10 Best Non-Toxic Play Mats in 2022

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got 1,000 thoughts running through your head at any given time, all related to caring for your children and giving them the best possible start in life. For me, this includes finding the safest and most non-toxic products for our home. Below, I’ve shared the best non toxic play mats I’ve personally used in my own house, plus plenty of non toxic play mat alternatives in case my top picks don’t work for you.

Isolated white background with different baby play mats displayed like a collage. On top of the image is text that says "Non Toxic Play Mat Brands"

Play mats are a great way for babies and toddlers to explore their world. A good baby play mat offers a comfortable, familiar place for babies to play, helps to protect against bumps and scrapes, and perhaps even gives parents a few minutes of “me time” when baby is blissfully occupied!

While a safe, soft place for them to crawl, do tummy time activities, roll and play sounds great, there are definitely some play mats that use less than ideal materials.

Indeed, when it comes to play mats, there are a lot of different materials and chemicals that can be used in the “making of.”

In my opinion, not all of those materials are the safest choice for young children, whereas others come with pros and cons.

I wrote this post to go over the different materials and terms you might come across when shopping for baby play mats, and have tried to explain the good, the bad, and the so-so to help you make an informed decision.

Pinterest Pin with close up image of wooden toys on a non toxic foam Little Bot play mat with text that says 10 Super Safe Non-Toxic Baby Play Mats Organic and Non Toxic Foam

I’ve also picked 10 different non toxic play mats you might want to consider, breaking them down into play mats I have personal experience with, as well as a great selection of alternatives that look great based on research.

Most Cushioned for Crawlers

Best 3-in-1

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certified Filling

Little Bot Ofie Mat

Lovevery 3-in-1 Play Mat, Play Gym and Play Fort

Wee Gallery High Contrast Baby Play Mat

My Personal Experience Using These Play Mats

Of the mats I’ve reviewed below, I’ve personally owned and used 6 of them: a Little Bot Ofie Mat, a Lorena Canals Rug, the Lovevery Play Gym, the Wee Gallery Mat, a Finn + Emma play mat, and a Pehr mat. I offer my own personal experience with these products, and hope it helps you when it comes time to make with your own decision. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to use the other brands yet, including Finchandfolk, the Toki Mat, Wander & Roam, and Pillobebe. I am working to get my hands on many of these to test them out personally, and will update this post when I do.

Disclosure: Of the play mats I have personal experience with, I purchased all of them on my own, and didn’t receive free product from any of the companies. Finn + Emma provided me with a $50 gift card towards the purchase of any product on their website. I chose to put it towards a play mat and play gym bundle, so I could test both out, but still topped up the purchase with my own money.

My Big List of Best Non Toxic Play Mats

Best Non-Toxic Play Mat Brands (* Indicates Mats I’ve Tried Personally)

10 of the Best Non Toxic Play Mats Available

Best Non Toxic Foam Play Mat: Little Bot Offie Mat

Best Non Toxic Play Mat for Crawling and Learning to Sit

Tested in the US for safety, Little Bot Offie mats offer a super stylish, plush and reversible option that’s great for protecting little knees that are learning to crawl.
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Little Bot makes super stylish, thick TPU foam play mats that are tested in US labs for safety.

Little Bot Ofie Mat is my choice for the best non toxic play mat for older babies learning to crawl. It is the thickest of the mats I've tried and a great crawling mat
Our Little Bot Ofie Mat at home.

Certainly, TPU foam isn’t “natural” or “organic,” but I truly believe it has a place in many homes, at least for a certain age and stage.

While quilted cotton and poly organic play mats like the plush and beautiful Finn + Emma, developmentally focused Lovevery, high contrast Wee Gallery, super soft Pehr, and GOTS certified Finch and Folk, are amazing for babies who love to lie on their backs and tummies, there’s nothing quite like a non-toxic foam play mat for babies that are learning to sit, scootch, and crawl on their own (and are prone to accidents).

In I think where TPU shines is that it provides a lot more cushioning than cotton and polyester mats – the Little Bot mat is 0.6″ thick, which is great for babies who are prone to tipping and toppling over as they start to explore the world.

measuring tape shows the thickness of Little Bot Ofie non toxic play mats to be roughly 0.6" thick
Measuring the thickness of Little Bot Ofie non toxic play mats. While not an organic mat, the thickness is awesome for babies who are beginning to explore their world, bumps and all.
A woman's hand pushes down on the top of a non toxic foam safe play mat for babies and toddlers
My hand, pushing down on our Little Bot mat to show the cushioning.

