As hard as we try, our homes often fall short of the safety standards necessary for a baby, and if you have hardwood floors, you have additional hazards. Not only are trips and falls mixed with hardwood floors a recipe for disaster, but crawling and playing on these floors can be very uncomfortable for little ones.
Your best solution is to purchase the Best Play Mats for Hardwood Floors specifically made with your little one’s safety in mind. This can prevent accidents from happening as well as designate a special play area for your little one.
How Do You Know if a Play Mat Is Right for You?
What Do I Mean by Play Mat?
Different from an area rug, a play mat is usually padded and kid-friendly, meaning it’s padded, doesn’t slip and is made from non-toxic materials.
Who Should Use a Play Mat?
If you have low-pile carpet, hardwood, or tile flooring in your home, you will want to get a play mat to give a little extra cushion and prevent injuries. Or you may consider it as a gift for others.
When is the Appropriate Age for a Play Mat?
Play mats are usually ideal for young babies and children who aren’t quite steady on their feet yet (or may only be sitting or crawling), but they can really be a useful play spot for children of any age.
Where is a Play Mat Suitable to Use?
It is best to designate a specific play area in your home, which should be away from sharp furniture and household obstacles, and you should install the play mat in whatever area you decide that should be.
Why is a Play Mat Important to Have?
Not only does the padding on a play mat prevent injury in case your child should fall but it also provides extra cushion for babies who are lying down, sitting, or even crawling.
Features that Make for the Perfect Play Mat
Babies put their mouths on everything, and you can expect they will do the same with the play mat. Because of this, it is of utmost importance that you pay attention to the materials your play mat is made of.
Non-toxic usually means there are no flame-retardants, it is made with non-toxic foam, latex-free, BPA-free, has no formaldehyde, no PVC, no EVA, is odor-free, and non-flammable.
However, some variations of EVA and PVC are more baby-friendly, but be sure you know exactly what the mat is made of.
One of the main problems with area rugs is that they can slide around easily, even with a non-skid pad underneath. The last thing you want is to have your toddler take a bad tumble after slipping on a loose rug or play mat.
Thankfully, most play mats are made with some sort of foam that naturally sticks to the floor and prevents slipping.
Don’t be fooled though; just because something seems like it’s non-skid doesn’t mean that it actually is. Be sure to read the product description and reviews very carefully.
Another problem with area rugs is the fact that they’re so thin. There is very little cushion to protect feet, knees, and heads from the hard floor underneath.
Play mats are made with plenty of padding to keep little ones protected from falls. Ideally, something that is at least ½” thick is best.
Babies are messy. Whether it’s spit-up, diaper blowouts, or snack crumbs, you are bound to have quite a few messes on your hand throughout the lifespan of your play mat.
You will want to find something that is easy to clean and doesn’t stain. This means it should have a removable cover that can be machine washed, or it should be made with a water-resistant surface that wipes down with a damp cloth.
Let’s face it, just because we have a child doesn’t mean we want our house to start looking like a colorful circus, and a lot of play mats feature bright colors that completely clash with most interior decorating designs.
If you have a designated playroom for your little one or you are looking for a play mat for the nursery, the mat’s color scheme and design aren’t that big of a deal.
However, if you are looking for a play mat for your living room, you may want to look at some of the higher end mats. There are several that have beautiful designs that could pass as an area rug if someone were to only take a quick glance.
Price is always a big influencer when it comes to making a purchase. We want to make sure we aren’t spending more than we need to on something and that we are going to get our money’s worth out of the product.
With your play mat, you are going to want to look at quality and lifespan as well as design to determine what price you are willing to pay. Believe it or not, play mat prices can vary drastically depending on the style and quality you are looking at.
You will also need to determine how big of an area you need to cover, as play mats can vary in size quite a bit.
For interlocking puzzle mats, this isn’t as big of a deal since you can easily add another set to it later if you find you need more area covered.
However, there are also play mats that are solid pieces, and you may find that the size isn’t quite what you need if you don’t measure your space and do your research first.
