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messagePlaypen Advice Needed
Posted by Jo'sEnglish 30 July, 2012 11:32

I got a basic, wooden playpen from the forum when my baby started crawling a few months ago (the week we were moving house!). I try not to use it too much, just in the morning while I jump in the shower and in the evening when I'm making dinner (and sometimes when I need to put washing out).He's now almost 11 months old and in the last week has managed to:
1. Dismantle it by pulling the bars out and then waving them round his head.
2. Work out how to open the door.
3. This morning (after we thought we had fixed the first two problems) he managed to push the whole thing over while he was in it.

Clearly I can't use it anymore as it's just too dangerous. So I have two questions.

Firstly, for those who had playpens, can anyone recommend one that he won't be able to destroy/push over/get out of but also folds up easily for when we aren't using it as we don't have the space to leave it out all the time.

Secondly, if you didn't use a playpen, what did you do with your very active babies when showering, cooking, etc? I'm trying to work out if we can manage without one but I'm not sure how I'd get by as he is in to everything (pulling plugs out, getting stuck under the table, etc, etc!)

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by sanity girl 30 July, 2012 12:15

I had a playpen for my daughter when we were living in Italy that was similar to a travel cot but a square shape (metal frame, mesh sides, padded base) that worked well, but she was not a big climber or particularly strong. Or you could just use a travel cot if it is for short periods of time.

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by Belle 30 July, 2012 14:10

Hi - not much in the way of a solution to offer, just sympathy! Both my sons (3 1/2, and 10 months) have been/are like this. I tried a babydan play pen with my first: he hated it, but i did find some use for it in room divider mode (it's hexagonal, and can split up so you can fence off particularly dangerous things. It's expensive though - £80 or so, and not that easy to fold up/down. We brought it out again for baby 2, who turns out to be just the same as his elder brother, and lasted a week in it before he just screamed whenever we approached it. Plus, it took up too much room. So now, I just run the gauntlet a lot - try to keep small things out of reach (hard when his big brother is into go-gos and moshi monsters etc), use a ball pit to slow him down a bit if I'm trying to get something done, and if desperate put Peppa Pig on! For showers etc for this stage I bring him in to the bathroom if I have to, but prefer to do it when he's asleep (at night if need be). To be honest at 11 months I'd say there's not much point - you'll get past this stage, and they get to the point where they're all explored out in their own environment so less inquisitive (or so I found with my first). You also just end up trying to do certain things when they're asleep. I do look longingly at friends whose kids sit in one place!

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by crystal7 30 July, 2012 15:33

Urgh lots of sympathy because it's a total nightmare! We haven't got space for a playpen but like yours my baby is very active and into everything! Daughter was the same. We've got stairgates and try to keep small bits (daughters toys!) off the floor. We've put the coffee table in front of the fire place though he does sometimes squeeze past it hinders him a bit! I've found after the millionth time of pulling away from the plants/sockets/wires etc he stops bothering. In the kitchen I've locked the cupboard doors with cleaning stuff in but made the others safe enough for him to explore with pans and stuff. I have a shower in the evening when he's in bed and just take him from room to room with me otherwise. Hard work but it does get easier when they start walking as they can't see all those delicious bits of lego and fluff to eat!

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by The Nappy Lady 30 July, 2012 17:53

We had a Babydan - they are great as a playpen, or can open them out and use as many panels as you like to make a room divider, fire surround or around a pond etc. such a great bit of kit.

I used to shower with mine shut in the bathroom with me, on floor with some toys. Cooking - tricky...in sling, high hair or playing nearby...playpen helps but unless you get then used to it early they can really complain about being in it!

Good luck.


messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by mima08 30 July, 2012 19:55

We also had a babydan until LO could walk - then just used stair gates to stop him from climbing upstairs. He loved the playpen initially but then totally refused to get in - cue mega screaming.

He is very, very active, but we just kept him in the same room as us and he is allowed to run around between the rooms on the same level. We have baby proofed the kitchen but not really the living room - just insisted from early on that he should not touch certain things. It does mean toys everywhere but saves having a big playpen crammed in...
good luck!

