Parents value the comfort and safety of their children the most when choosing a daycare, and daycare nap time plays a vital role in a child’s growth, development, and mood.
Our top 3 picks for best nap mat for daycare according to design, age, safety, budget, space and state’s safety policy are:
- Wildkin Original Nap Mat with Pillow
- Urban Infant Tot Cot
- My First Nap Mat
Keep on reading to learn more about these top 3 nap mats and features to look for in a state-compliant and budget-friendly nap mat. We’ll also tell you what to avoid in a daycare nap mat, so you can be sure your children are getting the best possible rest.
What to Look for in the Best Nap Mat for Daycare
When shopping for a nap mat, there are several factors to consider, such as:
1. Quality of Daycare Mats
The quality of the nap mat determines how durable, comfortable, and safe it is for a child.
You want a nap mat made of high-quality materials that can withstand frequent use and washing.
Consider buying a soft, cozy, and breathable nap mat so a child can sleep soundly and comfortably.
Finally, buy a nap mat free of harmful chemicals, such as BPA, phthalates, zippers, and allergens, that could irritate a child’s skin or cause health problems.
2. Ideal Size for Daycare Mats
The nap mat size should match the child’s height and weight, as well as the space available at the daycare.
You don’t want a nap mat that is too small or too big for your children, as that could affect their comfort and safety. The ideal size for a nap mat is usually between 45 and 60 inches long and between 20 and 30 inches wide.
You don’t want a nap mat that takes up too much room or doesn’t fit on the cot or floor at the daycare. So do consider the size of your available cots and floor.
3. Material of Daycare Mats
The material of the nap mat affects its comfort, durability, and hygiene.
Buy a nap mat made of soft fabrics, such as cotton, polyester, flannel, or fleece.
These fabrics are gentle on a child’s skin and provide warmth and insulation.
Consider buying a nap mat with a waterproof or water-resistant layer or cover, such as vinyl or nylon. This layer protects the nap mat from spills, stains, and germs and makes cleaning easy.
4. Ideal Price for Daycare Mats
The price of the nap mat depends on its quality, size, material, and design.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good nap mats for your daycare, but you also don’t want to compromise on quality or safety.
The ideal price range for a nap mat is usually between $20 and $60. But it really depends on the age group of children. Babies would require more safe nap settings, i.e., cribs or cots, and they would cost more.
5. Design of Toddler Mat
The design of the nap mat affects its appeal and functionality.
Opt for a nap mat design that has a fun and colorful look. Your children will love and enjoy using such designs.
You should also consider buying a nap mat that has some useful features, such as:
A removable pillow provides extra support and comfort for the child’s head and neck. It also makes it easier to wash and store the nap mat.
A nap bag is a carrying case or pouch holding the nap mat when rolled up or folded. It makes it convenient to transport and store the nap mat.
Funky designs are patterns or prints that make the nap mat more attractive and interesting for your child.
They can include animals, characters, shapes, letters, numbers, or anything children normally like.
Quilted means that the nap mat has stitching or seams with soft fillings that create a texture on the surface.
This makes the floor mat more comfortable and cozy to sleep on.
You might also like to read: Best Blanket for Daycare
3 Things Every Daycare Mat Must Have
Besides the factors mentioned above, there are three things that every daycare mat must have:
A mattress protector is a layer or covers under the nap mat to protect it from dirt, dust mites, bacteria, mold, and other allergens. It also adds extra cushioning and comfort.
Padding is the filling or stuffing inside the nap mat that provides softness and support for the child’s body.
It can be made of cotton, polyester, memory foam, or other materials.
Padding should be thick enough to prevent a child from feeling the floor or cot underneath but not too thick to cause overheating or suffocation.
Portability means how easy it is to carry and store the nap mat.
You want a nap mat that is lightweight and compact when rolled up, stacked up, or folded.
4 Types of Childcare Sleep Mats
There are different types of childcare sleep mats available in the market:
1. Roll-up Mats
Roll-up mats are nap mats that can be rolled up into a cylinder shape when not used.
They usually have velcro straps or elastic bands to keep them secure.
They are easy to carry and store but may not be very thick or padded. Ideal to be used on thickly carpeted floors for toddlers.
2. Stackable Mats
Stackable mats are nap mats that can be stacked on top of each other when not in use.
They usually have interlocking edges or corners to keep them in place.
They are space-saving but may not be very comfortable or hygienic since they are not machine washable.
Cots are raised platforms with legs that support a thin mattress or pad on top.
They provide more elevation and ventilation than floor mats but are not portable and thus could consume permanent space in your nap area.
Portable travel cots could offer you space solutions, but they are a bit expensive.
However, cots are preferred by infants’ parents due to their safety and comfort aspects.
4. Fold-up Cushions
Fold-up cushions are nap mats that can be folded into a square or rectangular shape when not in use.
They usually have zippers or buttons to keep them closed.
They are compact but may not be very durable or waterproof.
For space-friendly nap room set up tips and recommendations from expert, read this article: Daycare Nap Room Ideas
Daycare Nap Mats for Different Age Groups
Depending on the children’s age, you may need different kinds of daycare nap mats:
Infant Nap Mats
Infant nap mats are designed for babies under 12 months old who need more supervision and care during naps.
- They should be firm, flat, and free of loose bedding, pillows, or toys that could pose a choking or suffocation hazard.