Sometimes you may need to take your play mat on the go. Whether it’s at the grandparents’ house or just on vacation, you want to know if the play mat you’ve chosen can easily be taken along.
Interlocking puzzle mats are usually pretty portable. They break down easily and typically come with a bag or pouch to store them in when they aren’t needed. You can use this same bag to take them in the car with you to your destination.
Solid mats are kind of hit or miss when it comes to portability. Some are easy enough to roll up and may even come with a travel bag to take them along. Others are thicker and not meant to roll up, being more suited to use at home only.
Best Play Mats for Hardwood Floors
Comfort Design Premium Play Mat – Quality Pick
- MORE PRACTICAL THAN INTERLOCKING PUZZLE MATS AND RUGS Our 6.5 ft x 4.5 ft x 0.5 in. premium floor mats are designed to look like gorgeous area rugs, but they're softer, easier to clean, won't shed, and won't accumulate stains or buildup to protect your flooring. They also won't trap pet hair and dust, which helps keep your home free of common allergens. And unlike interlocking mats, they won't let liquid seep through, or come apart during active play.
- HALF INCH THICK, SQUISHY SOFT FOAM Insulates children from cold, hard floors and little bumps. From their first steps to their wildest wrestling matches, these floor mats are there to support your children's growth. You can give baby some tummy time and watch your children learn to crawl or walk-all with soft, spongy protection underfoot (or knee)! These are also a perfect alternative to exercise mats, offering ample space and comfort for your workouts.
- HIGH QUALITY, WATERPROOF, DURABLE Great as a replacement for area rugs or as an extra cushion on top of your existing rug. Our premium foam mats are NOT like the typical puzzle mat material, but more similar to memory foam with a durable outer layer. We tested many, including the cheaper materials, but wanted to offer a mat that is safe, comfortable and long lasting. You will LOVE how easy it is to clean. Rounded corners; reversible same pattern.
If you are looking for a top of the line play mat, you will want to consider one from Comfort Design.
This large 6.5-foot by 4.5-foot play mat could easily pass for an area rug in your home thanks to the 5 beautiful designs and excellent quality.
It is made with ½-inch thick non-toxic TPU foam, so there is no need to worry about your baby’s health and safety. This cushy rug is also free from all toxic materials, plastics, and chemicals.
It is very easy to clean. You can run the vacuum over it (quickly so it doesn’t burn) or you can sweep off any debris before wiping it with a wet towel. It is also easy to keep clean since it is waterproof and doesn’t trap pet hair of dust.
If you do want to use this beautiful mat as an area rug, you can feel free to do so since furniture placed on top of it will not leave any permanent indents.
This play mat may still be a be slippery without anything weighing it down, so if you are planning on using it in an open area, be sure to place some non-slip fabric underneath.
Baby Care Play Mat – Roll-Up Pick
- One-piece, large, soft floor surface for babies and children to play on from birth to school
- Hygienic and safe (Tested to European Toy Standards EN71)
- Phthalate Free, BPA Free, Lead Free, Latex Free, Formaldehyde Free, EVA Free
When it comes to play mats that are easy to roll up, the Baby Care play mat is my top pick.
There are 15 designs to choose from, all of them reversible. Some are more elegant designs that can pass for an area rug; others are more child-friendly: colorful, interactive, and educational.
There are two sizes to choose from. The large size runs about 7 feet by 4.5 feet, and the medium size is 6 feet by 4 feet. Both are roughly ½” thick and made from eco-friendly PVC foam.
This play mat is also easy to keep clean, being made with waterproof materials and easy to wipe down with a damp cloth.
Be aware that these play mats are not pet-friendly. Claws and teeth can easily tear it up easily.
SoftTiles Foam Play Mat – Interlocking Pick
- DESIGNER: Black, Gray, and White Safari Animals foam play mat give playrooms a modern and distinctive look. The Monkey, Giraffe, and Elephant interlocking mats are perfect for creating animal themed nursery and playrooms.
