Babies spend a ton of time on the floor. That’s where they progress with their gross motor skills, play with their toys, and gradually learn about independence. Frequent, regular floor play, particularly on their tummies, is awesome for our little ones, and is one of the best things we can do to support their development (that, and, paradoxically, holding and cuddling them the rest of the time ;).
So with the amount of time our babies spend on the floor, it’s so important that they have a safe, non-toxic space to play. Unfortunately, the common foam play mats from the days of yore do not provide them with that safe space.
Many of those foam mats are made of PVC, which contains toxic levels of phthalates, or EVA, which contains toxic levels of formamide, even though it is touted as non-toxic. Both of these substances are known as CMRs, or substances that are “carcinogenic and/or mutagenic or toxic to reproduction.” They can contribute to reproductive disorders, hormonal imbalance, endocrine disruption, or possibly worse. It sucks that we have to be so careful with everything we put on, in, and under our little ones, but unfortunately, that is the state of the world we live in. Why? Because in the U.S., there still aren’t government regulations around the use of CMRs. Unlike the European Union, which banned the use of CMR substances in children’s toys as of 2013, the U.S. always seems to be lagging behind.
Many popular foam play mats tout themselves as non-toxic, but refuse to disclose the ingredients used in their products. As with the term “all-natural” in foods, the term “non-toxic” is completely unregulated, as there is no third party testing that goes into the designation. So. Frustrating!
So what’s a health and environment-minded mama to do? Well, we had our little one on blankets and quilts for many months, but as she became more mobile, I knew that this would only be a temporary solution. She needed more padding and less slipping around to encourage her to roll and crawl (and believe me, our little sweetpea needs all the encouragement she can get!). The day she turned 6 months, I started my search for the safest possible play mat.
I knew foam (even purportedly “non-toxic” foams) were out for us, I just couldn’t trust that they were truly non-toxic, and never felt comfortable with having foam in the house. We knew blankets and quilts weren’t working anymore. Ideally, I wanted something made of organic materials that wouldn’t off-gas into our home, and I knew it had to be both firm and soft enough to provide a comfy space to grow and play.
When I discovered Pillobebe Corkimat, I knew I found my dream non-toxic play mats. Made of natural cork and bamboo (for the Original), or hypoallergenic polyester padding (for the Lite), and covered with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton in the most adorable patterns, these beauties were perfect.
Both types of Corkimats are completely free of all the bad guys, including:
- Flame retardants
- Other harmful VOC’s
Now that’s what I’m talking about!!
The Corkimat Original play mats are firmer, and a bit heavier, due to the natural cork center. They’re perfect if you are going keep your play mat in the same place for a while. The Corkimat Lite play mats are lighter weight and easier to move around, which is ideal for us, since we knew we would want to move the mat around and put it away at night. Both are modular, so you can accommodate a space of any size, or just to have some extras on hand for playdates or baby parties. Both also have anti-slip velcro slips on the underside, which means that they are sturdy and never slide around. And I love that the beautiful organic covers are machine washable, which is an absolute must for anything babies play on.
Other than all of these amazing features, what I love most is the beautiful patterns that the tiles come in. The patterns are designed by Cloud9 Organics, and come in prints that would look amazing in the most stylish of homes.
If you’ve been reading this blog since a little babe came into our lives, you know that there are two things that are absolute musts for anything baby-related I bring into our home: it has to be non-toxic and it’s got to look cool. We have a pretty modern, minimalist home, and the thought of it being overrun by all kinds of garish plastic kids’ stuff made me feel kinda sick. Aesthetics aside, my intuition also led me to believe that all that mishmash of stuff would be overstimulating to a brand new brain just trying to make sense of the world. Once I had little M, I was happy to discover that this more natural, minimal mindset blended perfectly with the parenting philosophies I was learning about (more on those in another post).
To make a long story short, I was thrilled to find a selection of Corkimat patterns that were whimsical and playful, while still being right at home in a stylish space. I’m telling you, it was a match made in heaven.
We picked the Mint Pebbles pattern, which coordinated well with our living room, but I also had my eye on the super stylish Beads & Feathers, and the whimsical Woodland Autumn. There are just so many adorable prints to choose from!
I am so happy to have found these beautiful, non-toxic play mats for our little that I can be sure is made of safe ingredients, and is stylish and super cute to boot. I have to say, I think these are the best play mats out there!
And guess what!!!