I remember the joy and worry I felt when I saw my child standing and cruising for the first time. I was happy but I was also thinking, where the hell am I going to put her when I needed to cook, do chores or work hands-free?
So I turned to a popular solution: playpens.
It saved my sanity and my kid’s head and limbs from getting hurt and stuck in places she shouldn’t have been.
If you’re looking for the same fix as I was, I have here the very best playpens for crawling babies that are highly rated by parents and experts online.
I’ve researched and also looked into recommendations and frequent mentions of the best crawling playpen in popular forums and parenting groups, as well as other parenting websites.
I’ve collated those data and I came up with this list, which I hope you’ll find helpful.
But first, let’s take a look at a buying guide on how to choose the best playpen for your crawling baby or toddlers.
(Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own. For more information see Affiliate Policy.)
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Features To Look For in The Best Playpen for Babies (And Even Toddlers!)
The best playpen for babies and cruising toddlers should be durable enough that it won’t tip or fall over or collapse.
It shouldn’t move nor wobble. It should stay in place, especially when your child keeps pushing or shaking it.
It shouldn’t also cause incidents where your baby’s fingers get pinched, their legs get stuck, they choke on a loose tool or toy that comes with it, etc.
Ideally, the frames should be padded so your baby won’t hit their head on it.
But it’s hard to find a playpen like that so just try to place a pool noodle to cover those frames.
It’s also better to have an all-mesh wall playpen, so kids can’t climb out of it.
But if your baby is still too young to climb or is not interested in climbing, then any wall will do.
Think of the available space you have and what playpen size would fit there.
Some playpens are large enough to accommodate the whole family!
While some have just enough space to contain a crawling baby, along with a few toys.
An easy-to-adjust playpen would be ideal to have, to accommodate any room size. Especially if you have limited space.
It would be best if the playpen comes with its own mat, so you don’t need to look for one that will fit the said playpen.
If you’d rather get your own playmat, check out my review here on the best non-toxic playmat for your baby. if you’re interested.
Easy to Assemble
If you don’t have any plans of moving around or adjusting a playpen, then ease of assembly shouldn’t be much of a concern, since you’re only going to do it once.
But if you want to move it around, carry it with you, set it up outdoors and back again indoors, then look for one that’s easy to put up and disassemble.
A portable playpen that can be quickly kept and stored easily is best to have, especially if you see yourself hanging out and about often with your child.
Easy to Clean
Playpens with lots of nooks and crannies are so much harder to clean, compared to those with a mesh or fabric wall.
But if you don’t think you’d be wiping drool, vomit, dirt, or worse, poonami from it that much, then ease in cleaning is a lesser feature priority.
Some playpen comes with dozens of balls which can be perfect to entertain your baby and even toddler, keeping them occupied inside.
Others are portable enough and come with carrying bags and even a canopy.
Some have attached toys in them and have expandable walls with removable doors.
You don’t need to have all those things in a playpen but it would be nice to have one of them, to get a full bang for your buck.
Best Playpens for Crawling: Feature Comparison Table
This is best viewed on a desktop. Here’s a quick comparison guide on the features of the best crawling playpens
|Brand||Size||Indoors or Outdoors?||Washable|
|hiccapop 53” PlayPod Outdoor Baby Playpen with Canopy||53 x 48 x 30 inches||Both||Yes|
|70.87 x 59.06 x 25.59 inches||Indoors use only||Wipe or Spot-clean only|
|Costway 16 Panel Activity Center Baby Playpen with Gate||Small fence size: 15.5″ x 23″|
Gate fence size: 29.5″ x 23.5″
|Indoors use only||Wipe only|
|Dream On Me Onyx Playpen Set with Canopy||54 x 54 x 30 inches||Both||Yes|
|Costway Large Infant Baby Playpen Safety Play Center Yard with 50 Ocean Balls||81 x 73 x 27 inches||Indoors use only||Wipe only|
|Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen||Floor Area: 25 Square Feet||Indoors use only||Wipe only|
Below is a more detailed info on the best playpens for crawling babies and toddlers.
6 Best Playpens for Crawling
This rigorously-tested, highly-rated playpen can be used indoors and outdoors, with no issue.
Some have even used it for camping while others use it for going to the beach, backyard, or just hanging outdoors with friends and relatives.
It’s very easy to assemble and can be quickly folded and stored. It even comes with a carry bag!