- SOFT: Fun children's flooring make hardwood floors, tile, and concrete basements into soft playrooms. Create safe cushioned floors for crawling babies and toddlers learning to walk.
- SAFE: SoftTiles are created for kids and the baby play mats have no small pieces! SoftTiles are Non Toxic Foam Mats tested to EN-71 Safety Standards and do not contain formamides, BPA, phthalates. We have been selling foam mats since 1994- children have grown up on SoftTiles!
Interlocking play mats are a classic choice, but there is nothing classic about this one from SoftTiles.
Most interlocking mats are very colorful, but the SoftTiles interlocking mat provides a more updated and modern look with the monochromatic color scheme.
Another difference from classic interlocking mats is the size. This mat comes with 9 interlocking 2-foot squares, covering a 6.5 by 6.5-foot area. You can even purchase multiple sets and connect them to cover more area if needed.
It is made with EVA foam and is free from toxic chemicals. At 5/8” thick, you can be sure this mat is comfortable and safe for your little one.
There are also sloped edges, which prevent tripping to keep you safe as well.
It is not recommended that you place furniture on top of this mat, as it will leave permanent indents and possibly tear or otherwise damage the pieces.
Baby Mushroom Baby Bello Organic Play Mat – Organic Pick
- Clean, Safe Play Space for Babies, Toddlers and Kids
- Organic, Non-Toxic and Hypoallergenic, Made of Eco Friendly Materials
- Large and Spacious-Measures 55
Non-toxic mats are all well and good, but if you want to but absolutely certain of your child’s health, organic is the way to go.
The Baby Bello by Baby Mushroom is one of the best organic play mats on the market.
It is made in the USA and has a machine-washable cover that is made from 100% non-dyed cotton. Non-dyed does mean that you don’t have any color options, but it’s a fair trade if you want something organic.
It is a bit small in size being only a 4.6-foot square, but it is super thick at 1.25”.
The mat itself is made from plant-based foam, free from toxic materials, and has a waterproof layer for added protection under the cover. It is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth if needed.
One of the best parts about this mat is that it is made for travel. It rolls up easily and fastens closed to make it easy to carry and able to throw into the trunk of the car to go to grandma’s house.
The biggest downside, however, is the price. This mat will definitely cost you a pretty penny if organic is what you are looking for.
ProSource Kids Foam Puzzle Play Mat – Bargain Pick
- PROTECTIVE FLOORING - Durable, high density foam provides a gentle surface and protection for your child in areas with hard floors
- EASY ASSEMBLY - Interlocking puzzle pieces are quick & simple to assemble, easy to pull apart for storage and painless to clean
- 36 SQ. FEET - 36 interlocking puzzle pieces plus 24 border pieces, covers a 6'x6' area when combined; or just use a few tiles to cover a small area
When you think “classic play mat,” you likely think of multi-colored interlocking squares. There are several brands that sell these at a low price point, but one of the best is this one from ProSource.
This mat is great for playrooms and nurseries that need a little more cushion. It comes with 36 interlocking tiles with borders and creates a 6 by 6-foot square.
The tiles are made from non-toxic EVA foam that is slip-proof and water-resistant. It is a bit on the thin side, however, at only 3/8”.
There is no hassle when it comes to traveling with this mat. The tiles pull apart easily (which means your child may be able to do the same) and come with a zippered bag that can be used for storage or travel.
Just like with any interlocking mat, you can multiple sets and create a bigger play area if you need to, or you can only use a few if you need a smaller area.
There is no clear winner for this category as it all depends on your play mat needs and preference, but if I had to pick one Best Play Mats for Hardwood Floors, the Comfort Design mat would be my top pick.
You can ensure that your child will be safe thanks to the non-toxic foam and plushness of this mat. The designs are beautiful and the mat covers a large surface area so you can use it in place of a regular area rug if need be. There is also no need to worry about the mat being ruined by stains, dust, hair, or furniture indents.
What do you think? Do you have a play met you like that wasn’t on my list? Let us know and share with others.
Last update on 2018-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API