- They should also be placed on their back and away from any cords, heaters, or windows that could cause injury or overheating.
- Infant nap mats should be cleaned and sanitized regularly to prevent infections or rashes.
Toddler Nap Mats
Toddler nap mats are designed for children between 1 and 3 years old who are more independent
and active during naps.
- They should be soft, cozy, and fun to encourage them to sleep and relax.
- They should also have features like removable pillows, nap bags, or funky designs to make them more appealing and personalized.
- Toddler nap mats should be washed and dried frequently to keep them fresh and clean.
Preschool Nap Mats
Preschool nap mats are designed for children between 3 and 5 years old who are more mature and responsible during naps.
- They should be comfortable, durable, and hygienic to support their growth, development, and health.
- They should also have some options, such as quilted surfaces, mattress protectors, or padding, to make them more adaptable and versatile.
- Correct labeling and storage of preschool nap mats are important to prevent confusion, as young children in this age group often prefer to sleep on their own designated mats.
Best Nap Mats for Daycare
Based on our research, here are some of the best nap mats for daycare:
This is our pick for the best toddler nap mat overall because it has everything you need: quality,
size, material, price, and design.
It comes with an attached blanket and removable pillow insert, making it super comfy for any toddler.
It also comes in dozens of colorful prints so your child can pick the right one.
It is machine washable, BPA-free, phthalate-free, zipper-free, and hypoallergenic too.
The best thing is its price; it’s only $12.99.
This is our pick for the best nap mat for daycare and preschool because it fits most standard cots
And has some unique features:
- It can be used both in cots or on floors.
- A sewn-in elastic band to secure it to the cot
- It also has a removable pillow insert.
- A quilted lining
- It is machine washable and dryer safe too.
- Has a whole range of funky prints
- Space friendly
We have chosen this as one of the children’s best memory foam options.
- The memory foam padding in this product is thick and conforms to the user’s body shape, providing great comfort and support.
- This mattress protector is hypoallergenic, washable, and designed to prevent allergens from sticking to the mattress.
- It also has an ultra-soft velour cover that is removable and washable.
- It comes with an attached pillow insert too.
- It rolls up easily with velcro straps and has an attached portable handle.
Importance of Right Nap Mat for Daycare
The quality of the nap mat directly affects the satisfaction of parents with your daycare services. If a child is cranky due to poor sleep, it may reflect negatively on the daycare and harm its reputation.
Selecting the appropriate nap mat for daycare is crucial since it significantly impacts the child’s well-being.
It aids in achieving sufficient sleep, which enhances their immune system, brain function, growth hormone production, mood regulation, and overall health.
A full tummy and sound sleep are all you need to have happy, playful children at your daycare.
You might also want to read: How to Get Toddler to Nap at Daycare
Frequently Asked Questions
What age do kids use nap mats?
Nap mats are suitable for children who are 12 months old or older, but how they are used will vary depending on their age group.
- Babies under one year: You should not use nap mats for infants. Babies are the safest sleeping in cribs, pack-n-plays, or bassinets without bumpers or blankets.
- Toddlers between one and three years: You can use nap mats for toddlers who need a comfortable and hygienic place to nap away from home. Toddlers usually need one or two naps per day, depending on their sleep schedule and needs.
- Preschoolers between three and five years: You can use nap mats for preschoolers who still take naps at school or daycare. Preschoolers usually need one nap per day, but some may outgrow napping by age four or five.
How thick should a nap mat be?
The thickness of the nap mat depends on the child’s preference and comfort level. Generally, a nap mat should be at least one inch thick to prevent your child from feeling the floor or cot underneath. However, it should not be too thick to cause overheating or suffocation.
Are toddler nap mats safe?
Toddler nap mats are safe as long as they meet the following criteria:
- They are made of high-quality materials that are free of harmful chemicals, such as BPA, phthalates, zippers, and allergens.
- They have a waterproof or water-resistant layer or cover that protects them from spills, stains, and germs and makes them easy to clean.
- They have a removable pillow insert that provides extra support and comfort for your child’s head and neck. The pillow should also be small and firm to prevent suffocation.
- They have straps, handles, or hooks that make them easy to carry and store. The straps should also be secure and not pose a choking hazard.
- They are labeled and stored properly to avoid confusion or loss and transfer of germs.
Can a 1-year-old use a nap mat?
- A 1-year-old can use a nap mat as long as they are supervised and cared for during naps.
- A 1-year-old should not be left alone on a nap mat, as they may roll off, get tangled in the blanket, or suffocate on the pillow.
- A 1-year-old should also be placed on their back and away from any cords, heaters, or windows that could cause injury or overheating.
What is a KinderMat?
A KinderMat is a brand name for a type of stackable mat that is commonly used in schools and daycare centers. A KinderMat is made of vinyl-covered foam that is easy to wipe, clean and sanitize.
A KinderMat has interlocking edges or corners that keep it in place when stacked on top of each other. A KinderMat is space-saving but may not be very comfortable or hygienic.
Choosing the best nap mat for daycare can be challenging, but it is worth it to ensure a child’s comfort, well-being, and parents’ satisfaction.
A good nap mat can help children in your care get enough sleep, which boosts their immune system, brain function, growth hormone production, mood regulation, and overall health.