Heading on a family trip soon and worried what it’ll do to your child’s sleep schedule?
You’re right to be concerned. Quality sleep is so important when it comes to keeping your kids happy and healthy.
A nap mat not only keeps your child comfy while they’re sleeping away from home, but it also provides them with a familiar space to support their emotional comfort, too. Plus, it helps ensure their hygiene and safety.
But not all nap mats are created equal. Here’s what you need to know to pick the best one for your child.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Nap Mat Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
What Is a Nap Mat?
A nap mat is a piece of material that provides a soft place for a child to sleep in the absence of their regular bed. They are usually lightweight and portable, and come in a variety of styles including:
- Roll-up mats.
- Stackable mats.
- Fold-up cushions.
Nap mats keep a child physically comfortable when sleeping on the floor, but they also offer a hygienic barrier from the ground. They help delineate a special space reserved for the child to keep them from leaving their bed, and a regular nap mat offers them familiarity even when sleeping away from home to help them settle down and sleep.
Finally, nap mats are easily washable, unlike a mattress or a carpet, so they are often used in childcare centers to help ensure children have a comfortable yet hygienic space to sleep and to prevent the spread of germs.
When Will I Use a Nap Mat?
Nap mats come in handy in a number of situations — most often when your child needs to sleep away from home. However, they’re plenty handy to have around the house, too.
Some situations where a nap mat can be useful include:
- Childcare centers.
- Grandparents’ house.
- Vacations, hotels, and travel.
- At home — some children will sleep on nap mats when they refuse to stay in bed.
- As a cozy lounging space for movie nights.
- In a reading nook.
What Age Can My Child Use Nap Mats?
Nap mats can be used for children of any age over the age of one. However, their use will differ by age group.
- Babies under one year: Nap mats should not be used. Babies are the safest sleeping in a crib, pack-n-play, or bassinet without bumpers or blankets (1).
- One-year-olds: Nap mats won’t be used regularly at home or daycare for young toddlers as they most likely still need the crib to prevent them from leaving their sleeping space. However, a nap mat can be helpful on the rare occasion you’re away from home without a pack-n-play to set up a designated napping or sleeping space on the floor, so your child will not be at risk of falling out of a bed or off a couch.
- Two- to three-year-olds: As toddlers get a little older, they can understand commands and follow directions more easily — and they’ll be more likely to use a mat if their friends at school are too (2). If your child is in childcare, the use of nap mats will likely become commonplace as your child will understand that they should stay on the mat and not wander around.
- Older preschoolers and school ages: Even if your child has outgrown naps, a nap mat can still come in handy. They’re great to take to sleepovers, throw in the tent when you go camping, or lounge on in the living room during family movie nights. Many schools still have naptime or quiet time until pre-kindergarten.
What Are Nap Mats Made Of?
Nap mats come in different designs and fabrics.
Some are made of foam with a plastic exterior. This makes them easy to clean and sanitize, and they tend to be more durable.
These are ideal for kids who are using their nap mats daily, or for nap mats that are shared between children.
Other nap mats are made of cotton, microfiber, or another soft poly-filled material that are machine washable. They tend to have more padding, with a similar feel to a sleeping bag or a pillow.
They’re not as durable and may flatten over time with heavy use, but there tend to be more cute design options available than with the foam mats, which are usually plain-looking.
What To Look For In Nap Maps
When shopping for a nap mat, consider the following:
- Size: Your child needs to fit on it. Choose one that is big enough — and that they won’t outgrow too quickly.
- Portability: You want a nap mat to be portable and easy to store. Unless you expect your nap mat to be a semi-permanent fixture in your home, avoid institutional mats. While more durable, they tend to be rigid and don’t collapse very well.
- Cleaning Instructions: If you’re choosing a mat for a potty-training toddler, consider choosing one that isn’t absorbent, will protect the carpet below, and can wipe clean after accidents. If you’re picking a nap mat for an older child, you might want to focus more on comfort and choose a soft mat that can be thrown in the washing machine to clean it.
The Best Nap Mats of 2020
As a busy mom, you’d probably be thrilled to get regular naps in every day, but what can I say, toddlers don’t think the same way. To make sure your little one gets quality rest when they do eventually relent and take their naps, choose a nap mat that’s up to the job.
1. Wildkin Original Nap Mat (Planes, Trains, and Trucks)
The developmental stages of toddlers can be all over the map — some may be potty trained, while others might not even be close. Some might stay in one place for nap time, while others refuse to settle without the comfort of a crib. Choose a cute nap mat to hold their attention and make their nap time as enticing as possible.
This nap mat comes in tons of colors and designs, so there’s bound to be one that your toddler will be excited to sleep on. It has a removable pillow so your child can use it or take it off, based on their preference.
