Babies love to spend time on the floor. This is where they can get creative, play with toys and practice their gross motor skills. Research shows that tummy time in particular helps in strengthening the muscles in your baby’s arms, legs, neck and back; it contributes significantly to your little one's mental and physical development.
With all the time your little one will be spending on the floor, you have to make sure that he has a safe and clean place to play. That’s where baby play mats come in! Here are a few key factors you should take into consideration before deciding which one to get.
How To Choose A Non Toxic Baby Play Mat
The number one priority for parents is to keep a baby safe. The size of the play mat is important – you don’t want your baby knocking that precious head on the hard floor while practicing rolling!
Ideally it should be a spacious mat that allows ample room for your little one to roll around and eventually crawl on. However you will need to take into consideration how much space you have in your house.
It’s preferable if the play mat is lightweight and portable. That way you can easily shift it around to whichever room your baby is playing in (as you already might know, babies don’t like to stay put in one room!)
Thickness And Cushioning
The entire point of the play mat is to provide a soft and well cushioned space that protects your baby from the hard floor surface. Regardless of what material the mat is made from, it should be thick enough to cushion the baby’s fall.
Try to look for a play mat that has a non-slip surface which helps give your baby a firm grip while crawling. It should also be well padded so as to protect the baby’s wrist, head and knees against possible injury.
Easy To Clean
You can be sure that your baby’s play mat will be enduring its fair share of spills and leeks. It should ideally be waterproof and easy to clean/wipe down. Have a look at these tips on how to keep your baby's play mats squeaky clean.
A lot of the play mats out there are made from PVC which may contains phthalates. This in turn contains toxic amounts of formamide. Why should you be worried about this? These substances may be harmful for your little ones and can cause several serious health problems such as hormonal imbalances and reproductive disorders. There are maximum requirements for the amount of phthalates allowed in the US and Europe, but not necessarily in China or other emerging countries.
Research carried out by experts who assessed the substances in these mats recommend that parents should minimize the exposure babies have to formamide in puzzle mats.
The good news? A lot of companies make non-toxic play mats, so you still have plenty of options to choose from.
Ideally the play mat you get for your baby should have all the qualities described above. To help you out we’ve put together a list of great non toxic play mats.
- Non-toxic – BPA-free, lead-free and hypoallergenic made from TPU foam
- Easy to clean – the waterproof surface can be easily cleaned
- Premium designs look like normal rugs
- Multipurpose – can be used as a living room rug, play mat or yoga mat
- Vacuuming on surface may damage the mat
- Might leave impressions if heavy furniture is put on top of the mat
- Marks from pens might not come off
One of the features customers like about this mat is that it is designed to look like an area rug. The colors and designs do not standout like a nursery item, but instead compliment the décor of your home. Once your kids have grown out of the play mat age, you can simply use it in the living room as a stylish rug.
Made from non-toxic TPU foam without latex, BPA, formaldehyde, PVC, EVA, or flame retardant, the mats are soft and provide half an inch of cushioning for your little one. Because it is in a single piece, it doesn’t allow for liquids to seep through the seams; you no longer need to worry about your floors getting stained! It also does not trap pet hair and dust.
Cleaning can be completed with a quick wipe. Roomba vacuums are ok, though remember not to let a vacuum idle on the mat. The mat is reversible in case one side is accidentally damaged.
The mats have been designed to take the best features of rugs and foam mats and combine them into one. It is large in size (6.5 x 4.5 ft x .5 in), has plush cushioning and is super easy to clean.
The play mat is made from PVC. According to the manufacturer it's an eco-friendly PVC used in medical equipment, toys, and households, free of phthalates, BPA, formaldehyde, and heavy metals including lead and mercury. Toxins in the materials are removed by I&S toxic removal technology and these mats pass regulations and standards in the US and EU, and Australia. The manufacturer provides test reports.
Each play mat is one sheet that comes in the following sizes: Large: 82.7 x 55.1 x 0.5 inches Medium: 72.8 x 49.2 x 0.4 inches
These mats are Korean made and are non slip.
