As parents, it is always normal to want the best for your kids. You want to make sure you get every necessary gear needed for your child’s comfort, safety, and happiness.
You’d want your little one to play on the floor, but you may consider the floor too hard (especially when there is no rug). In such a situation, buying a baby play mat would be your following line of action.
But the question is, do you really need a baby play mat or baby play gym? What are the benefits of having the mat? Is it always safe to use a baby play mat?
We will provide clear answers to these questions and many more in this article. To begin, let’s understand what a baby play mat is.
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Table of Contents
What Are Baby Playmats?
A playmat is an attractive interactive surface that babies can spend some time on. These mats are made with special materials that provide safety and comfort to babies.
People refer to a play mat in various ways. Apart from being called a play mat, some people call it a play gym, a floor mat, or an activity gym. So, if you come across any of these words, it means the same thing.
If you want your baby to be out of the bassinet for some time, a play mat could be a great place to have your little one. These playmats come in various shapes, sizes, and themes, and help babies to relax and have fun.
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Are Baby Playmats Necessary?
A baby play mat is not something you must have, but it is something you should consider buying for your kids. While some parents are okay laying their babies on the rug or blanket, so far, a playmat tends to give the best experience.
The bright colors of play mats coupled with the themes and toys that come with them make the mats sort of special. Also, the mats are made of soft materials that give babies the best comfort and grips.
However, if you think the rug in your home is soft enough for your little one, and there are no pets to mess with the rug, you may not bother having a play mat. You can also choose to spread blankets on the floor for your baby.
Therefore, while a baby play mat may not be necessary, it is a baby product parents should consider having. If you are not financially limited, you should get one for your baby.
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What Are The Benefits Of A Playmat?
Playmats are designed to meet some specific needs in the lives of babies as they develop. Below are some of the benefits of playmats to babies.
The bright colors and different textures of playmats can keep your baby engaged for hours. Babies are naturally curious and like touching things that look strange to them.
Playmats come with features that provide children with the best sensory experiences. Some mats have sensory objects attached to them and some have music incorporated into them for better interaction with your baby.
The crinkly fabric of these mats can leave your child puzzled for a long time.
Play Mats are educational in that they help in children’s development. Some of the early development your child will enjoy by using a playmat include eye coordination, visual focus, fine motor skills, logic and reasoning, hand coordination, and how to recognize things such as colors, numbers, shapes, letters, etc.
Portable And Convenient For Outdoor Activities
If you want your baby to enjoy the fun of outdoor activities, having a baby play mat is a great thing to do. You can easily pack the mat and lay it anywhere you want it.
Floor mats are portable, lightweight, and compact. You don’t need to struggle to move the mat to any location, yet they offer maximum fun time to babies.
Therefore, instead of carrying bulky playthings like bouncers or swings, a playmat can be used to provide the same amount of fun for your little one.
Safety And Versatility
Since a floor mat is always on the floor, there is no worry of a baby falling. Rest assured that your child is safe while having fun in the play gym.
Also, there are no loose materials on the mat that would pose a hazard to your child, and the mat is soft and won’t hurt your baby.
However, you shouldn’t leave your little one all alone without any supervision.
In terms of versatility, a play gym is suitable for babies of different age groups. You can use a floor mat for many years as long as you maintain it.
Cleaning the mat is also less stressful as you can either wipe it or machine-wash it. For those planning to present a gift to a new mom, a play gym with sensory attachments can be a perfect gift.
Strengthening The Back And Neck Muscles
Having a floor mat at home can be a good place for your child to start strengthening his or her back and neck muscles. It is a wonderful place for a child to start crawling, sitting, and holding the neck in position.
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What Are Baby Play Mats Made Of?
Playmats are made from different materials, ranging from rubber, and fabrics, to papers. Nonetheless, regardless of the materials used, most playmats tend to be comfortable and have good grips for babies.
As a parent, your major concern should be how safe the materials are. Some of the materials used for making these gym mats contain harmful chemicals.
Babies have delicate skins and their immune systems are not strong enough to tolerate some chemicals. For this reason, parents need to be wary of the materials used for making play mats.
Buying a toxic playmat for your baby could lead to skin irritation, respiratory tract issues, sore eyes, and hormone disruption.
Even though most brands claim their product is 100% non-toxic, unfortunately, the statement is not usually true. Some of the harmful chemicals to be wary of when buying a playmat for your little one include the following:
- PFAS chemicals
- flame retardants
- PVC or Vinyl
- BPA and Phthalates
At the end of this article, you will see our top 3 playmats that are free from harmful chemicals.
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Are Playmats Safe For Babies?
Most of the playmats on the marketplace are safe for babies. However, some of the brands still use some chemicals that are not 100% friendly to kids.
When buying a playmat, make sure you get the one that is non-toxic and comfortable for your kids. You shouldn’t have any issue if you choose from one of the three playmats listed at the end of this article.
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How Many Play Mats Do You Need?
Typically, one playmat should be okay for you. However, since playmats come with different features, some parents deem it necessary to have up to two playmats.
It all depends on what you want. If you have the money and enough space in your home, you can go to any limit just to make your little one happy. There is no specific number as to how many playmats you need.
Again, since babies outgrow these mats quickly, you may not want to invest so much in them by buying many. Playmats are portable and lightweight, which means you can easily carry and spread them anywhere you want them to be.
Nevertheless, if you bought one already and came across another with unique features, you can go for it if money is never an issue.
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When Is The Right Time To Introduce Your Baby To A Playmat?
You can introduce your baby to a playmat as soon as you want. Parents use playmats for newborns without any issues. However, it is better to wait until after maybe 3 to 4 months after birth.
In the first few weeks after birth, the bassinet is the safest place to keep your baby. A bassinet is confined, cozy, and kind of mimics the womb (an environment babies are used to).
At about 3 to 4 months old when babies begin to roll over, they can start using the playmat. A playmat is great for tummy time and helps in organ development and general body coordination.
What Is The Cost Of A Baby Play Mat?
There is no definite price for a baby play mat. While some can cost as low as $30, some can go for as high as $200. On average, you should be looking at about $70 to get one.
So many things come to play when determining the price of a floor mat – the style and the features of the mat. However, with the range of options available in the marketplace, you should be able to find one that matches your budget.
If you are planning on buying a non-toxic baby play gym or baby play mat for your little one, choosing one from the three below should be perfect for your baby.
Final Words – Are Baby Playmats Worth It?
Baby playmats are worth it but are not compulsory requirements. If you have the funds and are ready to go any length for your child, getting one of these mats would be great.
Floor mats are soft, have good grips, and tend to be more attractive than rugs or blankets. Babies tend to differentiate between play mats and blankets because most play mats have unique features.
Therefore, if you are interested in getting one and have the funds, nothing should stop you from doing you.