Parents-to-be must know that nap times are an important part of a toddler’s day-to-day activities. It is said that an average toddler needs at least 14 hours of sleep in a day (24-hours). A nap mat is a soft piece of material that a child can sleep on when a bed is not available. Nap mats are lightweight, and easy to move from place to place.
Therefore, nap time helps both children and parents (caregivers in some cases) to get adequate rest. Nap time also enhances kids’ memory. Therefore, it is important for these children to feel comfortable and safe sleeping on nap mats.
So, whether they are at the daycare, in grandma’s house, or even on a family vacation – having good child nap mats would help kids get the needed relaxation during the day.
However, in buying these nap mats parents must put some things into consideration – because these nap mats can contain toxic flame retardants that are carcinogenic, and that could lead to obesity or reduced fertility.
So, this guide will help to provide the needed information that will help you make an informed decision before buying the best nap mats to allow your baby to have the best relaxation and siesta during the day.
Is It Important For My Child To Have A Nap Time?
Children sleep more than adults because their bodies are growing and this is energy-consuming. So, it is important for them to have a nap time if they are not getting adequate nighttime sleep.
An average toddler needs at least between 11 to 14 hours of sleep daily, so nap time provides an avenue to make up for the incomplete sleeping hours
At What Age Should I Introduce A Nap Mat?
Babies should only be introduced to nap mats when they are over the age of one. However, after this age, the use of nap mats would differ from age to age.
For age one (young toddlers) – nap mats are not regularly used at daycare, kindergarten, or home. At this age, they stay more in their crib to prevent them from falling off. The nap mats can be used when you are out of the house and your baby needs space to catch some naps.
For age two to three – as your baby grows older, the nap mats will be commonplace for them because they know it’s a place for them to stay.
For older toddlers – the mat still comes in handy for them to catch some sleep either at home or when on a family vacation.
Types Of Nap Mats
The following are the varieties of nap mats available in the marketplace.
- Roll-up nap mats – these are the most popular nap mats because they are portable and lightweight and can be gotten with or without bedding.
- Stackable toddler’s nap mat – a bit heavier than the roll-up nap mats making them not be easily moved about. They do not come with bedding, can be easily cleaned, and are made from vinyl material.
- Toddler’s nap cots – do not come with bedding; they are usually not portable and come with hard frames, woven body, and legs to raise it from the floor. These are usually not used as nap mats for kindergarten or preschool because they are not portable. They are sturdy and last longer.
Nap mats are ideal at vacation centers, childcare centers, at home, sleepovers, grandparents’ homes, hotels, and at some other important spots.
What To Consider When Choosing A Nap Mat
Here are some of the things to watch out for when buying a nap mat;
- The thickness and the size of the mat – you must choose a mat that is big enough to accommodate your child and they won’t outgrow quickly. Also, you must decide if the mat can be used directly on the floor or would need additional padding or bedding to make it more comfortable.
- Easy to clean and waterproof – choose a mat that you can clean without worries because they get soiled from time to time. Besides, it will be good to have a mat that is machine washable. Therefore, it is good to read through the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines before buying a mat.
- Lightweight and portability – the storage and portability of the mat should be considered especially if you are always on the move. However, if you want something for home use – you might choose the rigid type.
- The material used in its construction – choose a mat with durable and thick materials. Some of the materials include cotton, polyester, and foam. Mats made from cotton and polyester materials are soft and comfortable to sleep on. Also, for shared mats, a vinyl filled mat is recommended because they can be easily cleaned. However, you must avoid mat made from phthalates, fire retardant chemicals, etc
Best Nap Mats For Toddlers
It is made from a soft blend of cotton, polyester material, and 100 percent cotton flannel which creates extra warmth and comfort for your child. Each nap mat comes with an elastic hook and loop fastening strap, a roll-up design, and a handle for easy carriage.
Also, it can be moved from place to place because of its travel-friendly design. It is easy to clean, comes in different vibrant colors, and is machine washable in case the kids have an accident. For extra comfort – the blanket and pillow are attached for the child’s relaxation.
However, it is not waterproof and not also suitable for babies because of the attached blanket. So, you can take advantage of the Wildkin original nap mat if you want something portable and easy to clean.
