Safer playmats for babies & kids

Because tummy time shouldn’t be toxic

Kids and babies spend a lot of time on the floor, so as parents, finding safe flooring and play surfaces is really important. Not every flooring scenario is going to be within your control but if you’re in need of something clean and safe for your baby to play on, or even snooze on, you’ll want to choose materials that are safe.

There are many things you can look for when playmat shopping for baby. Now more than ever, there are many products on the market that utilize natural materials and aim to provide a safe area for them to crawl and play on.  Here are a few ingredients to stay away from when choosing a playmat.

  • Flame Retardants: Some play and nap mats are made with synthetic foams and many times are treated with flame retardants. Kids ingest roughly 10 times more PBDEs than adults from hand-to-mouth contact and can present health risks and exposure to carcinogenic compounds affecting fertility and causing other health problems.
  • PVC or Vinyl: PVC is made using a toxic cocktail of materials that could put your little ones at risk from exposure to lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hormone disrupting chemicals like phthalates.  This would be my #1 material to avoid with kids and babies.
  • Formaldehyde: Less common but still something to avoid is formaldehyde. Most notably found in particle board and press board, formaldehyde off gasses VOCs and adds to the indoor pollution of our homes. Look for products that are free of formaldehyde and toxic glues.
  • Triclosan: Triclosan is in a lot of products from cutting boards, pencils, toothpastes and hand soaps.  Triclosan typically protects the product more than the consumer.  Not to mention is gets into our waterways and contaminates our fish and wildlife.  We are exposed to it more and more so if you can avoid it, all the better.
  • BPA and Phthalates: These are likely less common but still something to check off on the avoid list.  Both Bisphenol-a and Phthalates pose a risk to child’s developing endocrine system in that it mimics hormones.  A small amount of exposure might not be too harmful but compounded with all the other times we are exposed to these chemicals can prove to be a pretty sizeable load on our bodies, especially kids.
  • EVA Foam: EVA is a safer alternative to PVC or vinyl but it can be risky.  The process of making EVA includes the use of chlorine which can produce carcinogenic compounds called dioxins.  Some EVA foam has been treated with flame retardants as well and it’s tough to differentiate. Natural fabrics and materials are a safer bet if possible.

Check out some safer playmat options The Tot has to offer:

  1. Nook Sleep Systems LilyPad Playmat: The LilyPad Playmat is a soft and stylish foam-free playmat that can be used for tummy time, nap time or play time. The padding is made from non-toxic PETE and covered in a 100% organic cotton cover for a comfy playmat experience.
  2. The Little Yoga Mat: Even though this is a yoga mat it can be used for just about anything! A clean surface to sit on at the library for reading time or for doing Mom and Me yoga, these cute little mats are made of eco-friendly TPS and non-toxic glue. They are free of BPA, PVC, Latex, Formaldehyde, Lead and Phthalates.
  3. Deuz Playmats: The Deuz playmats are made out of thick 100% organic cotton canvas and dyed with GOTS certified non-toxic ink and are boldly designed spaces that will inspire your child to invent an endless variety of worlds where he or she can play, read or rest in. Comes in a variety of prints including Animals, Roads and Nature.
  4. Gathre Mini Mat: Made from premium bonded leather, with a sturdy suede backside, this mat is also perfect for tummy time so you don’t have a to do laundry after every inevitable spit-up. Also comes in Maxi and Micro sizes.