What's the difference?

I would suspect that it has different origins, but playpen can be found in both the us-/en english dictionaries. And it's a bit hard to search for baby box :)

  • Why is it a bit hard to search for baby box? – J.R. Mar 27 '14 at 8:59
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    Because it does not show up in US/British dictionaries because it is not an English idiom for a playpen – mplungjan Mar 27 '14 at 9:07
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    That's kind of what I was driving at. Not being able to find results means that it's not in use – not that it's hard to search for. – J.R. Mar 27 '14 at 9:18

The most used word in English is playpen


A playpen is a piece of furniture in which an infant or young toddler is placed to prevent self-harm when her/his parent or guardian is occupied or away. The earliest use of the word "playpen" cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is 1902.


a portable usually collapsible enclosure in which a baby or young child may play — called also play yard

Note: The latter seems to a new word for playpen.

If you search for playpen or play yard you get the same images

If you search for baby box, you will get a few playpens, from Holland or Indonesia

If you search amazon.com, you will find playpen and playard or Play Yard.

If you search amazon.co.uk you will find playpen only (or playards from the US).

If you search for baby box at those two sites, you will find boxes for nappies or wet napkins.

Google nGram of playpen,play yard,baby box Playpen vs play yard vs baby box

Just for completeness sake:

A box is the Dutch word for a playpen.

If I search for box and playpen at Marktplaats:

  • Kinderen en Baby's ▶ Boxen ▶ 8.007 resultaten voor 'box'
  • Kinderen en Baby's ▶ Boxen ▶ 23 resultaten voor 'playpen'
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    Playpen is the word in the U.S., too. I've not heard of "baby box" before today. – J.R. Mar 27 '14 at 8:57
  • It is the word used in Holland for a playpen: Kinderen en Baby's ▶ Boxen ▶ 8.007 resultaten voor 'box' vs Kinderen en Baby's ▶ Boxen ▶ 23 resultaten voor 'playpen' – mplungjan Mar 27 '14 at 8:59
  • Makes sense to me. You could put twins in there, and call it a baby boxing ring. – J.R. Mar 27 '14 at 9:01
  • Haha. Seems popular to post youtube vids of small kids performing martial arts – mplungjan Mar 27 '14 at 9:01
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    I rather like the idea of a 'baby box'. It is just what is needed, something to put the grandchildren in and close the lid until one feels in the mood for them again! – WS2 Mar 27 '14 at 10:02

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