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What do you put on your hardwood floor for baby to play on (rug/mat/blanket/activity gym/etc.)?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

We are about to have our first baby, and our house is not really baby-friendly. We have all hardwood floors (which I LOVE) and thus nowhere soft to put the baby down to play. We actually don't even have an area rug in our living room because of the way the floorplan is laid out. But I want to be able to put the baby on the floor with some toys on a non-toxic, easily cleaned, somewhat padded surface.


I'm considering this:



I just wish it were much bigger and a less gaudy color. (And maybe less expensive.) I think this would be a great temporary solution, but when the baby gets older and starts crawling, this will obviously not be large enough. Though I suppose I could get a bunch of them and spread them out on the floor.


I have also thought about just getting several large organic cotton blankets and piling them on top of each other, but it just seems like they would get dirty and have to be washed constantly (and take forever to dry). 


The other thing I've looked at are those foam mats:




Unfortunately, the foam mats are almost all toxic and/or ugly. Supposedly the Edushape brand have been tested to be free of the usual toxins in foam mats, but they are certainly not attractive. (See post on http://bebepure.com/update-toxic-childrens-foam-mats-which-brands-can-we-trust/). 


Is there such a thing as a large cork mat? Or natural rubber (like a big thick yoga mat)? Or some other non-toxic padded surface to put my baby down on? What works for you? 


Thanks for the suggestions!

post #2 of 25

I hadn't even thought about this for my upcoming baby, but I will probably just put down a folded quilt or a yoga mat with receiving blanket or something.  Whatever I put down will usually be covered with a receiving blanket to catch the drool and spit up.  You can get natural rubber yoga mats, but I'm not sure if the size would work for your needs.


At first they don't move around much and by the time they do they will be crawling and scooting off the mat anyway and it might not seem as important.  We had hardwood floors when my son was 7 months to about 15 months and I never worried about a playmat or anything by that point.

post #3 of 25

We bought a wool Persian carpet when my eldest DD was starting to cruise. It was very soft, and I didn't have to worry about offgassing. It wasn't cheap, though.

post #4 of 25

Firstly, egad! Formaldehyde in the foam puzzle mats, so upsetting to learn! I had one for my DS, who LOVED it. It think it was a First Step one, with animals. The bright primary colors did not match or decor by any means but it was so cheerful. 


I too have all wood floors. At first, for tummy time, I just laid down a large quilt and receiving blanket or a big beach towel on top to catch drool. That was good until he was learning to sit, which I discovered is a precarious undertaking (similar to learning to walk), a lot of toppling over (usually backwards, boppy works great for propping them up). So, I felt that my yoga mat was too thin and narrow, and I couldn't find an organic rug that I liked enough to be worth its big price. Then I bought a foam puzzle mat and we used it for a few months until he was a confidant crawler.


If you buy for a foam mat, try to find one that is smooth in texture. Ours has texture, which I despised because that is where dirt settled in and was hard to spot clean. I actually had to use a scrub brush when I was doing my weekly cleaning of the mat.


Now we have one of those Learning Carpets in the living room which I think helps delineate a play area for him :)

post #5 of 25

We have hardwood floors with a few cotton braided rag rugs.  These might be an option for you, if you don't want the offgassing problems with traditional rugs/carpet.  I liked having a slightly softer surface for DD to sit and play when she started being able to scooch/sit up.  By the time she was crawling, though, she preferred to crawl on the hardwood, anyway.  It was never really an issue; they work it out, you know?  Honestly, I frequently put her on a folded blanket right on top of the wood floor, before she was mobile -- it was plenty soft enough for her. 


When she started cruising/walking, she just figured out quickly how NOT to bonk her head on the floor.  It helped that she was learning to walk during the summer, when the floors weren't too cold for bare feet.  Slippery socks totally don't work on our floors; depending on the season, you may need to invest in lots of Robeez or other soft-soled shoes that will help a beginning walker not slip on hard floors if it's too cold to be barefoot. 


I don't put DS (2 mo) on the floor much, but it's really more because of the rambunctious toddler tearing around the house than because of the hardwood.  When we do put him on the floor, we use a hand-me-down baby activity gym, which I LOVE.  These are totally worth it if you can pick one up at a garage sale or secondhand shop; ours can be taken apart and the bottom surface thrown in a washing machine.


ETA: I love the baby gym, but I thought it was important to point out that the reason I love it is because it doesn't make noise!!!  It's just two little criss-crossing arches that go over the baby's head, with a few bright toys dangling from them.  Those newfangled ones that play music and flash lights in the poor child's face are just... dreadful. 

post #6 of 25

We used a non-toxic yoga mat - cheap, easy to clean and put away, and easily portable!  It was great until he became really mobile, and then nothing is guaranteed :)


There's really nothing wrong with a baby crawling on wood floors, or learning to walk on them - carpet only became common in the last century!

post #7 of 25

I started out with cutesy quilts and mats and now have resigned myself to my 11 month old crawling around on the Pergo.  Yes, her diaper cover is dirty at the end of the day, but it can be washed!  I do my floors twice a week.

post #8 of 25
Originally Posted by EmTheWife View Post

There's really nothing wrong with a baby crawling on wood floors, or learning to walk on them - carpet only became common in the last century!

