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babyeinstein.com Walk down the aisles of any toy store, and chances are you’ll see an assortment of claims on the boxes. Some products say they'll teach babies about phonetics and reading. Some toys claim to help children develop math and problem-solving skills. But researchers say many claims are just that.
I can't honestly say I remember physically being in a playpen as a child—though I was—but I remember them as a fact of 1970s child life, a rubber-and-mesh piece of living room furniture as ubiquitous as mahogany-cabinet-enclosed Magnavox televisions (with family photos crowded out by a giant Betamax on top). But as the clock ticked toward my recent entry into fatherhood and I trawled various hip and modern baby-product sites, mentally equipping our nursery-to-be, I noticed that among all the titanium-framed Norwegian strollers and German educational toys (or was it vice-versa?), I didn't seem to see any playpens —whether rendered in sustainably sourced wenge wood or not. The word didn't really seem to surface very much among all the proper parenting discourse on the chat sites either. Which left me wondering: Do parents still use playpens?
About this Author Gwen Smith Ishmael , Sr. Vice President of Insights and Innovation at Decision Analyst in Arlington, TX, has led marketing and new product development activities in the CPG and technology industries since 1986.