Different types of play mats compared

We may be a little biased but a padded play mat is a necessary item. It’s a safe and comfortable place for your little one to play, practice tummy time and engage with their toys. On this safe space, your baby is free to interact with their surroundings and develop the muscles they need to sit, crawl and one day stand. All these moments are beautiful but may come with a few falls so trying this on a cold, hard floor is not the best option. Choosing a play mat that protects your little one and gives them a functional, aesthetic space is a priority!

So what are the different play mats available on the market?

Fabric

Fabric play mats have been around since.. forever! They are as simple as a material (usually cotton or linen) covering some internal padding (either cotton or a polyester fill). Whilst these are durable, washable and can function as a blanket, we found the padding was not usually sufficient enough to function as a play mat and the inability to quickly wipe down the mat to keep it sanitised wouldn’t meet the day to day requirements of mums around the world. We absolutely endorse having a fabric play mat as the softness and comfort is unparalleled however we suggest placing one on top of a more robust, TPU mat.

Next Generation TPU Foam

TPU belongs to a group of next generation thermoplastic elastomers with properties that resemble a blend of rubber and plastics. TPU’s have a wide range of properties (non-toxic, durable, flexible) that make it appropriate for a number of applications. It is widely used in the medical field, specifically in oxygen masks and tubing, as well as more common household items such as some shoes, swimming goggles and inflatable toys.

What makes TPU a standout choice for baby mats is it’s durability, flexibility and nil-toxicity. It is a completely inert material and doesn’t give off any nasty VOC fumes - this is particularly evident when you unbox a mat and it has absolutely zero smell. We know discerning parents want the absolutely best for their child and this is why we made the Mikro play mats with a non-toxic, European standard approved (EN71) material such as TPU.

PVC & EVA

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) & Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) are two material we’ll lump together for the purpose of this article. The reason being, they are essentially two plastic compounds that have been identified as toxic and not generally regarded as safe for babies. Historically, EVA was used on the jigsaw style play mats and it works great as a waterproof shock absorber however it’s since been banned in the EU for its toxicity. On the other hand, PVC is made using a toxic blend of materials that could put your little ones at risk from exposure to lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hormone-disrupting chemicals like phthalates. We absolutely do not recommend purchasing play mats that are made with these materials.

We hope you enjoyed our article! If you have any questions regarding a Mikro play mat, please send us an email at hello@mikroaustralia.com.au.