Giving baby a safe place to land in life is all parents want. Literally and figuratively. So, when you start shopping for a foam play mat for your nursery, playroom, and living room, you may find yourself staring at more search results than you can digest—and with more questions than answers. Turns out, choosing the best baby play mat comes down to a whole lot more than color. There are a ton of safety considerations to keep in mind.
So, what exactly is in these foam baby play mats anyway, and how do you find the best nontoxic play mats for babies? Unless you have a PhD in chemistry, you might not know the difference between all the plastics, rubbers, and other materials that are being used to make foam play mats.
Let us help answer your questions. Is TPU foam safe for babies? What about PVC, phthalates, and EVA?
The yoga mats most of us have in our homes are made from PVC, polyvinyl chloride. And so are a lot of the traditional baby mats on the market. They are durable, affordable, and offer great grip. Hard to argue those points.
But if you look a little deeper into the makeup of these mats, you’ll find that exposure to PVC can have effects on the central nervous system such as dizziness and headaches, irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract, and can even result in serious health issues, including cancer.
Phthalates are an additive used to treat PVC to make it soft and flexible. They are also sometimes called plasticizers. Phthalates can be found in many common household items ranging from flooring to nail polish. One such type of phthalate, DEHP, is an endocrine disruptor and can cause cancer, while others can have an adverse effect on human reproduction or development.
If you’ve eyed up those puzzle piece mats, you’re not alone. They are bright and fun, soft and squishy, and hold up to a lot of wear and tear. It seems there’s nothing not to like. Well, many of them are made of EVA foam--which is often touted as being nontoxic, but may off-gas trace levels of formamide, a carcinogen.
Is TPU Safe?
When you are on the lookout for a safe, nontoxic baby play mat, you can rest assured that play mats made of TPU will check all the boxes on your baby safety checklist. Soft? Check. Durable? Check. Free from toxic materials and doesn’t off-gas VOCs? Check and check. No plasticizers? Check.
In fact, TPU is the baby mat material of choice for plenty of eagle-eyed mommy bloggers.
Comfort Design Mats
When we set out to create our soft, beautiful foam baby play mats, nontoxic was at the top of our priority list. Our Comfort Design Mats had to be safe and functional for kids of all ages--and even parents for exercise time. So not only will our spongy squishy mats protect your family from bumps on hard floors, they are made of nontoxic TPU foam, hypoallergenic, no latex, BPA, or phthalates, no PVC or EVA, no formamide or formaldehyde. And they are waterproof and durable enough to stand up to most pets.
Plus, our mats are gorgeous and will complement your décor in any room of your home, so you won’t need to roll it up and put it away when tummy time, playtime, or exercise time is over.