The thickness of the foam really does provide a lot more protection for little limbs and heads.

Comparing the thickness of the Wee Gallery cotton baby play mat (left) vs the Little Bot Ofie non toxic foam play mat (right)
Thickness of the Wee Gallery organic play mat vs Little Bot non toxic foam play mat. It’s a bit hard to see in the photo, but the TPU foam of the Little Bot offers way more cushioning, which is why I think this is the best non toxic play mat for crawling babies and those learning to sit (but still tipping over).

Little Bot mats have a few cute, reversible patterns, including some great “grown up” looks that won’t make your living room look as though it’s covered in baby stuff.

Folded over Little Bot Ofie Mat showing the two reversible sides of the design (triangles and geometric lines). The thickness of the mat is visible as a comparison to the organic play mats, which are thinner and made of cotton (such as Pehr organic mat or Wee Gallery)
Reversible pattern on our Little Bot Ofie non toxic playmat.

While I really like our Ofie mat and am happy to recommend it, it’s not perfect. Once you’ve laid it out, it’s basically a piece of the furniture (similar to the Lorena Canals Rugs), and to store it again, you need to roll it up and it’s fairly bulky. If you want a non toxic foldable play mat, go with a cotton baby play mat from Wee Gallery, Pehr, or Finchandfolk.

Shop Little Bot on Amazon

Best Developmental Play Mat: The Play Gym by Lovevery

We give the Playgym by Lovevery 5/5

Best Educational Play Mat

The Lovevery is a great choice for families that are okay with a bit of polyester, along with organic cotton. In my opinion the vast range of features it offers makes it worth serious consideration.
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Size (Playmat Only): 37.9″ x 42.9″ when development zones are in “closed” position, and 50″ x 47″ when the developmental zones are in the “open” position. It is 23.9″ high with the gym setup.

Material: All parts of the gym are Standard 100 Certified by OEKO-TEX®. It uses FSC-certified wood, organic cotton (toys), baby-safe Silicone, and polyester. The fabric in the mat and play fort cover are polyester.

Colors/Design: One design to choose from

This is another one I have in my house, and can speak with personal experience on.

Lovevery play gym set up with the canopy cover
Set up with the canopy cover, which offers some shade if you want to take it outdoors, and becomes a fun fort once your baby is a bit older.

What I love about the Lovevery is its versatility. You can use it as a play mat only, and then also use it as a play gym and a cozy fort.

Lovevery play gym shown in three ways: as a play mat, as a play gym and as a cozy fort. The Play gym by lovevery is a top non toxic play mat because it is so versatile and built with development in mind
The 3 different ways to use it: as a play mat, as a play gym, and as a fort

It’s also very carefully designed with education in mind, with 5 different zones to engage your baby. You can read my full review of this play gym and mat here.

Lovevery play mat with all zones closed
The Playmat with 5 Zones when they are “closed”
Lovevery Play Gym baby play mat against an isolated white background with labels and arrows superimposed to show the 5 developmental zones. The labels say...
And the Playmat with the 5 zones when they are “open”

The play mat is made of polyester, which I am okay with (hence why I own one of these!) but I know some families don’t like the polyester, which is fine. As this product is Standard 100 Certified by OEKO-TEX®, it’s been screened to be free from 350 regulated and unregulated substances deemed harmful to human health.

My personal opinion is the versatility of this mat (mat + gym + fort) plus the carefully designed educational and developmental aspects of it make it well worth your consideration.

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Luxury Pick: Finn + Emma Play Mats

Most Luxurious

Boho chic Finn + Emma mats are larger than many other baby play mats, with a super padded bumper around the edge to contain your baby and give them some extra cushioning if they take a tumble.
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Finn + Emma makes insanely stylish baby play mats (and products) that you won’t mind having take over your house, with a distinctive boho look to them.

finn + emma organic cotton play mat

Their round play mats are larger than a lot of others on this list – 44″ x 44″ – and have a super thick, padded bumper around the entire perimeter. When I measured my Finn + Emma mat, I found the bumper stands was about 6.5″ tall, which is a ton of padding for a wobbly little one who tumbles over now and again.

