Key features of the Summer Infant Pop N Play Ultimate portable playpen:
Age suitability: 6 months until 2 years
Maximum height of child: 87.5cm
Weight: 6.4 kg
Features: Folds into travel bag; sun canopy; removable padded mat
Total cost: £89.99 – Includes play pen, padded mat and sun canopy
Summer Infant was founded in 1985 when a dad was simply looking for a safe place to put his daughter, Summer. The company started with a baby bouncer and now has a whole range of baby essentials.
Summer Infant prides itself on developing safe yet innovative products that are designed to last.
The Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Ultimate is the brand’s new and improved foldable playpen which now includes a full sun canopy and a removable padded mat.
Compared with similar products on the market — such as the Hauck Baby Park (£89), it is very lightweight while remaining spacious. This freestanding playpen can be used indoors and outdoors and moved very easily between the two.
Having cheeky and playful six month old boy/girl twins, I was very excited to put the Pop N’ Play to the test. They have recently started rolling and trying to sit up so it’s the perfect time to introduce a playpen to their daily routine. Until recently I was safe in the knowledge that the twins would be exactly where I left them when cooking, cleaning, and showering. Now this is all about to change, and a safe and fun, but restricted environment for one or both babies is required.
I put it through its paces at home, on the balcony, and the local park (including to the annual twins summer party).
I loved that I was able to place them in a secured space of their own, yet to them it was a fun play area that they could still see through and not feel caged in. The water resistant base makes it great for using outdoors on damp grass
Buy the Summer Infant Pop N Play Ultimate Playpen from Amazon.
How easy is it to build?
Very easy. Thankfully there was no building required. Normally I would rely on my husband to put things like this together, so it was a relief that it came fully assembled and was ready to use straight from the box.
There is a pocket on the outside of the playpen to safely store the instructions for reference. It is worth reading the instructions for the safety warnings but I found the assembly to be self explanatory.
Is it heavy? What do you think of the weight?
It is relatively light. At 6.4 kg, it is lighter than each of my babies.
I walked almost one mile to my local park with it on my shoulder, while pushing the tandem buggy and all of the other paraphernalia associated with not one, but two babies. The weight for me wasn’t an issue at all, however I did find the strap quickly became uncomfortable due to it being very thin. A thicker, and padded moveable section to the strap would have made the world of difference. After adding some makeshift padding it was fine
Is it portable?
Yes. This was one of the things I liked most about the playpen. It folds down very small and comes with a travel bag for easy portability. As we live in a flat with limited space, it was great to be able to pop it out when it was needed and then store it away in the cupboard after.
We also have a balcony and it was nice to be able to take the twins outside and know that they were safe to play. Like most Londoners, our garden is the local park so it provided a safe place for them to roll around without having the stress of protecting them from every curious dog out for its daily walk.
Does the sun canopy protect from the sun and the rain?
Not entirely. The sun canopy blocks 98% of UV rays but this only worked if the sun was high. Low sunlight was able to get through the sides of the playpen and only half of the playpen would be protected. The canopy is not waterproof and does not protect from the rain. It also states that it not safe to be used in windy conditions.
Is it big enough for twins?
Yes. It is 14sq ft which is more than adequate for my twins and several toys. They aren’t quite sitting up on their own yet so both rolling around on the floor.
It is more spacious than most portable play pens or travel cots and having the hexagonal shape and 6 sides to it allowed it to be spacious without taking up too much room within the home. The bottom of the playpen also sits directly on the floor which means that there is no weight limit. This is ideal for twins as they will only outgrow it once the reach the 87.5cm height restriction.
Can you leave children unattended?
It states in the instructions that children should not be left unattended. My two are at the awkward trying to sit up and falling backwards stage, so the metal cross bars could be hazardous to their heads if they fell back onto one of them.
Once they can comfortably sit unaided it may be possible to leave them unattended for short periods in order to get the housework done or have a quick shower. For older children who may be good climbers, it could be possible to use the metal cross bars to escape if the mesh is not securely tightened using the straps. It doubles up well as a comfortable napping area.
Are the fastenings childproof?
The straps on each corner that tighten and secure the mesh to the frame, also stabilise it. The straps are quite stiff so a child wouldn’t be able to loosen them and they are adjustable so that they can be tightened if they loosen over time.
There is also no door to the playpen, so I had to bend over it to get the twins in/out. This isn’t so great if you have a bad back, however I found it no more difficult than getting them in/out of their cot.
Does it have any screws or attachments?
There are no screws or attachments required to assemble to playpen. It is ready to pop up straight from the bag.
The padded mat and canopy are optional attachments and are very easy to attach. There is strong velcro on each corner to secure the mat to the base.
The fact that is removable is great for cleaning as my little ones are both frequent vomiters. The sun canopy can be easily attached by a simple clip on each corner.
It is secure enough that a small child wouldn’t be able to loosen it but it is very easy to attach/detach as required. It also has the option of unzipping it and fastening with toggles for optimal airflow and accessing the babies without removing it.
Is it easy to operate, can you open and close with one hand?
It is extremely easy to operate. As it is already put together, you can take it straight from the bag and it is ready to use. I had to use two hands to open it and pull over the corner straps but the whole process of assembling and then dismantling took me under 5 minutes.
Is it still sturdy if your little ones push and pull on it when inside?
Yes. My little ones are too small at the moment to push and pull on the sides so to be able to test this, I took it to my local twins club to further test on some older twins.
I had a couple of 10 month old energetic twins play inside and the play pen proved to be strong. There are sturdier playpens on the market, such as the robust but not portable Jolly Kidz range, however for a portable playpen it is excellent. The only worry I would have is that the mesh could catch and rip on the metal screws over time.
Can it be stored compactly?
Very. If stored in its box, it takes up about as much room as my vacuum cleaner. I was able to easily store it away after every use without hassle.
How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?
The padded mat made rolling around nice and soft for my little ones, and the mesh sides allowed for optimal airflow and visibility so that they didn’t feel like they were confined.
Is it safe for your little ones?
Yes, as long as they are supervised at developmental stages where they may be more prone to falling over/backwards.
The Summer Infant Pop n’ Play is a lightweight and compact portable playpen that is a comfortable and protective play area great both indoors and outdoors. I would recommend it to anyone who is limited on both play space, and for those who would like to take it to the park/beach.
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