It’s very sturdy and has child-proof safety levers that would prevent your little one from accidentally collapsing it.
The hiccapop also has zipper buckles to keep them in place. It also locks from the outside so your kids won’t be able to open it from the inside.
Most parents said it’s the right size where your baby can roam freely without feeling too trapped but it’s not too large for the living room or even kitchen.
Its size is also enough for you to climb in and play with your kid!
Some parents even mentioned that their baby plus their siblings can play inside comfortably, along with their pets!
It comes with an extra thick padded floor so you don’t need to bring in an extra playmat. You can bring this outside with no blanket or whatsoever and your baby would still be comfortable in it!
It’s also machine washable and comes with extra features such as sunshades to block out the sun, even wind and dust from getting inside.
Plus it has 2 doors, which is a more fun feature to have for your kids to play with.
If you want a more permanent fixture in your home, then this CPSIA-certified Mloong baby playpen is great to have.
It’s not meant for small spaces and it can take up most of your living room but it will contain your baby without them feeling confined.
The whole family can even lie down and hang out inside this playpen!
One mom even shared that she places a crib mattress in it, so her child can take a nap right inside the playpen.
Assembly is not that easy, especially if you’re on your own, with some saying it took them 20-30 minutes to put it up.
But most said it was worth it as this playpen is safe and super sturdy – it won’t easily move or tip over.
One parent even said their 50 lbs/ 23 kg dog stood on to look in and it held pretty well!
Its mesh side is also durable and won’t easily get ripped by your pets or your child.
It comes with a hanging diaper caddy and a dual-sided playmat that’s easy to wipe and clean.
Customer service is also very responsive, according to some parents.
I actually had a playpen that looked like this.
It was from a local brand but like this Costway Baby Playpen, it was also very colorful and had a lot of toy features.
Assembling this has some mixed reactions as some parents find it super easy while some said they took about 30 minutes to do it.
But it can be easily taken apart and stored if needed.
The size is just enough for a crawling or cruising baby, plus an adult or younger kids inside it.
It carries an ASTM certification, certifying its quality and safety for babies.
It has a non-slip rubber mat that prevents the fence from being easily moved around. Some parents even shared that their kids have started scaling the gate but it still didn’t budge or wobble.
However, that’s mainly its con – your child can hold on to the holes and start learning to climb them.
If you don’t have a climber though, that is fine. But still, be wary of your little ones turning into daredevils.
A few parents also noted that they had to buy some of its stickers and toys as they were coming off. So try to check first any of its accessories and remove anything that can become a potential choking hazard.
It has a safety lock though from the outside, to prevent the child from opening the door from the inside.
This is another excellent foldable playpen that can be used indoors or outdoors – garden, beach, park, etc.!
It’s very easy to assemble and it’s also lightweight and mobile enough.
It can be folded and stored in its provided carrying bag with strap, making it convenient to bring anywhere.
One mom even shared that she puts it up and disassembles it every day effortlessly, after every workout.
It meets ASTM standards and has a very stable and durable, high-quality material that won’t easily tip over or collapse.
Some parents shared that their little “climbers” and “jumpers” can’t knock this over, keeping them safe and sound in their “baby jail.”
It’s quite spacious to accommodate one other person – parent or sibling – with the baby.
But it’s not too large that it takes up the whole room. So if you have limited space, this would be a great playpen to have.
It also comes with a canopy and a padded floor, plus a zipper closure.
You can easily wipe it clean or throw the cover in the washing machine.
This is a wonderfully minimalistic yet large playpen that would definitely take up a lot of space in your room.
Your kids will never feel contained nor restricted in it because there’s a lot of space for them to move, even run around!
It’s made of durable and sturdy material, so it will stay in place.
Plus it has some non-slip suction cups that make it difficult to move and tip over.
Some parents said it kept their babies contained and away from their pets as well, which is very convenient.
Most of its wall is made of mesh, so you can easily see the shenanigans that your child is doing inside.
It doesn’t have a cushion though and a few parents noticed though how the bottom is raised an inch from the floor, which means it doesn’t really lay flat and could be a trip hazard.
Some parents found a way around that issue though by adding their own playmats inside the playpen.
It can be easily wiped clean plus it comes with 50 colorful balls, toys that will entertain your baby.
This playpen claims that it can work on any surface indoors or outdoors.
But with the way it’s built, I think it’s safe to keep it indoors, on a permanent spot.