Measuring tape measures finn and emma play mat bumper thickness (~6.5")

The size and bumper padding make this made a great choice for a few ages and stages:

  • Infants lying on their tummies and backs get a super soft and padded area with the security of feeling enclosed by the bumper
  • Babies learning to sit up will have a bumper to protect them for the inevitable tip-overs
  • Older babies that are learning to crawl can be contained in the play mat (at least in the early stages of crawling) if you don’t want them to have unfettered access to the room for a few minutes.

Finn + Emma uses GOTS certified fabrics and yarns, and the products are flame retardant free. As with the Wee Gallery, Finchandfolk, and Pehr mats, the outer part is organic cotton (cover and fringe) and the inner parts are 100% Polyester. It’s a machine washable cover for easy cleanups, and there are handles on the sides for moving it around your house.

tag on the finn + emma non toxic baby play mat shows it is made of organic cotton and polyester

You can bundle the play mat with their wooden play gym on their websites, or bundle a play mat with a lounge mat. The mat actually ships in two pieces – the cover, and the bumper – making it a lot more compact than you might expect!

Individual components of the Finn and Emma play mat including the padded bumper and the play mat cover

It also comes with a sturdy storage bag, which is great if you want to put the mat away after baby #1, and save it for future kids.

Katie from Green Active Family holding a finn and emma canvas bag filled with the Finn and Emma play mat

Overall, I think this is a great and gorgeous choice, although it comes with a heftier price tag than some others, especially if you aren’t US-based and have to pay for shipping and currency conversion. Bundling with the play gym is good value if you need a gym, too!

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Best for Infants and Young Babies: Wee Gallery Play Mats

We give Wee Gallery mats 5/5

Best Cotton Play Mat for Babies

If you love the developmental features of the Lovevery, but want something a bit simpler, consider Wee Gallery baby mats, which have gorgeous high contrast graphics to engage baby’s brain.
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Size (Playmat Only): 40″ x 40″

Material: Organic cotton and Oeko-tex polyester filling

Colors/Design: Explore Organic Playmat (also available in the circular Safari mat)

Wee Gallery is a parent-founded company known for its stylish, high-contrast graphics – which are great for eye and brain development! I’m a big fan of the Wee Gallery products, and have this mat in our house, so can speak from personal experience.

Organic cotton mat from Wee Gallery featuring high contrast design. My pick for the best non toxic play mat for babies made from cotton
Our Wee Gallery Explore mat

The company makes adorable play mats, which use organic materials for the outer cover (organic cotton, organic muslin, organic voile) and Oeko-tex certified poly-fill (polyester filling).

Whether you can call them organic play mats with a polyester filling is debatable, but the poly filling does meet the strict OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, certifying it to be free from flame retardants, BPA, and other harmful substances, as well as using GOTS certified organic cotton and non toxic dyes.

The mats are reversible, featuring high contrast black and white images on both sides.

Close up of the two sides of the Wee gallery baby play mat organic cotton cover
Reversible pattern on the Wee Gallery Explore Mat

Research shows babies are able to focus on high contrast images in infancy, despite not their retina not being fully developed yet. Offering your baby high contrast black and white images or patterns therefore helps them focus and put their limited eyesight to use.

Close up of the Wee Gallery label on a Wee Gallery natural play mat made from an organic cotton cover

In this way, I look at the Wee Gallery play mat as a simpler alternative to the Lovevery Play Gym and mat – it’s still created with your baby’s development in mind, but is focused on being a play mat, rather than a mat/gym/fort all-in-one combo as with the Lovevery.

Because it’s simpler, however, it’s also not going to last you as long as a Lorena Canals rug or the Lovevery Play Gym. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth considering.

Play mat of the Lovevery Play Gym (left) and the Wee Gallery Explore play mat (right) on a bare floor
Lovevery vs Wee Gallery

That said, because it’s simpler, it’s also easier to move out of the way if you want your living room to look more adult for a bit. The Lorena Canals rug is really more of a “piece of the furniture” kind of thing, and the Lovevery is easy to move if it’s not set up as a play gym, but takes a bit more time to put away when used with the gym setup.

