When you think of a pen, you think of … okay, let me be more specific… when you think of a non-writing pen you think of something an animal maybe lives in and the conditions aren’t so great. Pen is also slang for jail so there’s that, too. But when – years ago – braniacs got together and renamed the playpen…they chose to call it a playard.

Which is fine.

A yard makes you think of a big patch of land. Green grass, maybe a garden. It also refers to a measurement of three feet, but when you think playard I don’t think you think of a yardstick. The “play” part of the word tends toward the green grass, flowers, and a gentle breeze.

So, why is it that these playards are smaller than any playpen I’ve ever seen? Is it because parents demand them to be portable? Why not just call them portable cribs, then. Because I don’t know any baby that would have enough room to actually play in a playyard.

Just one of those weird things I was thinking about this morning after getting an email from Graco about playard safety. I’d also like to add, if you manage to hurt your kid on one of these – I don’t know how. One of the safety tips was to not dangle or hang cords in the playard.


But…but…where will I hang my laptop power cord when it’s not in use? *sigh* What are parents thinking. You put a baby in a crib (or a playard) and you put in one or two squishy, safe toys and you just let them play. Oh, and you check on them so they don’t, you know, die or choke or try to bounce themselves off the mesh on the sides. Or whatever kids do in one of these things.

Since I have never owned a playard I can’t really speak to their more positive aspects. Am I the only parent left that just lets my kid play on the floor?

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3 Comments on Why are Playards smaller than Playpens?

  1. My whole damn house is a playard too.

    Maybe that’s why ALL THE WALLS have crayon on them. If I just kept the little buggers locked up in baby jail my house would look WAY better.

    They’ll pay for this when they’re older … story after story of “If I’d just kept you in a playard…” LOL

    But I have heard they are great portable cribs. That makes sense. Give a marketer an opportunity. Next they’ll make an even smaller version and call it a playstadium. LOL

  2. We never had a playyard or playpen or whatever either. We did have one of the Graco Pack N Plays, and we kept it at my parents’ or took it to Florida with us when we visited OJ’s parents, and used it solely as a portable crib. I think it’s supposed to be big enough for babies to play in but I never quite saw how either. They’re TINY! Our kids have always played on the floor. My whole damn HOUSE is a playyard. LOL.

  3. I agree with your sentiment here, but I will admit that we did use a playard for limited circumstances. We used it for traveling for our son to sleep in when we couldn’t fully baby-proof a room and for times when it wasn’t safe for him to have unlimited access to our house (i.e., when I was pulling something hot out of the oven and there was no one else around to watch him). I agree with your general point, though. It’s the same reason why we did not use a crib.

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