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by Convex 30 July, 2012 21:03

the baby dan is a pretty effective 'fun prison' as we call it here. very sturdy and escape proof for us so far.

my baby is happy to be in it provided i am nearby (either in his sight or within earshot and constantly talking) which sort of defeats the purpose. so i am planning to sell it on.

so if i need to shower etc, i do it before the other half goes to work or if that doesn't work out, then during the first nap of the day. when he was a bit younger i had him in the bathroom with me but he goes straight for the loo or bin now and has a lick/chew of it, which i don't like!!!

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by slh2009 30 July, 2012 22:09

I still put my 20 month old in his cot if I need to shower when he is awake. I give him a couple of books and toys and it keeps him happy just long enough! I can see him from the shower though so can keep an eye on him still. As for getting dinner etc agree it is a nightmare. Could you put your son in his highchair with a book/toy?

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by Jo'sEnglish 30 July, 2012 22:15

Thanks for all the advice and sympathy!
The annoying thing is that he was quite happy in his playpen for short times, it was about the only time he actually sat still and played with things or looked at books as opposed to always having to go somewhere! But I think maybe I wouldn't be able to use it for much longer so maybe no point getting another one? What age did other people stop using them?
I might try taking him in the bathroom while I have a shower tommorrow, I fear he might be like your baby though Convex! Put him in the high chair while I made dinner tonight and he seemed quite happy.
How do you stop them unplugging things, turning the TV on and off, crawling under the table and getting stuck and heading for the cooker? I normally just say no and take him away but he either just giggles, heads straight back or has a tantrum, and it doesn't seem to deter him?
Belle - I'm also jealous of people with babies that just sit and play nicely, or ones that don't crawl at all!

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by KateW 31 July, 2012 08:00

We just used Eva's travel cot downstairs instead of a playpen and it worked just fine. I had fully intended getting a playpen with bars but we never needed it in the end. Upstairs, I'd put her in her cot with toys and books while I showered (still do at 21 months).

We still put her in the travel cot for short spells (hanging washing out etc like you said) til she was about 14/15 months. She was a late walker though, didn't walk til 17 months. As for the unplugging things, just keep consistently telling him no and move him away, even if you have to do it 20 times. It's a bummer at the time and you feel like all you're doing is moving him away from things but he will get it in the end. Eva soon learnt what were her toys and what were 'Mummy or Pappa's things'.

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by Yak 31 July, 2012 08:37

I have little advice to offer as your little one sounds like mine. Playpen was a dismal failure as and before too long too strong to be contained by it. I take him with me in the shower in the morning which he loves, or at least in the bathroom (with bins high up out of reach, loo seat down etc - though that just encourages him to climb on it....agh). Cooking wise, a combination of highchair and a cupboard full of plastic things for him to tip out onto the floor. And just not cooking while he is awake.

Generally I spend a lot of my time saying no or trying to distract with other things with mixed success. You might just find you have to pick your battles about what you can live with or adapt to and what poses too much of a safety risk. I think we are seeing some improvement - the plug socket phase is mercifully on its way out at 15 months.

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by scareyt 01 August, 2012 15:12

We used a Leapfrog learn and groove dj station in the kitchen from about 7 months - kept him happy and contained for ages at the far side of the kitchen while I cooked. He did evenutally realise it was a prison and try to climb out, but he still enjoyed using it from the outside for a few more months. Probably not worth buying a new one at 11 months but if you have the space and can get or borrow one second hand I would really recommend it for a few months of peace. That was then replaced by a toy kitchen which has been brilliant and provided hours and hours of playtime.

For showers I just had him in the bathroom with me with some toys and was really strict about not touching the toilet. Showers were very quick!

messageRe: Playpen Advice Needed
Posted by yeknomyeknom February 01, 02:48PM

Get a Jumperoo! Itís the perfect solution. Trust me. All kids love these things and you can lick them up cheap on here or eBay or toy swaps.

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