Protect Twins with a Play Yard

Are play yards useful baby equipment for twins and multiples?

Play Yard for Twins
Play Yard for Twins. Photo courtesy of

Playpens have long been a staple piece of baby equipment. They provide a secure, contained area for babies to play or sleep. But are they useful for families with twins or multiples?

Concerns about playpen safety have arisen over the years. Many of the reported injuries occur when children fall while climbing out of the playpen. Incidences of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or crib death have also occurred in playpens.

Additionally, they proved unpopular with parents who saw them as confining or restrictive, holding tanks for people who were too busy to properly care for children.

But for families with multiples, who are juggling the needs of two or more babies at the same time, a secured space is a necessity. They can’t continually hold two babies throughout the day. With only two hands, they need a safe place to hold one baby, for example, while changing the diaper of the other.

But traditional playpens just aren’t built to hold two babies. Although a portable playpen, such as the Graco Pack ‘n Play (compare prices), is a handy piece of baby equipment, it’s not going to accommodate two babies. With a recommended weight limit of thirty pounds, two babies will quickly outgrow it.

As an alternative, parents of multiples might consider a play yard. Over the years, the term playpen has shifted to play yard.

(Perhaps the idea of a pen was too closely associated with confining animals.) But the type of play yard that I am referring to is constructed of a series of panels. These play yards can be connected to create a gated enclosure. The North States SuperYard XT Safety Gate (compare prices), for example, is sold as a set of six panels and can be formed into a hexagonal shape encompassing eighteen square feet.

But additional panels, sold separately, can be used to enlarge the play yard into an octagonal shape, giving more space. Another product is the Summer Infant Secure Surround Play Safe Play Yard (compare prices) which is sold as a set of eight panels and features a walk-through gate.

Play yards may be constructed with panels made from wood, metal or plastic. Consider a product with extra-high panels (they range from 26” to 30” high). Higher panels will extend the life of your play yard, making it more difficult for older babies to climb out.

The play yard can be used indoors or outdoors. Unlike playpens, they don’t have a floor so they must be set up on a flat surface. Most will work on low pile carpet, but use care when setting up on thick rugs. When using a play yard in your home, be creative in finding ways to set it up. Sometimes it is most effective when used to keep twins or multiples in. But it is also useful for keeping them out. We set up our play yard around the base of our Christmas tree to keep curious toddlers from pulling it over or breaking the ornaments. We let them decorate the panels by hanging nonbreakable ornaments around the rails using toy clips and links (compare prices).

Play yards can be an expensive investment, and sometimes difficult to find. But, they’re often available second hand, especially from other families with multiples. Check online outlets such as Craigslist, and don’t forget to shop the sales sponsored by local parents of multiples clubs. Often, play yards are passed from family to family, as multiples outgrown the need for it.

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