The baby foam mat is practical, decorative and washable. It is an indispensable tool to promote the development of the child, as the mat of awakening, including motor skills, visual perception and cognitive development. Unfortunately, some foam puzzle mats have been removed from the shelves in several European countries because of toxin emanation. All the more reason to learn a lot before choosing a model of baby's foam carpet!
What's a baby foam play mat?
Foam play mats are designed to create a safe place for young children to play. Usually, these products are made with materials that provide shock absorption. Some models have designs that catch the child's attention.
These play mats are generally slip resistant in addition to being light, which makes them easily transportable. Children appreciate them because they are a favorite place to enjoy toys and experiment with various types of movements without any risk of bobo.
What use a foam puzzle mat?
The foam mat is the best place to leave a baby, so he can discover both his body and his environment. On a carpet, a baby will be able to experience his motor skills freely, that is to say without constraint or embarrassment, to perform gestures and develop its support on the ground.
The child has enough space to stretch, wrap, gradually change support, stretch out in any direction, move and raise the head, turn to the side and to the stomach, and eventually, start crawling, sitting down, and eventually ... start walking.
Baby learns to build its global motor skills (movements, tonicity, support) and fine motor skills (tactile sense, manual input). The baby foam mat also helps explore this new world around it with objects, in addition to exercising vision from near and far.
Benefits of a baby foam mat
The baby foam mat offers many benefits. Certain criteria should be considered beforehand in a judicious choice of carpets, in particular safety, comfort, practicality, ease of cleaning, and bright colors.
Safety is undoubtedly the most important factor to be considered in a choice of carpets. The product must correspond to the age of the child, that is to say that the thickness is sufficient to absorb shocks with a good quality of depreciation. The carpet also protects the child from moisture or freshness from the floor. The minimum sufficient thickness is 2 centimeters. If you want to make the carpet thicker, you can slip a blanket underneath, but never over the carpet, at least not until baby is able to turn his head on his own.
Since the child will be asked to spend time on his baby foam mat, it is comfortable and soft. However, the softness should be firm enough and well padded, to prevent the child has back pain. Too much fluffiness could cause the baby to choke on the mat.
In addition, the mat should be large enough for the child to move, crawl, roll, etc. If it is less than one meter away, the carpet may quickly become too small.
A baby foam mat is handy for easy everyday use. Its installation and storage usually does not require much time. Foldable baby foam mats, which have a bag, or a handle, are more practical in terms of storage.
Easy to clean
Like most baby products, a good foam puzzle mat is easy to clean. The child could regurgitate food. It could also occur diaper leakage during certain movements of the baby. Pay attention to the material of manufacture, preferably in foam, fabric or plastic.
If you have pets, or are not avid users of the vacuum cleaner, avoid fabrics such as velvet, on which hair and dust tend to cling.
Do not think about matching the colors of a baby foam carpet with the decor! This product is not meant to please you as parents, but it is dedicated to the development of the child. Since the vision of babies is not optimal at first, opt for bright and contrasting colors that will hold the attention of baby, and that will contribute to its awakening.
Is the foam play mat dangerous for your kid?
In 2010, Belgium issued a ban on the sale of baby foam mats for an indefinite period, since a majority of those tested in laboratories revealed the presence of novice materials and toxic for the health of children. France has also suspended the marketing of these products.
However, there are still no comprehensive studies providing a formal scientific demonstration of the long-term dangers of exposure to baby foam carpets.
Toxic substances found in carpets made from vinyl ethylene acetate (EVA) include ammonia, acephenonone and formamide, solvents used to soften rubber and plastic materials. These substances are harmful when they come in contact with the skin, or when they are inhaled.
Belgian laboratories have shown that formamide emanates from new foam puzzle mats, with fumes decreasing after a few weeks. Foam slab can produce irritation to the eyes and skin when there is a high presence of formamide.
The impact of potentially toxic products is proportional to the magnitude of exposure or dose. Nowadays, houses are becoming more and more airtight. The air that circulates there is often more polluted than that which is on the outside. By getting in the habit of regularly airing the house, regardless of the season, you will help maintain a better air quality in your home. Just open the windows and the door for a few minutes to replace the air.
Since 2010, some companies have developed non-toxic baby foam carpet products. Pay attention to the composition of the product, avoiding the following substances: formaldehyde, flame retardant, PVC, toluene, benzene, lead, phthalates, xylenes, styrenes, bisphenol A and S, and nitric dyes.
Choosing between a baby foam mat or a play mat?
The play mat is usually full of toys and animations, which are suspended along an arch, and allow baby to have fun in a reclining position. The materials and textures are pleasant for the child. However, many agree that these products create too much stimulation.
The downside with the play mats is that the available space for the baby is not very big. So, from a certain number of months (10 or 12), the baby is a little stuck.
On the other hand, the baby foam mat makes it possible to enjoy a much larger surface of amusement and awakening. The visual field is not likely to be obstructed by an ark full of objects.