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.
- Baby Care - Baby Play Pen
- Cuddly Baby - Plastic Baby Playpen
- Gupamiga - Safety Playpen 14 Panels Multiple Classic
- Komodo - Indoor Outdoor Kids Playpen Instant Set Up
- Nanny Annie - Interactive Block Style Baby Playpen with Door
- Tobbi - Playpen with 8 panels and gate
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:
- ABST Bubble Playpen 18+2 ABST-BL20 (tested 2019)
- ABST Running Bear 14+2 AOLE-BBX16 (tested 2019)
- Jolly Kidz Versatile Playpen HPP005/155027 (tested 2019)
- Nanny Annie Happy Panel Plastic Playpen (tested 2019)
- TikkTokk Little Boss Playpen Hex LBPP11w (tested 2019)
- TikkTokk Little Boss Playpen Square LBPP01w (tested 2019)
- TikkTokk Pokano Fabric Hex POK11c (tested 2016)
"If you've bought one of these playpens, CHOICE recommends that you discontinue use and seek a refund from the retailer," says Gilmour.
"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.
6 new playpens fail CHOICE tests. Our latest playpen reviews reveal that far from being a secure spot for your little ones, many of the products in this category pose significant risks. More details and the full list of playpens that failed here: https://t.co/AZaeJw46MS pic.twitter.com/ll4oHMJEwG— CHOICE (@choiceaustralia) January 18, 2021
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?
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