This. I'm on baby number 2 and we have hardwood floors...it's never been a problem. My current baby is in arms or a sling most of the time, when I do put him down on the floor I just use a nice blanket or as pp mentioned a little baby gym (ours does make noise, it's got a little bird that sort of flaps and sings a song...fwiw I don't think it's dreadful) . He's 2.5 months...As he becomes a sitter, I'll keep a boppy behind him for falls; once he's crawling, barefeet on hardwood is what we'll be doing. Not that you shouldn't buy a cool floor mat or whatever you like...just that you don't NEED to.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I'll just try a yoga mat topped with a blanket for now, or the lilypad. I'm worried about the off-gassing from rugs and carpets, and the organic ones are so expensive and not that attractive. But we are moving soon (hopefully before the baby is sitting up or crawling), so maybe we will invest in a non-toxic area rug to match the new house and furniture. I know it's not that big of a deal for babies to crawl on the hardwoods, but when they are first learning to sit up and crawl I think it's nice to have a large rug or something to set out some toys and let them play on a padded surface. 

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

Anybody used these? 



post #11 of 25

Most any wool carpet will not offgas, since wool is a naturally bug-resistant material. They can sometimes smell of lanolin, but that's not harmful.


I will say that my babies mostly laid in their baby gym when they were tiny, and once they started to sit up, I usually sat them in our Boppy pillow, which provided some protection to their giant heads when they toppled over. I wouldn't worry about purchasing any particular baby-themed mat except for a gym and Boppy--when you're settled in the new place, you may want an area rug.


It's the coffee table that will really cause bonks. We replaced ours with storage ottomans when we had a cruising-age baby.

post #12 of 25
Originally Posted by DrBrockBaca View Post

Anybody used these? 



wow, that's expensive thought. Cheaper to just carpet your floor! Though it is wool so I see your point.


post #13 of 25

I was thinking about the same thing (though my guy is cruising now) and thought that a tumbling mat may be a better investment, since toddlers can use it later on




though I don't know if there is a non toxic tumbling mat out there

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 


 wouldn't worry about purchasing any particular baby-themed mat except for a gym and Boppy


We have a boppy pillow, but I haven't found an activity gym I like. They are all made of polyester, and most of them are eyesores! I was considering this one




but when I saw it in person and felt the fabric, I was disappointed in it. It doesn't look very good and the fabric felt cheap and stiff. So we are considering just getting that lilypad and figuring out a way to hang a mobile over it. Or maybe just using a yoga mat or blanket. There doesn't seem to be a good non-toxic and tasteful-looking solution to an infant play area!

post #15 of 25

Well you  should buy a play mat...i guess...

we bought it from an online store and the unique thing  abut this online store is that it provides all non toxic products for babies.

I can still remember i have also used  these mats for seven months  old son and has played on them since he was an infant..! 


you can get those here [url=http://www.babyography.net.au/play-gyms-and-mats]playmat[/url]

post #16 of 25

I used blankets and quilts.  Later, a small area rug (IKEA has some okay ones) worked nicely.  It's an annoying stage, for sure.

post #17 of 25

I have hardwood floors and didn't get anything. My son is 18 months now and is fine. Around the time he was trying to sit up (and falling on his head) we'd sit him next to some pillows or something.


People always think they need all this stuff. You don't need stuff.

post #18 of 25

I have a soft area rug in the living room that we use bought specifically for DD1's safety when he started running around like a madman. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it, if you use your best judgement anything you get should be fine.

post #19 of 25
We have a bamboo floor and when our baby was tiny, we used an old fabric yoga mat with baby quilts on top. Once she began sitting up and rolling over, we bought her an organic-cotton futon, which gives her much more space to explore. It's an extra-thick mattress, nicely cushy for her pre-crawling stage, where she tumbles over often. We bought it from a futon store, which made it much less expensive than if we'd gotten it from a furniture store (at least that's what we found from comparison-shopping).
post #20 of 25

Hi, I'm from eWonderWorld.com. We are the supplier of EVA foam mat, the Wonder Mat, and been in the industry for more than 25 years.


A lot of customers were concern after France and Belgium issued a ban on EVA foam mats. However, these two countries have reversed the ban and set a restriction on how much formamide foam mats can contain instead. Keep in mind that no other countries have banned or set restrictions on formamide. Australia conducted a test on formamide in foam mats and have found no health risk, you can read the article in the following link:






All our mats have pass and exceed all US regulations.


Our standard mats have not been specifically tested for formamide as we are not required nor any real tests show that it is a safety concern to children. In order to better serve our concerned customers, we have brought in formamide non-detectable mats. You can find the reports in the following link:




You can order the Formamide Non-Detectable mats in the following link:




Please note we do NOT plan on carrying these formamide ND mats in the future so supply is limited. It is too costly(to manufacture and for our customers as well), low demand, have not been proven to be a health risk to children nor is required by country other than France and Belgium.

Let me know if you have any more questions regarding formamide or foam mats in general.

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