I have to preface this review by saying that I did not think there was a foam play mat on the market that I would consider to be truly non-toxic. I was wrong. But if the thought of using plastic anything bothers you, you should just stop reading here. (You can also check out my Best Non-Toxic Play Mats for Baby guide for a comprehensive list of all non-toxic play mats.)
When Cream Haus USA contacted me, requesting a review for their Folding Play Mat, I was skeptical about the mat’s non-toxicity claims. I had never heard of this company but I soon learned that Cream Haus is a premium South Korean brand which, until recently, was not available in the US.
When speaking to Brian, the US distributor for Cream Haus, about the properties of the play mat, he was immediately and unabashedly transparent – something I found very refreshing when dealing with a baby play mat company. He attached two complete and unredacted ASTM reports from a CSPC certified lab for both the polyethylene foam material and the polyurethane leather cover which showed non-detectable limits of heavy metals, lead, and phthalates.
Upon further inquiry, Brian also confirmed that the play mat has been tested for and is free of flame-retardants, formamide, formaldehyde, VOCs and azo dyes.
1. Food-Grade, Low-Density Polyethylene Foam
The foam material of the play mat is made from food-grade, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) foam. There are 10 thin layers of non-cross linked PE foam sheets which are laminated through a chemical-free adhesive method to achieve the optimal thickness. LDPE is widely regarded as one of the safest plastics available. It has a simple molecular structure and does not contain phthalates or other unsafe additives. It is used in many crib mattress covers for its waterproof and non-toxic qualities.
2. Polyurethane Leather
The cover of the play mat is polyurethane (PU) leather. PU is made by coating a fabric such as cotton, polyester or shredded leather with a flexible polymer and then treating it to look more like animal hide. PU resins are made of a softer polymer and therefore do not need additional plasticizers. PU leather is an inert material and is also generally regarded as safe. Those of you who cloth diaper will be familiar with this type of fabric as it is similar to PUL.
Since the play mat is made from LDPE foam and PU leather, it is naturally free of PVC, BPA, EVA, and TPE.
Having covered all of the nasties – that I can think of at least – I feel like I can safely say this is a truly non-toxic foam play mat!
So enough of the science mumbo jumbo.
When I first received the Cream Haus Folding Play Mat, my number one concern was whether or not it off-gassed. I have a pretty decent sense of smell and, after laying it out, I took a BIG whiff of the mat. The play mat emitted no toxic smell. Really, there was barely any scent at all!
The mat is very large, measuring approximately 51″ x 79″ (there is an even larger size option at 51″ x 102″) and is by far the thickest play mat I’ve ever seen at 1.6″ thick. Think: Mats for gymnastics but denser and higher quality.
The play mat is produced in South Korea and I was immediately impressed by the quality. The stitching is impeccable and the zipperheads are neatly and tightly tucked away into tabs. I inquired about the availability of a replacement cover and the answer is no, because the covers cannot be easily removed. Which is true. Try as I might, I could not access the zipperhead. I found this to be a very thoughtful safety feature.
And let me tell you, this mat is unbelievably THICK and shock-absorbent. The foam has a memory foam quality to it. It is firm yet supportive and comfortable at the same time. The faux leather cover is soft, supple, and smooth.
Max helped me open the mat up and, the second it was flat, he could not stop jumping and running around on it. Let just say, it’s 100% toddler approved.
I love that the color palette used by Cream Haus consists of soft pastels. I chose the neutral grey/cream combo and it looks great in Max’s room.
Despite the mat’s large size, it is surprisingly lightweight at 9.3lbs. The play mat can be easily folded up and stored away when not in use. It’s actually so lightweight that I was initially concerned the mat would not have enough traction on my hardwood floors. However, in use, I have not found it to be an issue.
In my opinion, an important feature of any play mat is how easy it is to maintain. Thankfully, the Cream Haus Folding Play Mat is very easy to clean. The play mat is waterproof and can be wiped cleaned with a damp or wet cloth using a gentle, non-toxic cleaning solution. The surface should then be wiped again with a dry cloth to remove any remaining liquid on the surface. It is best to keep the mat dry at all times and folded and stored in a cool area when unused for a long period of time.
My main concern with regards to the play mat is the longevity of its PU leather cover. Stains from oil-based ink pens, crayons or coloring pencils are unlikely to be removed. Additionally, it is possible for PU leather to snag and/or tear. It remains to be seen how well the cover will wear over time.
It is also worth nothing that – due to the nature of the foam – concentrated pressure may compact the foam and leave impressions that remain, e.g., when heavy furniture is left on top of the play mat.
Nonetheless, of all of the play mats I have reviewed, this play mat is my favorite in terms of what I expect from a traditional play mat – thick, wipes clean and highly shock-absorbent. It is also, by far, the best non-toxic foam play mat I have found in the US market.
If you would like to purchase your own play mat, Cream Haus is kindly offering my readers 10% off when you use coupon code: MOMMYTOMAX10. If you decide to purchase a Cream Haus play mat, I would love to hear back on what you think!
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for writing this post. I did, however, receive a sample product for review purposes. Nonetheless, this review is 100% my honest opinion and, to the best of my ability, an unbiased review.