Main Page
Contact Us

First Baby Mall
First Baby Mall contents

Bookmark Us

Forward this page to a friend!

Expectant Mom's Resource Center Manufacturers' Websites SHOPPING MALL Product Features

Product Features

Portable Play Yard

Whether they call it a playpen, playard, travel yard or portable playard, the vast majority of new parents will tell you that they currently own or plan to purchase one. Not surprisingly, this is one of the largest product categories represented by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA).

To those not selling or shopping for baby products, this purchase decision would seem to be pretty cut and dry. Those who are familiar with the category, however, realize that the multitude of options and brands available can be confusing to a new parent.

Understanding Differences
Innovations by major manufacturers have brought about a fresh focus on portable playards. In the past, retailers relied upon fashion and size to differentiate their sales floor. Today, a myriad of features are available that allow retailers to offer an array of products that will hit differing price points. Some of these features include bassinets, changing tables, storage options and even canopies.

Playards can be divided into two major product categories. The more traditional or full-size playard is the type that many will refer to as a "playpen"—often square in shape, with sides that pivot down to the center for storage. This category is slowly shrinking as more new parents are attracted to the multi-featured, more flexible travel yards, or portable playards. Most portable playards sold today are a standard rectangular size (usually 28" x 40"), with a center floor fold mechanism and top rails that unlock to allow the entire unit to fold compactly and be stored within its own padded floorboard. Some variations on the standard size portable playard include oversized models or those of different shapes, such as square, triangular, round or oval. Portable playards are typically manufactured with round steel tubing, plastic corners and feet, and padded polyester or nylon fabrics.

Meeting Customers' Needs
Parents find that today's portable playards offer some distinct advantages over the older styles. One primary advantage is recognized in the compact fold and ease of transport. Today's compact folds and models with wheels allow greater flexibility in where the product can be used and enjoyed. Not only can these portable playards be used in or outside the home, they are now easily taken to grandma's house, to the babysitter's, and on vacations.

From a new parent's perspective, the addition of bassinet and changing table features to portable playards makes perfect sense. The product is more accommodating to an infant, and is useful for more stages of a young child's life. For example, the bassinet features allow parents to keep the baby close by in the bedroom during the early months. When the child outgrows the bassinet and changer, the product can be used as a play area elsewhere, in or outside the home.

When choosing a portable playard, retailers and parents alike should make sure the product carries the JPMA certification logo. JPMA voluntary standards developed in conjunction with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specify requirements to which playard manufacturers may adhere. Industry members, consumer groups, and staff from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are all involved in developing these standards.

Requirements for Playards (ASTM F406) include general requirements for small parts and sharp edges, height of sides, rail and floor strength, maximum size of holes and mesh openings, and required labels and warning statements. Portable playards can also be certified to pass a Non-Full Size Crib set of requirements (ASTM F1822). These requirements were developed and adopted by JPMA to address some of the more common consumer practices. In general, here are basic suggestions for parents provided by JPMA in reference to portable playards:

  • Playards are intended for a child who is unable to climb out of the playard and is less than 35 in. (864 mm) tall and weighs less that 30 lbs. (13.6 kg).
  • The playard, including side rails, should be fully erected prior to use.
  • Do not add padding or other objects inside the playard that will permit your child to climb out.
  • Never leave a baby in a mesh playard if its drop side is in the down position. The baby could roll into the space between the pad and loose mesh causing suffocation.
  • No playards should have mesh holes larger than 1/4".
  • Check vinyl or fabric-covered rails frequently for holes and tears.
  • Don't tie items across the top of the playard; they can entangle baby and cause strangulation.
  • Never leave baby unattended in a playard.

Go to Next Back to Top Back to Product List Disclaimer Bookmark Contact Us Main Page Expectant Mom's Resource Center Manufacturers' Websites SHOPPING MALL & Kiosk Pavilion Product Features Site Disclaimer Bookmark this page Contact Us Main Page