Our Wee Gallery mat has a good amount of padding and cushioning (when I touch and push on our Wee Gallery and our Lovevery mats myself, I think the Wee Gallery has more cushioning than the Lovevery mat). It’s also super soft to the touch.

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Best for Lasting for Years Lorena Canals All Natural Rugs

We give Lorena Canals Rugs 5/5

Most Versatile

Made of all natural materials and non-toxic natural dyes, Lorena Canals rugs are plush, super soft, and made from safe materials you can feel confident about.

See the Different Designs & Size Options

Size: Various

Material: Cotton, Wool, All Natural Dyes

Colors/Design: A Huge Variety of Designs to Choose From, including this gorgeous Alphabet motif or Vintage Map motif (different from mine).

I have a map motif Lorena Canals rug in my own house, so I can speak with personal experience about how awesome they are. (I have also used a Ruggable washable rug, and also found it extremely convenient to be able to machine wash it).

A Lorena Canals washable rug in a monochrome grey world map motif on a floor
Our Lorena Canals rug at home

What I like about the Lorena Canals rug over the Ruggable for a baby play mat is the materials.

Lorena Canals uses natural materials (mostly cotton and wool) and non toxic natural dyes for safety.

Up close of a label on a Lorena Canals rug showing it is handmade made of 100% cotton, with non toxic dyes, is ecofriendly, and with care instructions listed

The obvious plus of using something like this, instead of a large play mat, is the versatility. Once your kiddo doesn’t need a play mat anymore, it works well in their bedroom or in a rec room as an area rug. We use ours in our daughter’s room and she loves how soft it is on her feet.

Before buying our Lorena Canals rug, I wondered if it would be thick enough to work as a baby play mat.

Feeling ours with my own two hands (and feet), it is actually pretty thick and super soft. Comparing this rug to a super thick foam-style baby play mat like a Toki Mat or a Wander and Roam, there’s definitely less cushioning.

But comparing the level of cushioning in my Wee Gallery Mat, my Pehr cotton quilted mat, and my Lovevery Play Gym, they offer about equal cushioning when I test it out.

What I really like about the Lorena Canals rug is it can last beyond the baby stage, and you can use it as a normal area rug well into the future.

And buying stuff that can last a long time is a better choice for the planet (this is one of the reasons I love the Lovevery Play gym as a play mat, too).

A woman's hand showing the underside of a Lorena Canals washable rug.
The underside of my Lorena Canals rug.
A woman's hand pinches the corner of a Lorena Canals washable rug to show how thick it is for people considering this rug as a non toxic baby play mat alternative
Pinching the corner of our Lorena Canals rug to show the thickness. The carpet pile makes it super soft and comfy to walk on.

Learn More and Shop Lorena Canals Rugs at The Tot

Alternative Cotton Mat: Pehr Organic Play Mats

Alternative Cotton Play Mat

Another great option if you’re looking for a super soft play mat with an organic cotton outer cover.
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Size: 40″ diameter

Material: Cotton percale, cotton trim, and polyfill inner layer.

Colors/Design: Multiple designs; the one pictured that I own is the Celestial motif, but they also have a Magical Forest motif, a Botanica motif, a Life Aquatic theme, and an adorable Happy Days rainbow motif. You can see all Pehr products on The Tot, here.

Pehr organic play mats are soft and lovely, using an organic cotton outer cover, polyfill filling, and all natural dyes (no azo dyes here!).

They are extremely soft, and I want to bury my face in it every time I touch it.

Close up of the Pehr cotton celestial print baby play mat

The Pehr mat is also a great size, measuring 40″ across, including the fringe, according to Pehr, but 38″ across according to my measuring tape (maybe it shrank a bit in the wash? Or maybe my measuring skills are lacking?)

Edge of a Pehr baby play mat with measuring tape to show it measures between 38" across (not including the fringe) and 40" across (including the fringe)

Beyond that, I also appreciate that Pehr has a low packaging ethos. Since mid 2019, they haven’t used any vinyl packaging. That’s a big plus for me. Additionally, they’ve reduced packaging where possible, and use fabric bags made from excess fabric when packaging is required.

The Pehr mats have a quilted construction, made of organic cotton (the cover) and polyester filling (the insides).

