These high-sided, enclosed play areas are popular because parents can put their baby in one knowing that their little one can't wander off. But playpens are no substitute for adult supervision — never leave a child unattended in a playpen. What to look for: Check the label for JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certification, which means the playpen meets the safety standards of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The sides should be at least 20 inches (51 centimeters) high, measured from the floor of the playpen. If the playpen has mesh sides, the holes in the mesh should be no larger than ¼ inch (0.6 centimeter) to keep small fingers and small buttons on clothes from getting caught. The mesh should be securely attached and checked regularly for breaks and tears. If the playpen is wooden, the slat spaces should be no more than 2-3/8 inches (5.08 centimeters) in width. Look for padding on the tops of the rails to protect your baby from bumps. Look for a 1-inch firm mattress or pad at the bottom of the playpen. The locks that allow you to lower a side should be out of your baby's reach. Make sure the playpen has well-protected hinges and supports. Look for a playpen with top rails that automatically lock when lifted into the normal position. Check the floor of a used playpen for wear and tear. SAFETY NOTES: Never leave a baby in a mesh playpen with the side lowered. The baby could get trapped between the mesh side and the floorboard. Because of the danger of suffocation, only one floor pad (mattress) should be used. Don't use soft bedding or pillows in the playpen at any time. Never replace the mattress or padding in the playpen, as it might not fit the playpen well. Check all padded parts regularly for tears; cover or repair all tears. Show babysitters and other caregivers how to correctly set up the playpen and review the safety rules with them. Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. The playpen should not be placed near windows. Cords on drapes and blinds can strangle the baby. Don't use a hand-me-down playpen with large diamond-shaped openings, as a baby's head may get trapped in the large holes forming the diamonds. Never tie or string toys from the sides of the playpen. Stop using the playpen when your child can easily climb out — when he or she reaches a height of 34 inches (86 centimeters) or weighs 30 pounds (14 kilograms). Back to Articles Related Articles Household Safety Checklists Young kids love to explore their homes, but are unaware of the potential dangers. Learn how to protect them with our handy household safety checklists. Read More Household Safety: Preventing Strangulation and Entrapment Kids can strangle or become entrapped in the most unexpected ways - even cords, strings on clothing, and infant furniture and accessories can be dangerous. Read how to prevent these dangers around your home. Read More Choosing Safe Baby Products Choosing baby products can be confusing, but one consideration must never be compromised: your little one's safety. Read More Choosing Safe Toys Toys are a fun and important part of any child's development. And there's plenty you can do to make sure all toys are safe. Read More Choosing Safe Baby Products: Cribs When you choose a crib, check it carefully to make sure that your baby's sleep space is safe. Here's how. Read More Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents You might think of babies and toddlers when you hear the words "babyproofing" or "childproofing," but unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 and under. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.