their own.
Play Yard Safety Tips
It is important to practice good safety measures when using a baby play yard. Remember that the play yard is not a substitute for supervision.
- Before you use the baby play yard, check to make sure that all the sides are fastened securely. Generally, baby play yards have four sides that “lock” in the upright position.
- Also check the sides for holes or tears. Baby play yards are usually made of some kind of mesh material which can tear or develop holes that can endanger your kid.
- Baby play yards are not meant to be used with big toys or bulky items inside the play yard itself. Kids can use these items to easily climb out of the play yard.
- Every baby play yard comes with rules from the manufacturer and guidelines on the proper use of the play yard, including limitations on the baby’s height and weight.
Baby Play Yard Features
Baby stuff is fancier these days than ever before. It is no longer acceptable to just plunk your baby down into a plain old play yard. Baby play yards now come with all sorts of fancy accoutrement. Whether you’re into old-fashioned plain play yards or the latest electronic gadget, picking a baby play yard that’s right for you is easy. Mix and match the features you want and remember that you can always buy additional parts later.
Coordinated Play Yards
If you want a baby play yard that matches your other baby stuff, consider buying specially-made coordinated baby play yards. These are “matched” to a wide variety of colors and prints, including popular colors and prints found at big-name baby gear retailers. There are play yards that match baby car seat, stroller, baby swing, or high chair that you already have at home.
Play Yards with Removable Canopies
If you live in a part of the country that is exposed to bright sunlight, or plan to take your baby play yard to a hot climate, you should get your hands on a removable canopy. The fact that the canopy is removable makes them ideal for use both indoors and outdoors.
Some baby play yards start out their lives as bassinets. These special bassinet/play yard hybrids are great gifts for people expecting newborns–once the baby has outgrown the bassinet, it converts into a play yard.
Almost every brand of baby play yard has an available changing station feature. These changing stations are easy to secure to the top of the play yard, and some even fit right into the play yard itself. These changing stations are removable and come equipped with lots of storage space for diapers, wipes, and other diaper changing accessories. This way you don’t have to take the baby out of the play yard for changing.
Mobiles, Toys & Electronics
There are endless numbers of attachable toys and other gadgets for baby play yards. You can trick out your baby play yard with different mobiles, toy attachments, and electronic gadgets that are approved for use with your play yard. These gadgets usually use sound, light, and vibration to distract and entertain the baby.
Cheap Baby Play Yards for Sale
As with any baby item, the sky is the limit when it comes to the price of a baby play yard. You can spend as little as $40 or $50 on low-end baby play yards all the way up to hundreds of dollars for brand name baby play yards.
BabyBjorn, a pretty expensive brand of baby stuff, has a fancy baby play yard that also converts into a travel crib for about $300. On the other end of the spectrum, Kidco sells their “PeaPod Indoor/Outdoor Play Yard” for just $49 at baby stores around the country. How much you spend depends on the bran and the extra features you want.
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