It rolls up to be easily portable and has attached carrying straps.
It has an attached blanket so your little one can’t lose it or kick it too far out of reach, and has a cotton flannel interior for maximum comfort. The thickness is about two inches, so your child won’t awaken if they scoot too far off to the side and fall off the mat.
And, best of all, it’s completely machine washable in case they have an accident.
- It’s machine washable.
- It comes in many colors.
- The blanket and pillow are attached.
- It is portable.
- It has a blanket so it’s not appropriate for babies.
- It’s not waterproof.
2. Urban Infant All-in-One Nap Mat
If your child’s daycare has institutional cots and you just need to provide the bedding, then this is the product you’ll want to consider. It has elastic loops that affix your child’s nap mat, with blanket and included pillow, securely to the cot, keeping it from sliding around and helping to ensure your child’s comfort.
All you need to do is bring it home every weekend and throw it in the wash since it’s 100-percent machine washable.
- It attaches to standard daycare cots and mats.
- It is machine washable.
- It’s durable.
- It has a “secret” pocket for your child’s stuffed animal.
- It does not include thick padding.
- It is not waterproof.
3. Hi Sprout Lightweight Nap Mat
If you’re toting around a nap mat, it can be cumbersome to pack up a mat, pillow, and blanket. Some come with bedding included, wrapped up in a neat little portable package. Choose one that your little one will love to entice them to snuggle up and fall asleep when nap time rolls around.
This cozy nap mat is plush and soft to help your child have the best sleep possible when they’re away from home. It’s made of 100 percent cotton so you can feel good about not having synthetic materials next to your little one’s skin.
It has built-in buckle clips for easy roll-up, and handles for easy transport. And since it’s only about three pounds, most children will be able to carry it on their own.
It also comes in several different designs and colors for a personalized nap mat for your child.
- It’s portable.
- It’s cozy.
- It is 100 percent cotton.
- It’s machine washable.
- It’s not waterproof.
- The pillow and blanket are not removable.
4. Milliard Toddler Nap Mat
Kids still deserve comfort, so a thicker mat can offer more padding between your child and the floor to help them sleep longer and more soundly. If you want a thick mat that will not flatten with time, you likely want to opt for a foam-filled mat over a poly-filled mat.
This three-inch-thick mat is made of Certi-PUR foam to ensure your child is not exposed to harmful chemicals while sleeping, which will give you peace of mind. The foam is high density so it will offer comfort to your child, but will not compress and lose its shape over time.
It comes with a soft, removable bamboo cover that also has a non-slip bottom so the nap mat won’t move around during naptime. The cover is also machine washable for easy cleaning when it is dirty or soiled.
- It’s thick.
- It comes with a fitted sheet.
- The material is Certi-PUR.
- At approximately 57 inches, it is relatively long.
- There is no waterproof cover.
- It’s bulky for taking outside the house.
5. Angeles Germ-Free 2” Rest Mat
There are lots of adorable poly-filled nap mats on the market, but if your child is using one every day at daycare, they won’t hold up. As tempting as the cute characters are, opt for an industrial-style mat you can customize with a cute sheet. Then, you can take the sheet home each week and wash it, ensuring your child’s napping space will stay clean despite heavy use.
This 48-inch-long mat has enough length that will suit your child for several years, and its durability makes sure it will hold up just as long. Plus, it has a three-year warranty so you know that your investment is secure.
It’s completely waterproof in case of accidents and is also radio-frequency sealed to resist bacteria and germs. Inside the vinyl exterior is a 2-inch-thick mat, to help keep your child as comfortable as possible.
The mat is also double-sided with two different colors, and can be folded for easy and more compact storage.
- It’s a good size.
- It’s bacteria and germ resistant.
- It’s waterproof.
- It isn’t plush.
- It’s bulky so it isn’t easily portable.
- You must provide additional sheets, blankets, and pillows.
6. KinderMat DayDreamer Rest Mat
All young babies should sleep in a safe, enclosed crib or pack-n-play without loose blankets or fabrics. Older babies may sleep on nap mats — choose one that can be easily cleaned after dealing with drool, spit-up, or diaper leaks.
It’s not cute and fancy, but it’s the best for your baby. This rest mat is made of vinyl so it’s easy to disinfect, contains no soft, absorbent blankets that are easily soiled, and has no pillow which is not necessary for babies until they’re about two years old, anyway (3).
Plus, it’s only 2 inches high, so when your baby wiggles around they won’t be startled or injured if they fall off the edge.
Simple is safest for your baby or young toddler, and you can upgrade to a fancy, full-feature nap mat once they get a little older.
