Updated on October 16, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Having a space where your baby can play is important both for their safety and for your peace of mind. Knowing that your child will have an area where you can put them while you take a quick shower or cook dinner is essential. Plus, it keeps all their toys nearby, so they will stay entertained for a little while. It’s easy to create this space with a play fence.
I’ve come up with a list of the 7 best baby play fences to help you decide which one will work for your household, so that you can feel confident in the choice you’ve made.
The Best Baby Play Fences
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: This fence gives your child a 18.5 square feet space to play. It comes in all gray or in rainbow colored panels. You can also purchase 2 extra panels for this fence if you want to make it bigger. The best thing about this fence is that it has reversible legs. One side has an anti-movement, non-scratch pad for indoor use and the other side has a stake to secure it to your lawn. This means that it works great in the backyard or at the park, as well as in your house. It folds up easily for storage when not in use and has a handle to make it easier to carry around.
Keep in mind: This is just a plain fence, so it doesn’t have anything that will entertain your child.
Good for: Parents that want a fence they can use both indoors and outdoors.
(Most fun — $$$)
Why it’s great: This fence is really cute and comes with different color panels. Each panel has a little bear face on it to attract your child’s attention. There’s also a larger panel that has all kinds of sensory toys for your child to play with. There are knobs to turn, beads to move, buttons to push, and things to spin. Plus, everything is brightly colored. This fence also has a door panel that makes it easy to get in and out without having to step over the panels. It’s also a great size with 26 square feet of space.
Keep in mind: This one doesn’t have the option to buy any extra panels.
Good for: Parents who want a fence that can also supply some entertainment for their child.
(Most convenient — $$)
Why it’s great: This fence gives your child plenty of space to play with 34.4 square feet. It comes in sky blue, sand, or rainbow panels, so you can pick the one that suits your family the best. There are non-slip pads on the bottom, which keeps it from sliding on your floors and it folds up quickly and easily. It also has a handle, so it’s convenient and easy to move to different rooms of the house. You can also purchase extra panels and an ABC playmat that matches and fits perfectly inside the fence.
Keep in mind: There’s no door for this fence, but it is lower than most, so it’s easy to step over it.
Good for: Parents who want a fence that’s easy to fold up and move.
(Most versatile — $$)
Why it’s great:The fence has 8 panels and is easy to change the shape. You can make it into a square or an octagon. It also comes with wall mounts, so you could use this to block off an entire room or have it arch around your fireplace. It is 28” tall, but it comes with a door, so you don’t have to worry about trying to step over it. The only available color this comes in is white, which pretty much matches any decor. It is made out of steel and is very strong and durable as well.
Keep in mind: It’s a little harder to move around because of its size and length. It folds up, but not as compact as some of the others.
Good for: Parents who may want a playard for their baby, but might want to convert to blocking off a room as their child gets older.
(Most adjustable — $$$)
Why it’s great: This is an extra large play fence with 14 panels. The panels are easy to fold and adjust, so you can make the playpen in multiple different shapes from square to circular. The edges are rounded, so there are no hard surfaces for your child to bump into or get hurt. It has a couple cute, turning toys that will entertain your child. Plus, it has a door, which makes it easy to get in and out. There are also non-slip feet on the bottom, so it will stay in place wherever you put it. It’s only 23” tall, so your child will be able to hang on to the top, which will help them balance when they’re learning to walk.
Keep in mind: Because this fence is shorter, it may not keep your child contained as they get older.
Good for: Parents that want to be able to adjust the shape of their fence as needed.
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This one is actually tiles that can be attached to each other to form a play mat. The edge pieces can be attached vertically to create a fence around the mat. The playmat is soft and has a fun design, which promotes tummy time, crawling, and eventually walking. It is easy to take apart and put back together and you can attach the tiles in any design that you like. The super cute design will attract your child and would look great in any nursery.
Keep in mind: While this does create a fenced-in area for your child, it is very short and flexible, so it won’t keep your child contained once they start being able to walk and climb.
Good for: Parents that don’t want a whole fence or playpen, but might occasionally need an area for their baby to play safely.
(Best portable — $$)
Why it’s great: This is a portable playard that folds up compactly and has a case with a handle so you can take it with you wherever you go. It is lightweight, which also makes it easy to carry around. It creates a safe space for your baby when you’re visiting relatives or friends, at the park, or anywhere else you might want to go. You can also buy a canopy or half-canopy that hooks onto this playard to help keep your child in the shade when you’re outside. Your child will get 12 square feet of space in this playard and the sides are high enough to easily keep your child contained.
Keep in mind: This is a playard, so it’s a smaller area than you would get with a true fence system.
Good for: Parents that just want somewhere they can put their child when they’re out and about.
FAQs about play fences
1. Where do I put a play fence?
This will depend on what you’re using the fence for. Are you looking for somewhere to put your child while you get household chores done? If so, anywhere in the house where it will fit works. It’s best if you can keep it somewhere that you’ll be able to keep an eye on your child or at least within hearing distance. They can also be used outdoors in the backyard and some are made so that you can take them anywhere.
2. What kind of material is best?
Play fences are made of a variety of different materials from steel to plastic to mesh. The type of material is not really important as one is not better than the other. They serve different purposes though, so you’ll want to pick the material that works best for your family. The fences made of steel are nice and sturdy and meant to keep your child contained. Plastic fences are usually a little lower and will also let your child use them to balance when they learn to walk or chew on them when they’re teething. Mesh fences fold up compactly and are lighter to carry around, so they’re usually more portable fences.
3. What is a good size area to have?
This will also depend on what you want to use the area for. Is it just a safe place you can put your child while you quickly shower? A smaller area is probably fine. If it’s a place where you will regularly put your child to play, you will want a bigger area so they have some space for toys and exploration. The size really doesn’t matter too much.
4. How long do I use a play fence?
This is really up to you. Most play fences are good for ages 3-24 months, but you can use them longer depending on your child. The only concern with using them past that age is that your child might figure out how to get out. Climbing could be a danger, as well as tipping over as your child gets stronger. Other than that, you can use the fence for as long as you feel you need that safe space to keep your child contained.
5. What are the safety concerns with play fences?
Play fences are generally pretty safe. The things you want to watch out for are sharp edges, areas where your child could get an arm or leg stuck, or the attachments that could potentially pinch little fingers. Usually, fences are specifically made so that these things aren’t a problem but read the reviews ahead of time to find out. Also, make sure your fence is completely stable and strong enough to contain your child. They could get hurt if they were to knock the fence over. Always try to supervise your child when they’re in the play fence, or at least check on them often, and you should be fine.
As new or recurring parents, it’s important to have a place where you feel confident that your child will be safe while you’re getting household chores or other things done. Play fences will keep your child contained, while also providing a fun space for your child to safely explore and play with their toys.
Think about where you’ll want to use your play fence and what features that you’d like ahead of time and you’ll have no problem choosing the fence that works best for your family.