While adults need to have safe play areas, the main reason for most parents purchasing padded play mats is so that their baby can safely enjoy them. There are many different options on how to pick a padded play mat for a baby.
1. How old is my child?
Typically, babies younger than six months should not be on a play mat unsupervised because they could fall off or become stuck between gaps in the material. Once your child is past this stage, you’ll need to consider whether they will still fit if you continue using the same mat throughout their childhood. You may want them to use something with plenty of space as an older toddler. It will also depend on how often they visit places like baby cafes, requiring a standard baby mat for children under two years of age.
2. What types are available?
Padded play mats are available in various designs these days, with Jungle Book designs proving particularly popular. However, it would help if you did not assume that your child will like them because they appeal to you. You also need to consider how much space the mat takes up when rolled or folded away and whether it is suitable for traveling purposes if necessary. If your little one likes music, some mats even produce different sounds as they move around on them.
3. Size does matter!
As far as safety goes, the most important thing about any padded play mat in Australia is that it has sufficient depth so that your baby cannot become trapped. You might find that some of the smaller mats are not particularly deep, so you should check their measurements before you purchase. If your child is a crawler or learning to walk, they could also move around inside a tunnel-style mat and get stuck under a flap.
If there are gaps between the panels of any play mat, be aware that your baby could become wedged in them if it rolls up with them inside. It’s advisable to choose one where this isn’t likely to happen. In addition, make sure that any loops used for securing the mat together when not in use can fit snugly enough so that even small fingers cannot wriggle through them.
4. What do other parents think?
To make sure that you are making the right choice, it’s a good idea to ask friends and family for their recommendations before buying. It can be helpful to read some online reviews, too, especially if your child is particularly active on their playmat!
The most important thing is that your baby can enjoy safe playtime when crawling or walking around on the floor. You may decide to buy several mats to have one in every room where they spend lots of time playing with toys but bear in mind that this could cost more than you might expect. While the cheapest ones will probably suit your budget best, there are many different price ranges available, so you should be able to find something ideal for what you have in mind.