In terms of thickness and padding, the Pehr feels about the same thickness as the Wee Gallery mat. Both the Pehr and the Wee Gallery feel thicker than the Lovevery mat.

Pehr baby play mat (left) and Wee Gallery baby play mat (right) on a floor. Both can be used as a non toxic foldable play mat when you need to put it away for storage
The Pehr mat (left) and the Wee Gallery mat (right) offer about the same amount of padding.

This makes them a great choice for families set on an organic cotton play mat, and they’re incredibly soft with great designs to choose from. They are also all double sided, which is great if you have a mess, but no time to do the laundry (just flip it over), or just to add some variety to your baby.

Pehr baby play mat in Celestial pattern showing the yellow and white striped side up.
Pehr eco friendly play mat made from organic cotton showing the reversible two sided design
Pehr baby play mat in Celestial pattern showing the cream colored side up.

On the downside, I find them a bit less versatile than a Lorena Canals rug (which can be an area rug for years to come) or the Lovevery Play Gym (which does triple duty as a play mat, play gym and cozy fort, and is thoughtfully designed to support eye and brain development). Realistically, this mat is going to probably last you through infancy and the “sitting up supported” stage, but not that far beyond.

I’d say the Pehr mat is quite comparable to the Wee Gallery mat, based on my experience owning both of them. Whether you prefer one or the other might come down to aesthetics, whether the high contrast design of the Wee Gallery is important to you, and price. That said, I really do appreciate that Wee Gallery uses Oeko-tex polyester filling (FinchandFolk also does; Pehr does not, based on my knowledge). That plus the developmental-focused design (high contrast) puts it a bit ahead of the Pehr in my books.

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Alternative Cotton Baby Mat: Finchandfolk GOTS Organic & Oeko-Tex certified Polyfill Play Mat

Quilted Baby Mat Alternative

An adorable, whimsical and gender neutral option that’s extra large. Finchandfolk is an Australian designer, and the extra large mats are handmade in India by a family business.
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Size: 47″

Material: Oeko-tex 100 certified polyester padding; GOTS organic cotton sateen cover.

Colors/Design: World Map (featured), but Finchandfolk also makes mats in other sizes and designs, including the adorable Explore the World mat, as well as circle mats, such as this LaLa Land motif.

Finchandfolk mats are a great Etsy option, if you love supporting smaller makers.

As with Wee Gallery, Finchandfolk uses GOTS organic cotton for the outer cover, and Oeko-tex 100 certified polyester for the padding. Also similar to Wee Gallery, the images on the Finchandfolk playmats are mostly high contrast, which babies love, and supports eyesight and brain development.

Finchandfolk gets rave reviews on Etsy (at the time of writing, it’s a 5/5 star shop), and despite being an Australian company producing in India, shipping doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Learn More or Shop the FinchandFolk storefront on Etsy

Latex Choice: Toki Mats Padded Play Mats with Organic Insert

Natural Latex Play Mat

Made of almost all natural materials, Toki Mats use natural dunlop latex as the padded insert, which is a great natural alternative to synthetic or plant foams.
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Size: The Standard size mat is 40″ x 40″ and 1″ thick

Material: GOLS certified organic latex foam (also available in non organic) and organic cotton cover

Colors/Design: Bloom (pictured), plus other lovely options!

Toki mats are a great option for families looking for organic play mats that are mostly made of all natural materials (I say mostly, because things like zippers are decidedly not “natural”).

The company is parent owned, with a mission to make the safest baby play mats on the market.

The inner cushion on Toki mats are made of natural dunlop latex. You can buy either a conventional (made of Oeko-Tex certified dunlop latex) or organic (made of GOLS certified organic dunlop latex) latex inner mat.

The outer part of the Toki mats are made of a fabric cover which zips open on both sides – great for removing to wash.

For the cover, Toki offers either a GOTS certified organic cotton cover in various patterns, or a Oeko-Tex certified PU leather cover. While PU leather is far from my favorite, I feel okay that this one is Oeko-Tex certified, at least from a safety and human health perspective.

I think the Toki Mats are a great choice if you want the plush padding of a foam play mat.

However, it won’t work for families that want to avoid latex, as the insert is made from Dunlop latex.

