Review: play yards for dogs and children

Take a close look at these two photos. Which one is a play yard for children? Which one is a dog enclosure?

The Superyard XT and Pet Yard XT gate enclosuresYep, you’re looking at the Superyard XT (top) and the Pet Yard XT (bottom).

When Little Miss exhibited the first signs of crawling, I went out and bought the first play pen I found, the Superyard XT (available at K-Mart and Babies R Us). I avoided port-a-cribs because they are tiny and have a cage-like feel to them.

The Superyard XT was easily set up in minutes. In those few minutes I began thinking about my purchase and wondering why I didn’t pay closer attention to the photo on the box. On a practical level, the gate is 26 inches tall, about 2 inches too
tall for me to comfortably step over it (opening the gate was even more
of a hassle). The play yard gave me a creepy feeling. On a superficial visual level it wasn’t baby-oriented. Stark. Utilitarian. Not for my child.

So I jumped on the web and looked at the manufacturer’s web site, North State Industries. They make quite a few child gates to block off hallways, doorways and such. Then I looked at their pet gates and did a double take as I noticed the Superyard XT [product page] looked remarkably similar to the Pet Yard XT [product page].

I quickly returned the play yard to the store. The clerk enjoyed a good chuckle when I explained my dissatisfaction with the product.

If I had no other option, I might have stuck with the Superyard. But, I resumed my web research and found a different play pen by another manufacturer that has turned out to be nearly perfect for our needs (sturdy, playful and sized right).

Pet Yard XT [amazon.com]

Superyard XT (for kids) [amazon.com]

After seeing the glowing customer reviews for this product at Amazon, I’ve promised myself to always read the most disgruntled, lowest rated reviews first.

Update: OK, to be fair, the Superyard does have a positive side. It folds up and is portable with a carrying handle. This would prove very useful when taking your child to a friend’s or relative’s house that hasn’t been childproofed or has an overly playful dog.

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