The risk of injury or death associated with playpens is not at the forefront of many of New York parents’ minds. However, playpens pose a substantial risk to children. What are these risks and how can you mitigate and prevent the chance of injury?
Playpens and the potential for injury or death
Many families use playpens and portable cribs for a variety of functions. They can be a convenient spot for baby to nap, or they can keep a child confined and safe if an adult needs to briefly leave the room.
The popularity of playpens is ever increasing as over 2.5 million are purchased each year. Though attempts to improve the safety of these devices are continually being made, reports of injuries and death are still happening.
Hazards of playpens
Some of the hazards are attributed to parents or caretakers putting soft bedding or mattresses in the playpen. Since 1994, awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has risen. One of the top causes of SIDS is babies suffocating in soft bedding. However, product defects and other hazards still exist when using a playpen, including:
- Cushions or mattresses that can trap and ultimately suffocate a baby
- Collapsing side rails that can trap, injure or suffocate a baby
- Failed hardware that results in injury or entrapment
- Large mesh that could catch on a baby’s clothing and cause suffocation
- Playpens placed too close to blinds or drapery cords that can strangle a baby
- Placing a makeshift “lid” to keep a baby inside that can collapse
Preventing playpen injuries and death
Prior to purchasing your playpen, make sure it has not been recalled by checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Be certain to always put a baby to sleep on his or her back, and do not add soft bedding or mattresses to your playpen.
Modifying a playpen in any way can render it unsafe for your child. You should also make sure there are no strangulation hazards where you place the playpen. Additionally, be certain to only purchase a playpen with smaller mesh to avoid clothes catching in it. If an injury does happen due to a defect with the playpen, you may want to seek legal help.