- Free from EVA, PVC, BPA, formamide, fire retardants, and rigorously tested
- Very thick (1.6 inches)– provides great cushioning for active babies
- Waterproof – very easy to wipe down and clean in seconds
- Lightweight, foldable, easy to store and stands up on its own
- Price is on the higher side
- Leather cover might get stained with oil based pens/colors that will be difficult to remove
- If something heavy is left on mat it might leave impressions on the leather cover
If you’re looking for a non-toxic play mat for your baby that provides great cushioning, is portable and easy to clean, this one is it! Made in South Korea the mat combines all the features parents are looking for in a single mat.
The material used is food grade, low-density polyethylene foam which is used for food packaging. 10 thin layers of foam are laminated using chemical free adhesive, completely recyclable after use. The polyurethane leaver cover is certified by the USDA as a biobased product, which has reduced carbon dioxide emissions during the manufacturing process. The materials used in making the mat have been rigorously tested and the reports have even been published on the company’s website.
With impeccable stitching and zippers neatly tucked away under the tabs, this mat boasts a very high quality with great finishing. It’s exceptionally thick and the faux leather cover is smooth and soft.
The mat comes in soft pastel colors that look great in your little one’s bedroom. Despite its thickness and size it’s surprisingly lightweight and super easy to move around and store.
Several sizes can be found on the store site.
- Free from EVA, PVC, TPE, phthalates or any other toxic material
- Can be rolled up for easy storage
- Lightweight and portable, like yoga mat
- Easy to wipe down and clean
- Initially gives off a rubber smell
- Thin playmat (5 mm) which might not be suitable for very hard floors
- Dirt can stick to the mat
Manufactured in Taiwan using 100% non-rainforest natural rubber from South Asia, the Kutchu mat is a safety and international standards tested mat. Testing results show no traces of phthalates or toxins. The surface of the mat is similar to that of a typical yoga mat and allows the baby to have a good grip. This allows your little one a chance to practice sitting, crawling, or walking.
The mat is lightweight and thin, but at the same time heavy enough to stay in one place and not skid around with use. The size is great (130 x 168 cm) as the baby has ample room to explore and play.
The mat can be easily cleaned by simply wiping down the surface; there is no hassle of having to wash, dry or iron the cover.
Natural rubber may have a bit of smell, which dissipates over time. Cleaning the surface with a mixture of water and white vinegar initially (wiping with a damp cloth) should help.
The mat should only be used indoors on a flat, hard floor surface. Exposure to direct sunlight could affect the quality of the natural rubber. Pets may also cause damage to the play surface.
The Kutchu Children’s mat comes with two different colors on either side of the mat so you can decide which side you’d prefer to keep clean.
- Large size allowing ample room for your baby to crawl around
- Good thickness (1.25 inches) – will cushion your little one’s falls
- Removable machine washable cotton cover – easy to keep clean
- Waterproof layer with seams that are designed to protect from bacteria and dust-mite
- Slightly expensive
- Plain looking
- Two third of the mat is made from polyurethane foam
This large and thick play mat is perfect for hard floors. The core of the mat is made from plant based polyurethane foam which has been VOC tested. It is PVC free, does not contain any Tris or Nanoparticle and both the foam and the cover are tested to be free from any heavy metal content. The mat is also not treated with flame retardants
Covered in a 100% USDA certified organic cotton, the mat is easy to clean since the cover can be machine washed. Also, it has a waterproof protective layer that helps keep away dust accumulation.
Although the size of the mat is large (55" x 55") (which gives your baby plenty of space) – it’s also easy to roll up and store away. The mat boasts plush padding at 1.25” thickness for extra safety.
To wrap up…
Watching your little ones learn how to sit up, crawl around and eventually walk will probably be one of the most precious memories you will have of them as babies. Make these moments really count by providing your babies with a safe, non-toxic and clean environment to play, grow and explore the world around them.