Babies are adorable, but they’re also ridiculously messy. Whether they’re eating, playing, or just rolling around on the floor there’s always something to clean up — be it food, toys, or suspicious bodily fluids.
Are you worried about the mess your baby will make in your home?
Thankfully, there are ways to minimize the mess and work. Baby splash mats are great for containing spills and protecting floors and carpets from damage. I’ll show you what to look for, and introduce you to some of my favorite splash mats.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Baby Splash Mat Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
What Is a Splash Mat?
A splash mat is a piece of waterproof fabric or other waterproof material that goes under a baby’s high chair or play area. It protects the floor below from food, stains, and other messes.
Splash mats are also known as:
- Splat mats.
- Feeding mats.
Do I Need a Splash Mat?
A splash mat can help you save time, energy, and sanity by reducing the need to clean after mealtime spills or play sessions (source). It can let your child experience the joy of eating spaghetti without you worrying — you can sit back and enjoy the cuteness overload.
It can also help protect your floors and carpets from permanent damage, including stains and water.
Splash mats are helpful:
- Under high chairs at mealtimes.
- Under art easels.
- As tablecloths or underneath the table during play dough sessions.
- Beneath sensory bins.
- Under indoor water tables.
- As a barrier between your child and a dirty floor.
- Under your child’s seat at a restaurant to avoid leaving a large mess.
- When traveling, it can help your child identify their designated play space.
Types of Splash Mats
Most splash mats function the same, but they do come in different sizes. Some are round, others are square, and still others are rectangular. Choose one that will fit your space.
The material that splash mats are made of varies, too. Some are made of 100 percent plastic for ease of cleaning, while others are made of fabric with a waterproof backing, similar to cloth diapers.
What To Look For In A Splash Mat
When purchasing a splash mat for your baby, you should consider:
- Use: How will you be using your splash mat? Will it be used in the playroom under the art easel, or the kitchen under the high chair? This will influence both the size and aesthetics of the splash mat you need.
- Size: Measure the space that you’d like covered — or, if you’ve chosen a mat that you like, measure the space before you make your final purchase to see how large the mat will be in comparison. Splash mats come in all different sizes, you’re bound to find one that will work for you.
- Decor: If your splash mat will be used a majority of the time, it’s going to become part of your decor. Choose one you like — and if it matches the rest of your home decor, especially if it’s in a high-traffic area like the kitchen, even better.
- Cleaning Instructions: Do you want to be able to hose your splash mat off in the backyard, toss it in the washing machine, wipe it off with a sponge? Make sure the cleaning instructions align with the way you’re hoping to clean it.
- Weight/Thickness: If you’re using your splash mat at home, the weight may not matter much. But if you’re planning to use it on the go, pay attention to its storage size, weight, and material thickness so you don’t end up with a splash mat that takes up your entire diaper bag.
The Best Baby Splash Mats of 2019
It’s only a matter of time till your child decides to express their inner Jackson Pollock and fling their breakfast all over the kitchen. While they have the time of their lives, you’ll want something that’ll let you wash it all away and pretend the mess never happened — in other words, a hardworking splash mat.
Here are our 5 favorite picks for 2019:
1. Sugarbooger Jumbo Floor Splat Mat
Fold it to Fit
This mat is a 42 inch square, which means it’s small enough to fit into a variety of spaces, or the edges could be folded under to fit an even tighter space if needed. This might be a good fit for moms who have small apartments or houses.
It’s thin and portable, and even comes with a zippered pouch to be taken on the go. And the cute alphabet design is educational, too!
It’s made of laminated cotton canvas, which means it’s not super thick and bulky — and it’s easier to fold than 100 percent plastic mats. That’s another reason it’s good to take with you while you’re traveling.
It’s also free of lead, PVC, BPA, and phthalates to give you peace of mind.
- It has a square shape, which is versatile.
- It comes with a zippered pouch.
- It can be wiped clean.
- It has no PVC, BPA, phthalates, or lead.
- It is small.
- The design may not match your kitchen or dining area.
- It cannot be dried in a machine.
2. Bumkins Waterproof Splat Mat
This 42 inch square mat is thin and portable, making it easy to use either at home or on the go. That’s great for moms who like to do some traveling with their baby along for the ride.
The design is cute and modern, and it is completely waterproof to put your mind at ease that your floors are protected.