This nap mat is made from Certi-Pur certified foam that has low VOC and does not contain heavy metals. It is ideal for use in daycare centers, mom or grandma’s room, or when on a family vacation.
This 3-inches thick mat is soft, cozy, and can be set up within a few seconds. Besides, it is machine washable and the bamboo cover can be easily removed for cleaning whenever it is soiled by your child.
It is relatively long and comes with a fitted sheet. However, its cover is not waterproof and might be a bit heavy to be moved outside the house, making it best suitable for use within the house.
So, if you want something that is durable and can be set up easily, the Milliard toddler nap mat will do the magic.
Nap Mats For Daycare
These nap mats for daycare offer your baby comfortable and healthy naps. It is waterproof, can be easily cleaned, and easily folds for storage. This nap mat for the baby does not contain harmful chemicals which means your baby will not be exposed to any chemicals. Besides, it is free from glue or adhesives, pesticides, and PVC.
It is made from organic cotton and a food-grade waterproof coating making it non-allergenic and easy to clean.
The Naturepedic rest pad is designed with white color for the top and beige color for the bottom to distinguish the side that is clean and dirty.
The KinderMat Daydreamer rest mat is made from vinyl material, so it’s easy to disinfect. It is not only durable and safe but also something affordable; a perfect nap mats for preschool, daycare, and home use.
It is easy to clean, does not come with a pillow (which babies don’t need). However, it is not high so your baby can play around on it and won’t get injured if they fall off it.
For the safety of the child, there are no loose materials that could cause suffocation. However, it may not be suitable for older children, it is bulky, and not machine washable.
So, if you want a safe nap mat for a baby – the KinderMat Daydreamer rest mat is the right choice.
Kids Nap Mats For Kindergarten
The Angeles nap mat is made from high-quality. It is easy to clean – just by wiping with warm water and soap. The mat is designed to have blue color on one side and red color on the other side – this will help you know the sleeping side and the side for the floor.
This kid’s nap mat for kindergarten has 4 foam sections, so each section can be tagged to reduce the transfer of germs from child to child. Besides, it is resistant to germs, it is waterproof, and can be easily stacked for easy storage.
However, it is bulky making it difficult to be moved from place to place. This is another kindergarten nap mat that will provide all the comfort for your little one.
This is a specially designed kindergarten nap mat with a pillow attached. This nap mat for kindergarten is just half of an inch – making it thin, firm, and suitable for younger toddlers. The cooling gel foam makes it impossible for your little one to overheat while taking a nap.
My First memory nap mat is made from CertiPur approved materials and does not contain irritants or unwholesome chemicals. It is machine washable and can be easily moved from one place to another.
However, it does not come with a blanket (comes only with an attached pillow), its cover is not waterproof and the thickness is just half an inch.
Other types of nap mats include;
It is made from 100 percent polyester material. Besides, it can easily roll up for proper storage and easy mobility with the help of a strap.
It comes with an attached pillow and blanket. Also, it is machine washable. However, it is suitable for sleepovers, daycare centers, and school kindergarten centers. Therefore, for a parent looking for nap mats with different designs – the Aquatopia nap mat comes in different designs from which you can choose from.
However, it is not waterproof and it is made from synthetic polyester material.
This is the best nap mat suitable when embarking on a journey. Its exterior is made from polyester material that is machine washable whereas the interior is made of soft velboa material.
Besides, it rolls up fast for easy movement from one place to another. The Stephen Joseph nap mat comes in different colorful patterns from which parents can select from.
It is ideal for preschool, daycare centers, and pre-kindergarten centers
As you search for nap mats for your little one, it is good to look out for mats that will be safe, and comfortable. These mats are often needed at kindergarten centers, daycare, preschool, on a vacation, at trips to grandparents, and other spots where your baby might need some nap.
The top picks are Wildkin Original Nap Mat with Pillow for Toddler Boys and Girls, Milliard Toddler Nap Mat, Naturepedic Rest Pad, KinderMat Daydreamer Rest Mat, Angeles-CF400-509RB Rest 2″ Nap Mat, My First Memory Nap Mat, Aquatopia Nap Mats, and Stephen Joseph Nap Mats.
So, be sure that whichever one you are buying for your little one meets the standards and requirements for a safe & healthy nap mat.