Lindam safe and secure playpen review
*stand by. It’s a LONG one*
Well. When the playpen arrived, I have to be honest and admit that my heart sank a little.
Not only was it really big, it was monstrously heavy. The whole point of this play pen is that it is versatile, and from the outside, it wasn’t feeling that way.
However, a review isn’t a review round here without living with the product for a while, so I coerced the man of the house to help me unpack it.
Once out of the box, the whole thing started to make a lot more sense. The clever concertina design of the panels is nothing short of genius – one glance told me just how flexible that would be. The size surprised me too – it’s MUCH bigger than I expected.
Playpens were all the rage in our parents day, but seem to be bit out-of-favour with modern Mums. I, too, have been guilty of a slight dislike of the caged-animal look, preferring my children to be able to explore at their leisure.
This particular play pen is different though. Its not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum play pen.
It’s far more contemporary and multi-tasking than that.
First off, though, we set it up as a traditional hexagonal playpen. Instant hit with the older boys. Pink was promptly taken out so that her big brothers could get in and sprawl in peace on the remarkably cushioned and warm hexagonal floor mat that comes with it. It appears my caged-animal prejudice is not shared by my boys, who’s favourite game since the arrival of the playpen in the house has been ‘Zoo’s', vying with each other for the pleasure of being the caged and dangerous tiger/leopard/bear/gorilla/tortoise (Jolly and his Bilibo make a VERY dangerous tortoise).
For a few days the pen lived in the open-plan kitchen/playroom, and I have to say that Pink was plopped in it far more often than I ever dreamed she would be. Having a permanently safe, easy-access space, with toys added, available at any time the phone rings, doorbell goes, toilet calls or dinner needs cooking is actually unbelievably useful.
Now, I’m a bit of a tidy-room freak, and like to clear the floors at the end of the day. I really wasn’t sure about the floorspace being occupied by such a large pen, lovely though it is. But then I discovered Neat Trick Number Two.
Pop open any of the joints (SO simple and quick to do), and then the whole thing just concertinas together and folds away uber-neatly. Problem solved, and floor-happiness was restored.
The mat is equipped with ties to attach to the sides if you want to leave it up for extended periods, but just flopping it inside on a daily basis worked perfectly for us, and meant the fold up process was really simple.
The next task we had for this clever little pen (see? I’m growing to like it now) was to act as a room divider.
Now before we started attaching things to the walls, we wanted to see where we needed it to be used. Round the fire was an obvious choice, but where else? Our home office, where we spend vast quantities of the day, is upstairs, with no actual doors on it – this would be a good plan, but how would it work? And what about dividing the kitchen from the playroom, a wide arch, the bridging of which defeats any stairgate?
So for a couple of days, we moved the pen around with us. Not as a pen, but as a fold-out room divider.
I have to say that it IS heavy, but not unmanageable, and that heaviness is created by the really sturdy build quality, something I wouldn’t want to trade.
In the office the ‘pen’ is long enough to not only block the stairs, but the office too, allowing her a large, safe portion of the upstairs to roam freely as we work, without getting her fingers in filing cabinets and piles of paperwork.
Downstairs, we found the best thing was to divide the playroom at an angle – this meant that older boys could draw in peace without Ella eating the pens and chewing the paper (see image). Oh, and it laughs in the face of the kitchen archway, handling it with ease.
Once we knew where it would work best for us, setting up the wall fixings was simple, which makes it really secure against even bigger boys, let alone vaguely-trying-to-stand babies.
Plus, when we need to, we can simply remove one of the panels and we have a ready-made stairgate for top or bottom of the stairs, and maybe for her bedroom door.
The gate mechanism itself is strong and secure, not so easy that a toddler can manage it, but not so tricky you end up trying to leap over rather than battle it – and easy to operate one-handed, which as any professional parent knows is essential.
So. All that from one ‘playpen’.
How’s THAT for useful?