While the size will not protect your floors if your child tends to throw food, it is more than big enough to catch the typical spills that are the hallmark of toddler meal time. It is machine washable for easy clean-up or you can wipe it off with a rag, and the material is BPA, PVC, vinyl, phthalate, and lead-free to give you peace of mind.
- It is square, which will fit in more spaces.
- It’s thin and portable.
- It is machine washable.
- It’s BPA, PVC, vinyl, phthalate, and lead-free.
- It cannot be machine dried.
- It’s not very large.
3. Children’s Factory Rectangular Splash Mat
Best for BIG Messes
At 50 inches by 72 inches, this splash mat will keep all of the messes off of your floor. But because of its size, it may be too large for some spaces.
However, since it’s square you could potentially fold it to fit your space — or even trim it down for a completely custom fit.
It’s thick and durable, and does not slip on hardwood floors. Because of its size, it is versatile in its use and could be used as a tablecloth, under a high chair, or on the floor of a craft area.
To clean, it can be easily wiped with a rag. That’s a big time saver for moms who don’t have the will or desire to mess with much extra cleaning.
- It is large.
- It can be trimmed for a custom fit.
- It’s durable.
- It can be wiped clean.
- It may be too large for some spaces.
- It’s not very portable.
- The material is not specified.
4. Prince Lionheart Multi-purpose Catchall
This cute mat is petite and will fit small spaces. It can be wiped off with a sponge or tossed in the washing machine for easy clean-up which is something every busy mom should appreciate.
While it can’t be dried, it air-dries quickly so you won’t be waiting on the mat when your toddler is losing patience for his meal.
It has a non-stick backing to prevent the mat from sliding all over the floor, and is made of laminated cotton, meaning it is not as thick and bulky as 100 percent plastic mats. It would be good for taking on the go to grandparents’ houses or restaurants to avoid leaving a big mess in your wake.
- It will fit in smaller spaces.
- It’s machine washable.
- It is portable.
- It has a non-skid backing.
- It will not cover the whole floor.
- It cannot be machine dried.
- It does not dry as quickly as 100 percent plastic.
5. Nuby High Chair Floor Protector
This circular splash mat will match any decor because it’s transparent. It’s made of 100 percent vinyl plastic so it wipes off easily, and its smaller 50-inch profile will fit more spaces than some of the larger mats.
The circle design makes a lot of sense for high chairs as kids tend to throw food in a radius, but at the same time this design limits its use to feeding. It may not be the best for messy play or arts and crafts.
It is made of thick plastic to avoid tears, and is completely waterproof to protect either flooring or carpets from spills. That’s a big benefit for moms who have babies who think dropping their cups from their high chairs is the best game ever.
- It will match any decor.
- It’s waterproof.
- It will fit in smaller spaces.
- The plastic may crease if folded frequently.
- It may be too small to catch all the messes.
- It’s bulky — not ideal for travel.
- It may not be the best option for arts and crafts.
How Many Do I Need?
While you could get by with one splash mat, it’s handy to have an extra around the house. If you’re primarily using a splash mat under your baby’s high chair, it can be cumbersome to move it around the house for messy play, or pack it up for travel.
It’s easiest to have one under the high chair for primary use, and a second, likely larger, one on hand for other uses as they arise. It’s also nice to have a back-up splash mat you can rotate into use if the primary one is in the laundry.
How Do I Clean My Splash Mat?
Splash mats are made to resist water and spills, and can usually be simply wiped clean. However, for an occasional deep clean — or for serious messes you don’t want to deal with — you may want to throw it in the washing machine.
First, you should check your manufacturer’s instructions as to whether this is acceptable for your product or not. If you do this, it’s best to wash it on cold to prevent damage to the waterproof plastic.
My personal favorite is the Sugarbooger Splash Mat. It’s machine washable, portable, and versatile for use under a high chair or in a playroom.
It’s also made without harmful chemicals to give you peace of mind. And while the design might not match your kitchen decor, at least it’s educational.
Splash mats are perfect for keeping your baby’s messes contained while also protecting your carpet or floor. At the end of the day your little one might still need a bath, but at least you won’t have to mop the floor!
Moms of hungry toddlers, care to share your mealtime tips? We always love to hear advice, questions or suggestions in the comments.