What is TPU foam and why is it used in Playmats?

What are Grace & Maggie Play Mats Made From?

Made from next generation thick non-toxic TPU foam material, our mats have been extensively tested to ensure they surpass International Toy Safety Standards. Some playmats on the market are constructed using PVC or Vinyl.


Although it is quite a strong material, PVC  is made using a toxic cocktail of materials that could put your little ones at risk from exposure to lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hormone-disrupting chemicals like phthalates.


This would be something I avoid with kids and babies. We have noticed companies who sell these products have removed PVC from their website description. We recommend asking if in doubt, as we understand the safety of your family is always a priority. 


Our products are made from biodegradable materials therefore they will break down over time as they haven't been preserved with harsh chemicals. For this reason, the lighter toned playmats may present with slight discoloration or yellowing of the outer edges where they have been pressed. 


We pride ourselves on the sustainability of our products, however want to ensure that the buyer is made aware of this pre-purchase as it is not a fault but a characteristic of the product. 

What is TPU Foam? 


TPU stands for Thermoplastic Polyurethane. TPU is made up of characteristics that combine elements of both rubber and plastics. 

They are often utilised by the medical industry for supplies such as oxygen masks and tubing and are common in household items. 

Their growing popularity can be attributed to their non-toxic attributes, flexibility, and exceptional shock-absorption properties. 

Why we use TPU Foam in our Playmats


TPU stands as our preferred foam choice for crafting playmats, and there are several compelling reasons for this selection. First and foremost, it boasts a non-toxic composition, ensuring the well-being of users without posing any health concerns. 

Its waterproof nature proves highly advantageous, allowing for effortless cleanup of spills or accidents, and maintaining the mat's pristine condition. 

TPU exhibits remarkable durability and exceptional shock-absorption capabilities, safeguarding both your flooring from toy impacts and your baby from potential falls on the mat. 

While it does come with a relatively higher price tag compared to alternative foam materials, the benefits it brings far outweigh the associated costs, making it an investment in safety and quality that we are proud to offer.

Why is PVC bad for children? 

PVC is made up of dangerous chemical additives like phthalates, lead and many more, all of which can affect a child's overall health. 

PVC has the potential to gradually release these harmful additives into the air and when contained indoors can build up. These substances act as endocrine disruptors meaning that they can affect the function of different organs in the body and occasionally contribute to some cancers. 

Some countries have actually banned PVC products from being sold as baby toys so it is important to steer clear of anything containing PVC. 

What are VOCs?

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are gasses released from different products or during the production process many of which have the potential to be harmful to people. 

Inhaling VOCs can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, potentially causing breathing difficulties, nausea, and harm to the central nervous system and various organs. 

It's important to note that certain VOCs have been linked to the development of cancer as well as air pollution.

Are foam playmats safe for babies? 

In general, yes foam mats can be safe for babies, though you need to know what you’re looking for. 

When utilised correctly and made from non-toxic materials, foam play mats can serve as a secure and advantageous play area for infants when it comes to their development of independence, physical milestones and play. 

To guarantee the safety and welfare of their children, parents and caregivers should exercise appropriate precautions and adhere to safety recommendations. Seeking out items that carry certifications for safety and accreditation by reputable organisations is essential.

Parents and caregivers should also remain mindful of potential risks linked to foam mats, such as suffocation or choking hazards.

Infants should never be left unattended on foam mats, and these mats should not be used for naps as they aren’t a part of the safe sleeping guidelines.

What foam is safe for babies? 


Some foams are toxic so it is important to look at the components of a playmat to ensure that the foam they have used is safe. 

The foams that are considered relatively safe for use are Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) and Latex, though supervision is always recommended during all playtimes with your baby as there are always risks involved. EVA foam is lightweight and durable. 

TPU is great as it provides cushioning. Latex is a quality material as well though latex sensitivities affect some babies so this option is not recommended for those with an allergy. 

If you are looking for a playmat and they haven’t listed the materials used then make sure you ask more questions or go with a company that is transparent. 

How can I keep my baby safe whilst using a playmat? 


  • Clean the playmat regularly: Making sure that you follow the playmat cleaning guidelines, ensure that the mat is cleaned and cared for regularly so that bacteria doesn’t get a chance to grow and cause health issues for your little one. Try to avoid mats with a lot of texture to the surface as the creases are difficult to clean properly. 
  • Choose a mat made with non-toxic materials: Stick to materials that have been proven to be safe for use and avoid harmful chemicals such as phthalates, lead and formaldehyde.
  • Don’t use it for sleeping: Make sure you adhere to the safe sleeping guidelines outlined by Red Nose Australia. This Information is evidence based and has been proven to reduce the cases of Sudden Infant Death. It means a baby should only be sleeping in a cot that meets the Australian Standard with no toys or excess bedding.
  • ALWAYS Supervise your baby: Whenever a baby/child is playing they should be supervised 100% of the time, this prevents them falling or choking on anything whilst you are not there to watch them.  

Do you have a question about your Grace & Maggie Playmat? Feel free to email us.

Written by Laura Agrimi, mother of 2 and owner of Grace & Maggie.

Grace & Maggie

Online store - Open 24 hours


PO Box 2852, Cheltenham, VIC 3192

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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