It’s a natural instinct for
babies to seek warmth and protection. Who can blame them after 9+ months in a cozy womb? But as they grow, it’s essential to provide them with room to move and explore. Activities like tummy time and crawling, or just free play time, strengthen both their muscles and motor skills as well as encourage independence. If your baby is ready for this next step, it’s important to find a safe space for them to roam, as well as a soft surface — something like the best non-toxic play mats on this list. Are Foam Play Mats Toxic?
Because the term “non-toxic” is thrown around quite liberally, it can be difficult for parents to decipher what is actually safe. A few ingredients in particular have been scrutinized regarding foam mats, namely ethylene vinyl acetate
(EVA) — and a chemical in it called formamide, leading some countries — including Belgium and France — to initially ban it. The European Union (EU) has since gone on to set limits on what is an acceptable level of formamide release. It should be noted, however, that other countries have not set such limits because of inconclusive evidence that the materials in question were harmful to human health. In fact, Australia researched the materials in play mats and found no safety risk to children.
not global consensus on this issue, the choice is up to a parent whether to skip EVA foam in favor of mats made of alternative materials like cotton. Some parents are simply opting to air out an EVA foam mat for several weeks before use to ensure that the child isn’t exposed to any potentially harmful off-gassing. What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Non-Toxic Play Mats
It’s advisable to protect babies from as many harmful substances as possible that may contain carcinogens or developmental toxins. With that in mind, you’ll want to
avoid BPAs, lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates, wherever possible. The play mats on this list have been curated under these parameters. Still, Scary Mommy recommends that parents perform their own research. MADE SAFE — a comprehensive human health and ecosystem-focused certification for non-toxic products — is a great place to begin.
Beyond material, we’ve considered additional play mat features such as foldable, machine-washable, and reversible designs that make these baby essentials as versatile as they are useful.
Ready to take a look at the best non-toxic play mats for your baby? Scroll down to see our top picks.
01 Editor’s Choice: A Foam Mat That Meets E.U. Safety Standards
modern play mat is a versatile option for parents looking for a mat that can serve multiple purposes and easily be rolled up to store or take on the go — it even comes with a Velcro strap like your favorite yoga mat. Since it’s made with non-toxic foam materials and is waterproof and hypoallergenic, it’s a super safe choice that’s especially convenient for outdoor activities. The on-trend reversible mats are free of latex, BPA, formamide, and PVC and have been tested to meet alls U.S. and E.U. safety standards. Editor’s Review: “As soon as my oldest son started moving, I knew I'd need some kind of mat to keep him from bumping his head on the hardwood floors. This one checked all the boxes: thick and cushy, non-toxic, easy to wipe clean, and it's beautiful. I like it much more than a previous mat we'd tried. And this mat been a great investment since it has held up well for years — it's now an essential part of my youngest son's room." - Ileana Morales Valentine, Scary Mommy associate editor Dimensions: 78 x 54 x 0.5 inches (L x W x H) | Material: Foam | Care Instructions: Spot Clean/Wipe Down 02 A Popular Interlocking Tile Play Mat In The Cutest Prints
Backed by nearly 2,500 perfect five-star ratings, this waterproof
play mat with interlocking tiles can be assembled and disassembled quickly, making for a soft surface for baby that can be stored in small spaces when not in use — and the seven available patterns are just adorable. It’s made with certified EVA foam that’s guaranteed to be free of phthalates, BPA, PVC, lead, and latex. According to the brand, the foam meets all Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s (CPSIA) standards. Helpful Review: “After reading countless reviews for different products I landed on this one, so glad I did! Great value, looks chic, thick enough so that I’m more comfortable playing with my son down on the hardwood floor. Easy, 3 min set up.” Dimensions: 72 x 48 x 0.4 inches (L x W x H) | Material: Certified EVA Foam | Care Instructions: Spot Clean/Wipe Down 03 An OEKO-TEX Certified Fabric Play Mat That’s So Portable
Constructed of soft