It comes pre-assembled out of the box so it’s very easy to set it up.
It can also be quickly folded for storage and even travel.
It carries a CPSIA and ASTM certification and has strong connectors and anti-slip pads, making it sturdy enough for your kids to pull up on it so they can stand.
Take note though that some kids are born climbers and they can use the spaces on the walls to get out of the playpen.
So keep a lookout when your child is starting to show some interest in climbing!
Good thing it has properly spaced openings to prevent trapping your child’s legs and arms.
Plus it has a safety lock outside, to keep your baby secure inside.
It’s spacious enough to have 2 Lovevery play mats in it, with some space to spare!
It can easily be wiped clean and comes with the most adorable toy accessories such as a whiteboard, dial phone, rotating gears, abacus, and more.
6 Popular Baby Crawling Playpens
Here are more playpens that were also highly recommended by a lot of parents and experts online.
I’m not including them in my official list as I’ve seen the latest reviews and honestly, most were not that great.
But still, they have an overwhelming number of buyers so that must account for something!
FAQ: Best Crawling Playpen
Do I really need a playpen/play yard?
Yes, especially if you have no one to look after your baby.
A playpen is also helpful when you have pets, so as to contain your baby and keep them from annoying your pets. Or vice versa.
It’s also a better option to contain your baby so they can have a chance to exercise, and do tummy time, as opposed to using a baby swing, rocker, etc.
Are playpens good for babies?
Yes, they are! They can be kept contained in a safe environment plus they can be encouraged to crawl and even cruise around, especially if the playpen has a large space.
What age is a playpen suitable for?
Some would say to wait until 4 months or so but I’d recommend to get it even if you just have newborns.
Your baby can already use it for tummy time, for practicing to roll over so you can get more bang for your buck.
How long can you use a playpen?
You can use it until your toddler starts climbing out of it. After that, it will just become a safety hazard.
Can you leave a baby in a playpen?
Yes you can under the right circumstances.
If there’s no danger of them climbing over, if your pets can’t climb inside, if you will only be gone for a few minutes or if you can see them the entire time through a baby monitor, then yes, you can leave them in a playpen.
Are playpens safe?
Sturdy, durable playpens with no danger of collapsing or tipping over and have no loose threads or toys, with no things poking out are safe playpens to have.
Helpful Tips on Playpens for Babies and Toddlers
- Get it early
It would be worth it to have a playpen as early as possible, even in the newborn phase.
Your baby can start practicing their tummy time in it and eventually learn how to roll, crawl and so forth.
Some playpens are not that cheap and it could be a waste of money to get something expensive that your toddler, particularly a very curious climber, can only use for a few months.
So get a playpen as early as possible.
- Clean it like a pack ‘n play
It’s not advisable to use strong chemicals to clean it, especially if it has mesh walls.
So clean a playpen like how you’d clean a pack n play – by wiping it with a damp cloth or spot cleaning it with a baby detergent.
- Encourage independent play
Play with your kid but set a timer. Tell them you can play for 10 minutes, but after that, you need to do work or chores.
You can set an alarm or get an egg timer to give them some concept of time but in general, teach them how to play independently.
If you see them quiet and focused on activity inside their playpen, don’t interrupt or ask questions, just let them concentrate and play on their own.
- Get toys that they’ll be interested in
Another way to encourage independent play in young tots is by getting them toys that are in line with their interests.
So don’t just dump a lot of toys inside their playpen and hope they won’t disturb your zoom call within the next 2 hours.
Get them something that you know will hold their attention long enough for you to work in peace. Open-ended toys are usually your best bet in encouraging independent play in children.
- Don’t let them eat inside
Food can get anywhere inside the playpen and the last thing you want are bugs or ants appearing everywhere, while your baby is inside.
So as much as possible, let the playpen be a food-free place.
If your kids want a snack, make them sit down on a high chair.
Here are a few ideas on what to get if you’re still hesitant about playpens:
- You can also just get a regular dog gate or a baby gate! But make sure to baby proof the room your baby is going to settle in.
Takeaway on the Best Playpens for Crawling Babies
Especially if you have a very clingy baby but you need to keep your hands free to do some work or chores.
Or the very least, go to the bathroom alone without some tiny eyes looking at you!
Just remember to make the playpen enticing enough for your child by getting them age-appropriate toys, to keep them busy and entertained in their baby jail, nay, playpen.