Hi Mamma! Today I’m talking about one of my most researched baby items – our non-toxic baby playmat. When your little one is young you obsess over every little thing that touches their body. Since they spend so much time on a playmat, for me this was no exception. After reading about Greenguard certified furniture, I started thinking about the chemicals and other substances our baby would come in contact with. As I was researching a non-toxic baby playmat, I knew I wanted to get one that was both comfortable and safe for our very small baby. After looking into the multiple different non-toxic baby playmat options, I realized that almost all playmats I could readily pick up at the store had ingredients that weren’t very “clean.” Have no fear, as I have a full list of options that can be easily delivered to your door.
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SO, WHAT SHOULD I AVOID IN A BABY PLAYMAT?
Unfortunately, many of the commonly available playmats are made of foam, or more specifically EVA foam which is widely touted as safe. According to multiple sources EVA foam playmats contain Formamide (and no – I did not spell formaldehyde incorrectly – this is a separate chemical :)) which is toxic to reproduction. Foam playmats are the main type I’ll steer you away from, due to the misinformation out there on these types of play surfaces.
Many of the playmats from Babies R Us, Target, and your typical big-box retailers are made out of foam, so I knew I’d need to look elsewhere to get a safe alternative. Of course, I jumped online to look for additional options, and to understand what types of playmats would be considered “clean.”
WHAT’S THE GOOD STUFF?
There are a few “non-toxic” options for baby playmats, but they aren’t always available at Target. Keep in mind I’m sure you’ll find someone to refute even the cleanest of materials if you look hard enough. However, I satisfied myself that this list was at least better than the foam options at our local store. Keep in mind your budget as you shop when researching a non-toxic baby playmat. Multiple non-toxic mats are rated highly from a materials standpoint, but were incredibly expensive. Here are a few of the playmats I looked up that appear to be clean and truly non-toxic, but we ultimately didn’t purchase due to the price. I didn’t want to spend $200-$300 on something my little would just spit-up on, but if I hadn’t found a suitable cheaper option I probably would have bought one of these:
- Pillobebe Organic Cotton PlayMat
- CorkiMat by Pillobebe
- Panda Mat (they aren’t making these right now but putting it on the list in case they come back since there are a lot of good comments about them)
- Baby Bello Organic Playmat
- Kutchu Children’s Playmat (made out of rubber)
- Alzipmat Baby Playmat
REVIEW OF OUR BABY CARE PLAYMAT
Our ultimate pick was the Baby Care Playmat – which has been in use for over 18 months, and met our criteria of texture/protection, size, material, and price. This playmat has truly been a great addition to the house and lives right on the living room floor.
I purchased this on Amazon because I wanted to be able to return it if I wasn’t 100% sold. However, this is made in Korea, so in full transparency, I’ve included a link to the company website. They publish their toxicity report, but you’ll have to zoom in on the images if you actually want to read what they test for. This mat is tested on multiple toy standards, including the U.S. and EU. It claims to be BPA Free, EVA free, Phthalate Free, Lead-Free, Latex Free, Formaldehyde Free, and Mercury Free – you can read the Amazon claims and reviews here.
Why It’s Great:
A key benefit of this mat is the thick foam and “sticky” surface so baby doesn’t slip when learning to walk. When she does inevitably fall down, the mat has great thickness and shock absorption. Although our little has taken some rough tumbles, she really doesn’t get hurt. The mat also comes in bright colors to stimulate baby’s senses, which has been proven to help sensory development. Now that she’s older, little lady can identify animals, colors, and numbers right on the mat’s surface.
It is easy to clean but it is grooved so it’s not a 100% smooth surface. This means it will still be a little wet for a few minutes after you wipe. However, it does wipe up easily. Another benefit is that spit up won’t get in the cracks like it can with the puzzle pieces. You also don’t have to take off or wash any covers. Any type of non-toxic surface cleaning spray can go directly on the mat. It’s a great option for quick clean up. When our little got her first stomach bug, I was much less worried when she was hanging out on the mat versus on our beige carpet.
WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE:
This playmat is very dense and protects baby from the floor and bumps and bruises. However, it doesn’t neatly fold up or roll off to one side out of sight. We just leave it out on the floor. If you’re looking for something super collapsible or stores compactly, this might not be the mat for you.
When I originally purchased this playmate it had a description about food grade non-toxic PVC. This is now called Eco-friendly PVC on the Amazon description. I’ve since read that PVC is sometimes considered toxic. I’m not an expert in chemicals, and this mat has worked out really well for us. I did want to call this out for those of you who are more in tune with chemicals. If you’re looking for a product that has NEVER been called into question, I’d look into PVC a bit more. I’d compare this option with the ingredients on the other options above. For us, the superior shock absorption, lack of smell, and easy wipe up of this mat made it a great addition to our home.
Overall – we love our choice and would recommend it to any new parent or parent to be. If you’re looking for an affordable, safe, and high functioning playmat it’s a great option. If you’re worried about PVC, feel free to check out other options on the list above. I hope this review will take some of the weight off your shoulders when evaluating all your options!
If you’re worried about non-toxic furniture, check out my overview of why we chose greenguard certified furniture for our baby’s nursery.