Baby play mats FAQsDo you have questions about baby play mats? We’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions here:
Are foam play mats safe for babies?Foam mats are often made of EVA foam, which is considered to be a safe alternative to other types of foam. EVA foam is BPA free and doesn’t include harmful plasticizers. These mats are marketed as ‘non-toxic’ options, but many do off-gas formamide. Mats that off-gas formamide are banned in Belgium, but nowhere else. Testing has shown that current levels of exposure to formamide are safe.
Are baby play stations safe?Safety depends on the individual play station and manufacturer, but all products on the market abide by the safety standards put in place in 1997. Be sure to read reviews from customers and independent bodies before using a play station. The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies shouldn’t use play stations, walkers, or saucers because movable parts still pose a risk. They also suggest to parents that their babies have greater mobility than they do. Studies have shown that babies using play stations (or walkers, swings, or seats) crawl and walk later than babies who spend time on the floor.
How to clean baby play mats?Handwashing in the sink with a gentle formula is the best way to clean a baby play mat. Be sure to use an appropriate soap if your baby has sensitive skin.
Can a newborn use a playmat?Your newborn can use a playmat that is rated for newborns and up. Newborns won’t enjoy playmats as much as older babies, but play mats are fine to use for tummy time and for introducing them to toys during periods when your baby is alert and awake. If you let your newborn use a play mat, remember to stay and supervise your little one while they’re on the mat. Strict supervision is important at a very young age.
Different types of baby play matsIf you’ve entered the search term into Google or Amazon, you’ve undoubtedly been inundated with the number of baby play mats available to our little ones. Here’s a quick guide to the difference between the most common types of baby care mats.
Foam baby play matsFoam play mats are made of a soft, safe foam that creates a large play area. These mats are basic but can be supplemented with toys. For newborns, foam mats are a great place to practice lifting their head, rolling around, and eventually crawling.
Baby play mat gymsPlaymat gyms include a base mat and an overhead ‘gym.’ Gym for babies has a different meaning: in many cases, it includes toys for sensory stimulation as well as giving them things to reach for and practice mobility.
Twist and fold play matsTwist and fold play mats are similar to mat gyms but different in terms of storage. While a gym may be made of plastic, a twist and fold gym is portable and folds up compactly in one piece.
Activity blanketsActivity blankets are like textured play mats. They’re often quilts that include different textures or points of interest like pockets or pictures.
Quilted play matsQuilted play mats are a baby floor mat similar to activity blankets, but they may not have the added sensory accessories. Quilted mats are often padded or stuffed so that they can be used on any floor surface.
Organic baby play matsOrganic play mats are made from organic, non-toxic materials. They often include cotton covers and plant-based foam interiors.
Tummy time matsTummy time mats are a type of infant play mat similar to activity blankets. They have points of interest on the mat itself to help soothe babies who otherwise don’t like tummy time.
The best baby play mat reviewsThere are thousands of baby play mats out there; and trust us, each one is cuter than the next. Sorting through them all is difficult, so we put together a list of some of the most beloved and best baby play mats out there.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym
- Deluxe newborn gym with 10+ toys and activities and a removable, take-along toucan with music and dancing lights
- Three ways to play: Lay & play, tummy time and take-along
- Responds to baby’s movement with music and lights in short-play setting
Bearington Baby Lil’ Spout Belly Blanket
- ELEPHANT PLAY MAT: Plush stuffed animal grey elephant floor blanket with luxuriously soft yet durable fabric, safety...
- PERFECT FOR TUMMY TIME: Soft and cozy padded playmat with 2 inches of polyester padding provides comfort on hard...
- YEARS OF USE: Starts as a play or activity mat, and as baby grows it is sure to become a treasured comfort item or soft...
Skip Hop Baby Treetop Friends Activity Gym
- Our much-loved activity gym engages baby with friendly faces and multi-sensory features. It includes soft linen and...
- Five hanging toys attach to 13 easy-to-hang loops offering irresistible multi-sensory play for baby at every stage of...