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TPU Foam Mat Alternative: Wander & Roam

TPU Foam Play Mat Alternative

These popular and stylish non toxic foam play mats are made from TPU foam, which are BPA, PVC, & formamide free.
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TPU is considered safe and non-toxic, and I’d be happy to have a Wander & Roam mat in my own house. But I accept this is a personal choice, and some families will be happier with an all natural mat, or mats that use more familiar materials, like polyester.

I like that Wander & Roam mats are a single piece, which means less messing around with tiles that get detached from one another, and fewer cracks and crevices for goldfish crackers to get squished into.

The designs are also quite lovely for a living room or play room.

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Final Option: Pillobebe Corki Mat Play Mats

I’ve left Pillobebe until the end because, while the mats look really cool, they also seem to be mostly out of stock at the time of writing, and the CorkiMat listed on their Etsy shop seems different than the original cover + inserts system.

Pillobebe is a small, family run business born out of the fact that new parents, Alex and Lauren, wanted a safe, formamide-free play mat for their son.

Seeing a gap in the market, they developed the CorkiMat® as well as an organic cotton play mat.

The CorkiMat® is a “cover + inserts” system – each mat is made up of multiple insert tiles that fit into an organic cotton cover. I like that the CorkiMat® is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. However, the company is pretty light on what the insert tiles are actually made of.

According to an old Kickstarter video, the tile inserts are made up of bamboo fiber, layers of cork, and bamboo and cotton padding.

Their Etsy shop lists polyester padding, with an organic cotton cover.

Overall this seems like it could be a cool option, but I definitely need a bit more info.

What Exactly Do We Mean by “Non Toxic Play Mats”

First, it’s worth stating, that all products meant for babies and children sold in the United States have to pass certain safety standards.

Unfortunately, a lot of parents (myself included) feel that some of those safety standards aren’t safe enough – especially when it comes to chemicals used in kids products, such as fire retardants and phthalates, for example.

That said, I recognize different families have different comfort levels with different materials in their homes, that many families also want to consider the environment in the purchases they make, and that budgets need to be considered when buying all the baby gear.

While some parents will want an organic cotton play mat using only natural materials, others will be comfortable with TPU foam play mats.

Likewise, some families will be okay with standard polyester filling, and others will prefer Oeko-Tex certified polyester only.

Different strokes for different folks, as they say!

Ultimately, my goal in writing this post is to give you the information you need so you can decide for yourself what’s best for your family.

Materials and Chemicals I Avoid

  • EVA Foam Play Mats – Originally billed as a safe alternative to PVC, EVA foam came under fire around 2010 when kids play mats were found to contain formamide, a known carcinogen. Since then, the EU has limited the amount of formamide allowed in EVA foam mats, whereas other governments (Canada, Australia) have found formamide levels contained in these mats aren’t high enough to cause concern. I haven’t included any EVA foam mats on this list. Even though there’s a lot of evidence pointing to EVA being safe, there are a number of great alternatives out there, so there’s no real need to use EVA given the plethora of choice.
  • Polyurethane FoamI’m not a fan of polyurethane foam for reasons I’ve previously explained (hint: the flame retardants are a big part of it). As such, I generally try to avoid it for products my daughter uses, such as her crib mattress, and now her big kid mattress. Polyurethane foam play mats are a hard no based on my own comfort level.
  • Plant Based Foam – Plant based foam is, in my opinion, not a great alternative to polyurethane foam. As I’ve explained previously, while the polyols used in making foam can be 100% plant derived, the isocyanates required to make foam still need to come from petroleum. While plant based foam may be better for human and environmental health, I think it’s far from perfect, and it’s a pass for me.
  • PVC – More commonly known as vinyl (sometimes vegan leather or pleather is PVC), PVC seems like bad news for the environment and contains phthalates and other bad chemicals. According to the State of New Jersey’s Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities, “PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children.” I avoid buying PVC for my kid (it is especially common in bath toys). PVC play mats are a hard pass in my book, and in my opinion, these could definitely be classified as toxic foam play mats.
  • Flame retardants – Fire retardants are a broad class of chemicals that may be linked to a number of health concerns, including reduced IQ and learning disorders, fertility problems, thyroid disruption, and cancer. I look for play mats free from flame retardants.
  • PhthalatesAn everywhere chemical I’ve written about before, phthalates are endocrine disruptors and may be associated with social and cognitive and asthma. I think phthalate free products is a worthy, but challenging, goal for parents.
  • BPA (and BPS, which is less regulated) – These days, we’re pretty much all programmed to buy BPA free plastics, but BPS has replaced BPA in many products and may come with similar concerns. Worth keeping an eye out for, and ideally choose products specifically labelled BPS free.
  • VOCs – When people talk about concerns with off-gassing, they’re really talking about Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are a broad class of chemical that are mostly gaseous and vapor-producing at room temperature, meaning they leave the physical product they were contained in, and go into the air we breath.
  • AZO Dyes – Many azo dyes – used in up to 70% of textile production – are suspected to be carcinogenic, along with being linked to other human health and environmentally unfriendly issues. In an ideal world, all baby and kids products (and, if I’m at it, adult products) would use azo free dyes.

