Long gone are the days where ball pits were just something you found at soft play. Now you can have a ball pit right in the centre of your own home!
Not only are ball pits good for babies and toddlers, but they’re also a great way to develop a child’s fine motor skills.
Ball pits allow younger children to throw balls and practice their hand-eye coordination through catching.
They’re also great for social skills such as sharing if playing with other children.
Finding the best ball pits will produce fun for years to come, so it’s important when you select one that you go for one that is high quality and sturdy.
With many ball pits available to purchase on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are safe for babies and which ones are designed for older children.
If you’re thinking about whether to take the plunge and invest in a baby ball pit, here’s what to know before buying and how to use one safely so that both you and your baby can enjoy plenty of ball pool play.
Inflatable ball pit dangers
While inflatable ball pits provide hours of fun for younger toddlers it’s important to remember that children should be supervised at all times and shouldn’t be left unattended.
Whilst you’re juggling childcare, it can be tempting to leave your child in the ball pit, after all they are loving throwing many balls around the living room and they look safe but your child should never be left alone in a ball pit, no matter how safe they may seem.
Unfortunately, babies can slip down in a ball pit and suffocate when left unattended so it’s always advised to supervise your child whilst they’re playing in a ball pit.
Ball pit safety tips
If you do decide to invest in a ball pit, you need to ensure you’re taking the proper precautions.
How many balls are in your ball pit?
Babies need less amount of balls in their ball pit than toddlers do. It’s important not to fill the ball pit too deep with balls to the point where your baby begins to struggle.
It is generally recommended that when you fill up the ball pit with balls that it reaches your child’s waist. Any more than this and it becomes a safety hazard. As they grow, you can add more balls to their pit.
What material is your ball pit made from?
Before buying a ball pit for your little one, you want to think about the materials it’s made from. Is it durable? Will it be easy to clean? Ball pits can be a breeding ground for bacteria so it’s important that they are easy to clean – the last thing you want is for your little one to get sick.
What condition are the balls in?
Before allowing your child to play in a public ball pit, do a visual check of the balls inside. If the balls look really dirty or the ball pit smells stale, it’s not a wise idea to let your baby play in there.
Is the ball pit age appropriate for your child?
Ensuring the ball pit is age appropriate for your baby is important, so before you head to your local jungle gym or bounce house consider whether or not they have an area for your baby to play.
Does your ball pool comply with safety standards?
If you have a ball pit at home or are considering purchasing one for your little one to play in, check whether or not it complies with the current European safety standards (EN1177).
Ball pits that don’t comply to this safety standard should be disposed of as they pose a risk for your child.
What age is a home ball pit suitable for?
Children under the age of 10 months old shouldn’t use most ball pits, especially public ball pits as these are deeper and used by lots of children. Home ball pits, on the other hand, are more flexible and can be used by younger children as you can regulate the amount of balls in the ball pit area.
Toddlers as young as 6-8 months old can use a home ball pit with your supervision.
Are ball pits safe for my baby?
In short, yes. Ball pits are generally safe for your baby to play in. And, although home ball pits are considered safer than larger ball pits in soft play centres, ball pits are only considered truly safe under parental supervision and for safety reasons babies and toddlers should not be left unattended (no matter how happy and safe they may look).
When used under adult supervision ball pit play can be a great and fun experience for your child.
But you should be mindful when purchasing a ball pit for your baby and check reviews and manufacturers guidance and avoid making costly mistakes by following the guidelines.
Should I buy a ball pit for my baby?
Although a baby ball pit isn’t considered an essential purchase, it can be a great one as it can provide your child with hours of fun and help theme develop their gross motor skill level and social skills as they learn to share with other kids and older siblings.