- Oversized round mat surface with nature-inspired graphics and textures
Infantino Grow-With-Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit
No products found.Although it’s rated birth and up, this Infantino mat is for babies who are a few months old and are working hard on their motor skills. While it would be suitable for newborns, it would be enjoyed more fully by older babies. I like this mat because it will entertain your little one in their first year and beyond. It’s great for lay time as a baby, but it also transforms into a ball pit for toddlers.
Should you buy or build a baby play mat?Parents who are extra safety cautious often come to us wondering if it wouldn’t be simpler to build their own baby play mat. After all, then they’ll know what goes into it, and they won’t run into any nasty surprises. There are plenty of templates for DIY baby play mats online. If you’re handy with tools or a sewing machine, then there’s no stopping you. But if you’re going to build something beyond a play mat, we recommend buying instead. While as parents we remember horror stories of baby toys from decades past, standards continue to evolve, and baby toys and activity gyms have become even more safe – and more rigorously tested. In fact, unless you’re a design pro with access to excellent materials, you may find that a purchased toy is safer, easier to assemble, and more comfortable for your little one.
How the best play mat was selectedI chose my favorite baby mats based on a combined score of comfort and safety. As a mom, I know that having multiple kids means I will turn my back on my baby for the briefest of seconds. I need to be able to know that their toy won’t collapse in them the second I look away. But comfort is equally important because I want my little one to enjoy their toy. I combined my own experiences with all the tricks I’ve learned from other parents to come up with the list above.
Tips for buying a baby play matSafety is the biggest deciding factor in finding the right baby play mat. Here are a few things to look out for:
Free from chemicals and toxinsMost companies these days know that customers are aware of the effects of chemicals and toxins on their babies’ health. After all, we’re the lead paint on cribs generation. Many toys these days are free from both chemicals and toxins because manufacturers want to sell toys and governments tend to ban harmful substances. But it never hurts to be sure, so check the tag and reviews.
Secure partsThe biggest problem activity gyms have faced in the past were heavy, collapsible arms and toys that caught little fingers. Get a model or photo of the toy to look for little traps. When in doubt, choose a twist and fold mat, which won’t hurt your babe even if they’re strong enough to pull it down.
No small piecesA ban on small pieces goes without saying and is generally abided by manufacturers. But be careful when buying toys designed for older kids and giving them to your young one. This is particularly true when you buy toys that “grow with your baby” because they tend to be the most complicated.
Easy to cleanToys that are easy to clean are the best toys. Machine washable is always a gold standard, but if you can’t machine wash it, look for toys that detach or are simple to spot clean.
Other baby products for your activity gymPediatricians recommend play mats and activity gyms for infants because they encourage both lay play and tummy time while also supporting baby’s attempts to grow their own mobility. But there are other toys available if you want to divvy up the day:
- 360 degrees of play for baby to discover.
- Music, lights & sounds reward & encourage every bounce & jump
- Easily adjusts to 3 different heights as your baby grows
- Item arrives in frustration-free, easy-to-open packaging that's 100% recyclable. For a gift-ready box, select "ship...
- Soothing infant seat bounces along to your baby's natural movements
- Removable toy bar with 2 spinners & a monkey clacker
Baby lounger pillow chairs
- 🌟【Double-Sided and Being Adjustable】The baby lounger cover has two sides pattern (One side is leaves pattern and...
- 🌟【Portable Travel Needs】The size of the baby nest is about 31.5 x 19.6 inches and weighs only 3.5lbs（1.6kg）....
- 🌟【Perfect for co-sleeping】360 degree protective pad side guardrail design creates separate sleeping space for...
- The Ingenuity Swing 'n Go Portable Swing is a unisex foldable mini swing designed for easy transport; Boutique...
- Features 5 swing speeds, 8 melodies and 3 nature sounds with extra quiet motor; parents can select the desired timer...
- Powered by 4 D batteries (not included); Hybridrive technology helps extend the life of your batteries to save money and...