5+ Alternative Options Of Non-Toxic / Less-Toxic Baby Mats For Under $50ish By A Skeptical Mom (including one DIY option that’s only $15)

Jessica Delfino
5 min readJun 13, 2017

I have this issue. I don’t like chemicals in my food, pillow cases, on my fingernails, in my air, in my water, on my baby, etc. Call me a jerk, call me out of line, call me a big galoot, but that’s how I feel. I even go so far as to wonder how it is legal for these corporations to make all this garbage that pollutes our homes and our planet, makes us sick and then get rich off of it. Aren’t the CEOs of these companies technically serial killers and the employees technically henchmen? No, because the laws are written to protect these doom factories. OK, rant over, and now I’m ready to move onto the main point of this article, which is, options for non-toxic and less-toxic baby mats under $50.

It seems like if you’re not rolling in dough, a safe mat option for baby to learn to crawl and play on is not in the cards. Not so fast, I say. After digging and sleuthing, two things I’m weirdly good at doing, I found some mats that aren’t made of chemicals, PVC, EVA, phony ‘food grade’ “safe” materials, phalates or other garbage, but instead are just good old natural type mats that my baby can roll on, drool on, put his mouth and little sweet face on and not get off-gassed onto.

MommyToMax.com explained it well in a post about safe mats: “EVA foam has been found to off-gas formamide. Currently, there are NO 100% formamide-free EVA foam mats on the market. A company can claim that its mats are formamide-free but it can do so because formamide is only tested to a certain level.” How is that not totally illegal? By the way, that article is excellent, and recommends a number of safer mats, but they are all very expensive — $100-$200 and up.

Here are 5 alternative safer options that won’t break the bank.

Hook & Loom is baby safe, according to their website

Cotton is another safe, natural, renewable resource. Hook & Loom is reportedly a safe company that makes rugs out of repurposed materials and uses no added repellents, fire retardants or chemicals of any kind. They can be machine washed and this rectangular 3' x 5' carpet rolls in at about $32 and this pretty blue 2 x 3 carpet goes for $48. They also offer oval and round shapes, plus a 30 day no hassle return policy. Check out their FAQ for more info.

Rubber is a safe, natural, renewable resource. Almost 100% of our planet’s natural rubber is crafted out of the latex from Hevea brasiliensis trees, a.k.a., rubber trees. This 24" x 72" (2 feet x 6 feet) mat is an example of a 100% natural tree sap rubber mat that is completely safe for pregnant women and babies (unless there is a rare latex allergy). At $49.99, it is a bargain compared to expensive baby safe mats. Learn more about rubber here and here.

If you’re shopping for safe baby items, you may see “GOTS certified” in the description. It stands for “Global Organic Textile Standard” and is the “worldwide leading textile processing standard”, according to their website. It’s probably a scam, but we are unfortunately at the mercy of so many companies and unless we are chemists with access to labs and tests, we have to trust that when “they” say an item is safe, it mostly is. Read more about GOTS here. I suggest you dig until you exhaust your resources, I do. And that’s how I found Clover and Sage. This company offers Muslin blankets with 4 layers of 100% certified organic cotton at $40. Blankets are about 4' x 4' and offer a one year money back guarantee. An easy way to educate yourself — read the questions and reviews. Many parents ask questions you were wondering yourself and some that maybe you didn’t even think of. Lay it down on the floor on top of a comforter or 2 that you have had for a long time and let the baby learn and discover.

Jute jute the magical root

I’ve heard and read that hemp, jute and wool are all natural alternatives, though I have my doubts. If you are relatively sure the backing isn’t made of synthetic rubber and there are no glue or chemicals in the making of the carpet, you should be OK as far as off-gassing goes, but what about the baby’s little knees? We want something soft for our little adventurers to crawl around on and I fear that these materials might not be soft enough for baby. If you are willing to give it a try, here’s a natural jute carpet at just over $50. Wool carpets may be soft but can be eaten by moths and attract other critters. One suggestion: I read on one woman’s review that seagrass was quite soft, but how can you be sure? Order a 5" x 5" sample for $1.50. If you’re crafty, you’ll order 10 samples, sew them together and make your own 50" by 50" (4ish x 4ish square feet) carpet for $15 + labor. In fact, I bet you can do this sample plan with any of the above materials by emailing websites and asking if they offer samples. Please send us a photo if you try this option.

Good luck out there! And remember, at the end of the day, whatever option you decide, we are all just doing the best we can, and you’re doing a great job!

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Jessica Delfino

I write about life with 1 husband, 2 kids, 1 cat, sometimes funny. Instagram.com/JessicaDelfino Bylines: TheNew Yorker, The NY Times, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s.