OEKO-TEX-certified cotton with polyester fill, this machine-washable, non-toxic fabric play mat is designed to be used on hardwood floors, home carpeting, play yards, and on grass. The gray palette with leaf design is versatile and modern, while the colorful play ribbons provide a stimulating interactive element. Bonus: It comes with a convenient carrying bag! Helpful Review: “This ChildLike baby play mat is excellent. This play mat is made with breathable and comfortable material. This square play mat is a quilted and soft surface, non-slip backing, and long-wearing edge with a soft, unique visual stimulation design, which is foldable and easy to pack and come with a carry bag.” Dimensions: 49 x 49 inches (L x W) | Material: Cotton / Poly Fill | Care Instructions: Machine Washable 04 This Reversible Play Mat With An Easy Roll-up Design
Skip Hop is known for its line of quality baby products ranging from bath accessories to this cushy non-toxic,
reversible play mat. One side features a modern print, while the other has a vibrant, kid-friendly play scene. Wipes clean, rolls up in a flash, and is roomy enough for baby to roll and tumble galore. The foam mat is PVC-free, and according to Skip Hop, all of its products are tested to meet or exceed ASTM, CPSIA, EN71, and applicable safety standards. Helpful Review: “I looked at a lot of different mats and read a lot of reviews before realizing I was just going to have to take a chance on one. I’m so glad I did! This mat is great! The child side is vibrant and fun! It’s soft enough that I don’t worry about my baby’s head during tummy time. It wipes off easily which is great because my dogs apparently love it too.” Dimensions: 86 x 52 x 0.5 inches (L x W x H) | Material: PU Foam, TPU | Care Instructions: Spot Clean/Wipe Down 05 This Muslin Play Mat That’s Machine-Washable
Taking it back to the classics, this
muslin play mat by popular baby brand aden + anais, is designed to provide babies with a natural play surface that’s both luxurious and stimulates the senses with an embroidered animal scene and removable rattle and mirror. Parents love that it’s machine-washable and folds up compactly. The cover is pure muslin combed cotton with hypoallergenic poly fill. Helpful Review: “Perfect. Soft and silky fabric just like their swaddles. New baby loves it. Also like that it folds up easily since it doesn’t have the typical arches over the top like other play mats. Machine washable is a big plus.” Dimensions: 45 x 45 x 1.97 inches (L x W x H) | Material: Muslin Combed Cotton/ Poly Fill | Care Instructions: Machine Washable 06 This Organic Cotton Play Mat
washable play mat features a 100% USDA-certified organic cotton cover for baby to do everything from tummy time to tumbling on. The waterproof interior layer is constructed with vinyl- and PVC-free medical-grade stretch-knit fabric and plant-based foam. The mat is roomy and squishy and great for rolling up at the end of day to free up your space. Helpful Review: “After many hours of research over the years and resulting purchases of non-toxic play mats, I think this one is the best, healthiest alternative that I have found. I love the convenience, the clean look, and how surprisingly comfy it is on the otherwise bare floor. It also feels great not to worry about my child's skin coming into contact with BPA, phthalates, and other toxic substances that might be present on surfaces of other play mats.” Dimensions: 55 x 55 x 1.5 inches (L x W x H) | Material: Foam / Organic Cotton | Care Instructions: Machine Washable Cover 07 This Roll-Up Play Mat With A Near-Perfect Amazon Rating
Boasting a 4.8-star rating after more than 3,000 shoppers have weighed in, this
Baby Care play mat has been tested under rigorous U.S., European, and Australian standards to ensure that it’s free from phthalate, BPA, lead, latex, formaldehyde, EVA, and beyond. Reviewers love that it's durable, versatile, super plush, and easy to roll up and store. It’s also double-sided, giving parents the option of a cheery baby pattern or a more chic side that blends with most household decor. Helpful Review: “I bought this 3 years ago when my son was 2 and my daughter was a newborn. I’m doing the review now because I love it even more now and have used it so much over those 3years. This is an essential and it will be my go to baby shower present. I used it when the babies were crawling. I use it under the little plastic slide for a soft landing. I use it under our inflatable baby pool to soften the cannonballs from my now 5 year old. I put it on the deck so the lego pieces don’t fall through the slats. It’s cleans up, folds up, rolls up and is easy to carry.” Dimensions: 82.7 x 55.1 x 0.5 inches (L x W x H) | Material: Non-Toxic PVC | Care Instructions: Spot Clean/Wipe Down