How to Choose Baby Playpens, Activity Centers and Bouncers

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Choosing which products to buy for your baby can be nerve-wracking, especially if this is your first, but narrowing down which one is right for your baby shouldn’t be that difficult. Determine the features that are most important to you when it comes to big ticket items like a playpen, activity center and bouncer so you get your money’s worth and your baby gets a pleasurable and safe experience.

Step 1

Ask your friends who are experienced parents about their favorite products. People who have already purchased these products will likely be able to tell you what features they like and don’t like about each one. Take notes so you can learn from their experiences.

Step 2

Browse the playpens, activity centers and bouncers at a baby store, even if you plan to purchase the items online or elsewhere. Seeing all the different models in person can reveal more than looking at a photo on the Internet or in a magazine. Make note of any special color, pattern, toy options, songs or other perks that you like.

Step 3

Check the safety features of the product you are leaning towards. JMPA-certified products have been tested by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to ensure the safety of the children who use the products. You can also check the products against the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for safety-related issues or recalls of the product you are considering.

Step 4

Look for a model with all the features you want. For example, if you plan on using the playpen as a portable crib because you travel often, you’ll want a compact model that easily folds up and is light enough to lug around with ease. If you plan on using the bouncer at the park, you’ll want a canopy feature to shade your baby from the sun.

Step 5

Purchase a model that offers a registration card, and fill it out right away. This ensures you will be contacted if the product is recalled for any reason.

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