CHOICE safety tests: 13 out of 26 playpens pose 'significant risks' to children

13 of the 26 playpens tested by CHOICE, were deemed too dangerous to use.
13 of the 26 playpens tested by CHOICE, were deemed too dangerous to use. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Playpens are theoretically supposed to be a safe place to put a mobile baby or toddler while a supervising adult takes a breather, or gets a few jobs done.

However the latest CHOICE tests have shown that instead of providing a momentary safe haven, parents are possibly putting their children in danger.

Of 26 models tested, an astonishing 13 were found to 'pose significant risks' to children.

"Several playpens we bought online got zero for performance simply because they had so many fails," says Kim Gilmour, CHOICE's team leader for household products. 

The worrying findings should compel parents to check the make and model of their playpen, and to cease use immediately should they be one of the models on the following list.

The failed products were or are still available from retailers such as Kogan, Amazon and eBay. Amazon Australia has since removed the Gupamiga - Safety Playpen 14 Panels Multiple Classic since being notified by CHOICE.

In previous years, the following playpens – which are still on sale – also failed to pass key safety requirements:

"If you've bought one of these playpens, CHOICE recommends that you discontinue use and seek a refund from the retailer," says Gilmour.

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"There's no Australian standard for playpens, so CHOICE testing is based on standards for other relevant products as well as international standards. Retailers and buy, swap, sell platforms should remove these products," she continued.  

"We're pleased to see Amazon has recognised CHOICE's testing and removed one of these products from sale but more action is needed. All retailers should stop selling unsafe playpens. Parents need to watch out for unsafe playpens that may still be available at other retailers or sold second hand."

And if you didn't know that Australia has no safety standards for playpens, then you do now, so it pays to do your research before purchasing.

CHOICE testing expert Kim Gilmour.

CHOICE testing expert Kim Gilmour. Photo: Supplied

What are the dangers?

"Common failures include head and/or limb entrapment in gaps and openings, strangulation risks if clothing is caught at various gaps or posts, footholds which could cause a child to escape, and inadequate structural integrity," the report states.

Ensure you read CHOICE's full report, including manufacturer responses to the findings about their products - some have already taken action, while others are yet to respond.

You can also sign a petition using that link, to demand the standards are changed.

In the market for a playpen and want to ensure it's the safest on the market? See CHOICE's playpen buying guide.

What are the recommended playpens?

There are currently only two playpens recommended by CHOICE - the Kmart Anko 3 in 1 Playpen 42193715 and Dreambaby Royale Converta 3-in-1.

Although, 11 other playpen models passed CHOICE's key safety tests and should not pose a significant risk. Read the full reviews here.

Australia has no safety standards for playpens, which means it's imperative to do your research before purchasing.

CHOICE is continuing calls for a General Safety Provision - a law that puts the onus on manufacturers and retailers to ensure products they sell are safe before they hit store shelves and online platforms.

Australians can join the call for better product safety laws at: CHOICE.com.au/ProductSafety