- It’s low to the ground.
- It is waterproof.
- It can be sanitized.
- There are no soft materials that pose a suffocation risk.
- It may not be comfortable for older kids.
- It’s not machine washable.
- It is bulky.
7. Stephen Joseph All-Over Print Nap Mat
The comfiest nap mats can also be the hardest to carry. After all, they’ve got so much padding. Luckily, you don’t have to choose between comfort and functionality with this special nap mat. A special strap system means you’ll be able to take it anywhere, whether you’re on a family road trip or just going to daycare.
The entire nap mat is connected into one giant piece, including the blanket and pillow. It all rolls together with hook and loop straps. A large front pocket has also been built into the design so the mat becomes a traveling case. Your child will love the fun designs and adults will love how easy it is to store and move.
All of the materials are machine washable for easy cleaning. The exterior is made from polyester and the inner blanket and pillow features a velvety soft Velboa. It measures 20 x 52 inches with an oversized 28-inch wide blanket.
- Rolls up quickly for easy transport.
- The extra-wide blanket is attached and super soft.
- Everything is machine washable.
- You’ll have to teach your child how to roll it up if they want to use it on their own.
8. My First Mattress Memory Foam Nap Mat
Memory foam is all the rage in the grown-up sleep industry, and for good reason — it’s comfy! Kids can enjoy the same sound sleep on a nap mat made of memory foam. If your child is potty training, choose one that’s protected with a moisture barrier, or opt for one that’s easy to clean.
This mat is portable, has a carrying handle, and rolls up with a velcro strap for easy transport. It also has a removable pillow for use based upon your child’s preference and developmental stage.
It is constructed of a half-inch polyurethane foam, which is thin enough and firm enough to be safe for younger toddlers, and is made of Certi-PUR approved materials to avoid unhealthy chemicals and irritants. It also has cooling gel foam, which helps prevent your child from overheating during nap time.
While it’s not waterproof in the event of accidents, the soft removable cover is completely machine washable.
- It has cooling memory gel foam.
- It’s Certi-PUR approved.
- It is machine washable.
- It’s portable.
- The cover is not waterproof.
- It is only a half-inch thick.
- It does not include a blanket.
9. AQUATOPIA Deluxe Memory Foam Nap Mat
There isn’t a little girl around who doesn’t love Minnie Mouse — and even though Mickey and Minnie have been around for almost 80 years now, the trend isn’t going away any time soon. This cute nap mat will make your little princess enthusiastic about nap time, and ready to crawl into their cozy bed.
The mat itself is made of comfy 100 percent polyester microfiber. It also comes with a blanket and attached pillow, which can be removed from the case to wash.
This nap mat can be both machine washed and dried.
- It’s cute.
- It can be machine washed and dried.
- It has a blanket and pillow attached.
- It is memory foam, which is super comfortable.
- It’s not waterproof.
- There are no carrying handles.
- Made of polyester, which is a synthetic material.
10. Regalo My Cot Portable Bed
To personalize plain industrial mats and make them comfier, you can put a sheet over them. It will also keep them cleaner, making it necessary to just clean the sheet regularly, rather than the whole mat. If your nap mat doesn’t come with a sheet, you can buy them separately. Check the dimensions of your nap mat -- a crib sheet or pack-n-play sheet may fit just fine.
This is more than just a nap mat — it’s practically a bed in a box. It comes with a solid, all-steel frame that will keep your kiddo off the floor or ground, and a waterproof nylon canvas.
It also comes with a carrying case for easy portability — and even though it has a solid construction, it still only weighs in at 4 pounds.
An included fitted cotton sheet helps protect the mat, and is machine washable for easy cleaning. The cot itself is waterproof and wipeable, and can clean up easily with soap and water.
It sits at 9 inches high, so it’s most appropriate for older children and not the best choice for younger toddlers who may not be accustomed to sleeping in a bed, as they may fall out.
- It is waterproof.
- It comes with a cover.
- It is made from durable steel.
- At 48 inches, it’s on the shorter side.
- Young children could fall out.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick as the best nap mat is the Urban Infant All-in-One Nap Mat. It has elastic to fit over the cot and hold it in place at a child’s daycare.
But it also conveniently rolls up — including a pillow, blanket, and secret place for a lovey — for easy portability if your child is heading to grandma’s house. To top it all off, it’s machine washable to keep it safe and hygienic for your little one.
It’s a great option for any kid, whether they attend daycare or not.
Getting a child to sleep away from home isn’t easy, but having a safe, comfy, and familiar space set aside for them can help. They might start to love their nap mat so much they’ll insist on sleeping on it at home, too.
Questions, comments or suggestions? We’d love to hear them all in the comments!