Play it safe

Parents and relatives are concerned about the safety of children, especially if they are babies. Mothers have constant doubts and fears over their children's safety. Thus, toys need to be purchased after careful consideration.
As a baby wants to bite and grab everything that comes his way, parents should take special care when they go shopping. It is especially important to monitor children's play. "During the first year, the baby takes everything, including toys, in his mouth and nibbles on them, which also serves to massage the gums," said a study by the Association for the Promotion of Child Safety (APSI) in Portugal.
If the child is irritable by nature, he needs toys that constantly stimulate him. Playpens and children's gyms allow babies and small children to explore their surroundings safely. They make life easier for mothers because they allow the execution of important day-to-day tasks without interruption. The mother can cook while the baby is playing, and watch him at the same time.
How to choose a playpen
As with other toys, choosing the right playpen is essential. It should be appropriate for the intended age group. Note the minimum safety requirements carefully. Always read the warnings and instructions and, if possible, remove the playground from the packaging to examine it thoroughly.
In Portugal, all manufacturers need to follow EU directives for the marketing of toys and baby products. This is known as the CE mark. It must be clearly visible on the toy or its packaging before it is introduced in the market. It should also include the manufacturer's name, business name, brand name and the address of the manufacturer, dealer or importer.
When to use a playpen
The use of a playpen is recommended from the time a child begins to explore the world around him. "Although the baby does not start moving all of a sudden, prepare the house for what can happen when he eventually does. Something untoward can happen when you least expect it," the study said.
Since the floor is not the safest place for playing, a children's gym is the best alternative. The playpen should be used in specific situations, such as when the supervising adult is bathing or cooking. In case of the latter, it is recommended that you place the playpen in the kitchen to see what the child is doing, and to keep track of his activities. A major advantage of a playpen is that it can be moved easily.
However, some safety regulations should be followed. If your baby is often alone with an adult, you should choose a sufficiently large playpen so the child can move freely. Use it only for small periods of time. Also check the method of assembly and the mechanism of opening/closing the pen.
Do not put toys that may harm the child, or others used for climbing or stacking, in the playpen. Last but not the least, do not put the playpen near objects that can be pulled or accessed by children, such as wires or lamps. The playground can be unsafe if parents are not attentive.

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