Materials in the Middle

  • TPU Foam – TPU is has been billed as a safer, formamide-free alternative to EVA foam mats. I’d generally be fine with it in my house, even though others really don’t like it. It’s certainly not “natural” or “organic,” but I think it’s a relatively reasonable choice based on the currently available evidence. From a health perspective, TPU is used in a number of medical products, doesn’t off-gas VOCs, and is phthalate free. If you’re concerned about the slight risk of formamide in EVA foam play mats, but you want a really cushiony play mat, TPU might be a better choice for your family.
  • XPE Foam – XPE is another type of foam that’s billed as safer than PVC, and some sources suggest it’s safer than EVA, as well. That said, XPE tends to be thinner and not as plush or cushioning as TPU. I figure if you’re set on getting a non toxic foam play mat, you might as well get a thick, cushiony one, or go for the thinner more natural materials. Because of this, I haven’t included XPE foam mats on this list.
  • PU Leather or Bicast Leather – Like PVC, PU leather is an alternative leather. I’m aware of one brand of play mats using PU leather, and they use a bicast leather that uses part of an actual cowhide in combination with a polyurethane plastic layer. PU may be better than PVC, but it’s certainly far from being environmentally friendly, and harmful chemicals are used during manufacturing. While it’s better than PVC, I don’t love it. In fact, this is an “avoid” for me, with one exception: Toki is one company that uses OEKO-TEX® certified PU leather to be free from harmful-to-humans chemicals.

What Materials Are Safe for Baby Play Mats?

  • Cotton – There are a fair number of cotton options available, and an organic cotton play mat is a great choice for families who want a natural play mat (GOTS certified organic cotton is even better!).
  • Polyester – Polyester is far from perfect, but it’s also ubiquitous and has come a long way in terms of the certifications that exist to ensure it’s safe. Pretty much every cotton quilted play mat I found and have personally used also contain polyester of some sort. If you’re concerned about polyester, look for OEKO-TEX® certified polyester.
  • PET/PETE -I haven’t included a PET based mat in this post, but I still think the Nook play mats are pretty cool. While this certainly disqualifies this product from being called an organic play mat, I included it because I like the product and the ethos behind diverting plastic from the landfill. You can read more about my opinions on PET here.
  • Cork – Good enough for keeping our wine fresh, good enough for an organic play mat? In all seriousness, cork is a natural material, which I love, but you do need to still watch out for any glues used, and beware it’s not as cushioning a material for bumps and tip overs.

Non-toxic play mat FAQs

What Age is a Play Mat For?

Baby play mats can be used for infants from the first week of life for short spurts of tummy time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you start supervised tummy time almost immediately for babies that were carried to term, and a baby play mat is a safe and comfortable place to do this. As your baby grows, there play mat needs may shift from an organic cotton mat that’s soft and slightly quilted for lying on their back and tummy, to a thicker and more padded baby crawling mat made from non toxic foam.

Are baby play mats worth it?

For most families, play mats are a worthwhile investment for their baby. Families with hard floors – such as wood, laminate, ceramic, or concrete, will certainly want something soft, warm and cozy for their baby to lie on during play time and tummy time, even from the earliest days. Families with carpets may or may not need a baby play mat. You’ll want to consider how clean your carpets are, how soft to the touch they are, and whether they can easily be washed if your baby spits up on the carpet. For most families, a baby play mat is an affordable and easy way to keep baby safe and comfortable, and protect flooring from accidents. A woman's hand pushes down on the top of a non toxic foam safe play mat for babies and toddlers

Can babies crawl on playmats?

Play mats tend to come in two different styles. Small, round quilted mats made out of cotton and polyester are mostly intended for babies that don’t yet move around on their own. You can use this style of mat until your baby starts to crawl. Once your baby is moving on their own, you might want to invest in a non toxic baby crawling mat, which tends to be larger and thicker than infant mats, giving your baby space to move around while protecting them from bumps and falls. A Pehr organic floor mat (left) and a Wee Gallery organic baby playmat sit on top of a Little Bot Ofie non toxic playmat to show the size difference between the two organic play mat brands vs the non toxic foam mat, which is much larger

Do toddlers need a play mat?

Play mats make play time more comfortable for toddlers, and and we have continued to use some sort of mat in our own house to protect our carpet from our toddler, as well as give her somewhere comfortable to sit while we are playing on the floor (which is often). Close up of the Little Bot Ofie non toxic foam mat with triangle design with toys on it. Play mats are great for babies to practice moving and stay safe, but also good for toddlers to play on

Are foam play mats toxic?

While foam play mats are popular among parents of young children, there is some concern about their safety.
Many foam mats are made with PVC, a type of plastic that can release harmful chemicals into the air. In addition, the mats are often brightly colored and may contain lead or other heavy metals, or concerns with their dyes.
EVA has been billed as safer than PVC, but there is a lingering concern about formamide, leading to these mats being temporarily banned by several EU countries before being regulated.
Next generation foam play mats are often made of TPU, which gives you the cushion of PVC and EVA, without the concerns. TPU is widely used in other applications, including the medical field. It also has the advantage of being phthalate free, formamide free, and doesn’t off-gas. Wander & Roam and Little Bot are two brands making TPU mats.
If you choose to use a foam play mat, it’s definitely worth looking for a brand and manufacturer you trust, and one that uses independent third party testing to certify they are safe. If you buy a foam mat made from anything other than TPU (or natural latex), you may also want to leave it in a well ventilated area for a few weeks before bringing it inside for your baby to use. This can help reduce risk from off gassing.

What are the benefits of foam play mat?

For children, a foam play mat can provide a safe, cushioned surface for crawling, rolling, and playing. The cushioned surface helps to protect against falls, and the bright colors and patterns can stimulate a child’s visual and tactile senses.

Foam play mats are also relatively lightweight, making them easy to store away when not in use.

Finally, foam mats are really easy to clean up, which makes it easier to let your baby have some diaper free time.

While foam play mats have a lot of benefits, they’re not as portable as an organic play mat made from cotton. If you’re looking for a non toxic foldable play mat, look for a quilted organic cotton mat, which is easy to throw in your bag and take to the park or grandparents’ houses!

Non Toxic Play Mat vs Organic Play Mat

Fortunately, there are some good choices for safe, non-toxic play mats on the market today. These “most natural” play mats are usually made from natural materials like natural rubber, cork, wool, or organic cotton, and they provide a safe and healthy place for kids to play. A Lorena Canals Rug is a good example of this, made from natural materials, as is the Toki Mat

There are also “in between” mats that I still personally love, which use polyester (some use OEKO-TEX certified polyester, which is a great choice if you’re concerned about it). These include the Lovevery Play Gym, the Wee Gallery Mat, the Pehr mat, Finchandfolk, and Finn + Emma mats.

Whether you decide you’re looking for organic play mats only, or you’re happy to get one of the non toxic play mats that uses some synthetic or non organic material is up to you.

Fortunately, there’s a fairly wide variety of options available these days, so there is sure to be a non-toxic play mat that works for your family!


If you’re looking for a safe and comfortable place for your little one to play, the best non-toxic play mat is a great option. With so many benefits for children of all ages, these mats are a great investment for any family.

Not only will your child appreciate having a comfortable place to play indoors or outdoors, but you can also feel good knowing that you’ve made a healthy and eco-friendly choice.

Have you decided to get your little one a play mat? Now is the time! Give your child the safe and healthy environment they deserve with a new play mat.

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