Which baby water mat is best?

Along with baby play mats, baby water mats are one of the best ways to get newborns and infants to start engaging with their environment. They’re great for tummy time. They’re also a good way to let little ones move around and build up the muscles and coordination they’ll need as they grow. If you’re looking for the best baby water mat, check out the Splashin’kids Inflatable Tummy Time Premium Water Mat.

What to know before you buy a baby water mat

Intended age range

Most play mats, including baby water mats, are suitable for young children and infants. They’re fairly safe and can cushion babies if they fall while moving around on them. Of course, even though they’re safe to use, it’s always a good idea to supervise young children.

Baby water mats are recommended for those who are between 2 or 3 months and 7 months old. During this age range, they are still engaging in what’s known as tummy time and are starting to hold themselves up or move around. At this stage, they may not be able to turn over on their own or crawl, but they can still start to engage important muscles while on the mat.

Once babies are a little older and can stand or crawl longer distances on their own, they may lose interest in the water mat.

Benefits

Even just 10 to 15 minutes of daily tummy time on the water mat can help babies grow and build muscles in their neck, shoulders and joints. Plus, the interactive elements that many water mats and playmats have can provide cognitive benefits and improve hand-eye coordination. They’re also fun ways to introduce the little one to different shapes, colors and sea animals.

Cleaning and maintenance

A baby water mat is a great way to keep tummy time safe and fun, but it also helps keep any potential messes in one place. That said, it is necessary to keep the mat clean and sanitary to prevent harmful bacteria, mold or germs from building up.

To clean the mat, avoid using any harsh chemicals. A nontoxic or natural cleaning product is usually a good option since they don’t usually have many irritants in them. Another option is to use a solution of warm water and white vinegar (4:1 ratio) to clean the mat. Whatever you end up using, wipe it clean with plain water after and let it dry before using it again.

Avoid using things like pens or markers around the mat. These things could leave permanent marks on the mat. Sharper objects may even create small tears or holes in the mat, causing it to pop or deflate.

What to look for in a quality baby water mat

Materials

Baby water mats, especially those made from plastics like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), are usually very squishy. As long as the plastic is BPA-free, it should be safe for infants and other small children or pets. Along with making sure it’s BPA-free, check the water mat for any other materials or chemicals it may contain to make sure it’s safe and nontoxic for your family.

The best baby water mats are constructed from heavy-duty, nontoxic, BPA-free PVC. These are highly durable and very difficult to pop, even with regular play.

Opening system

A water mat made for babies typically has a very simple cap that covers a hole where the water goes in. To use it, simply turn or pull the cap off the mat and fill it with water. Don’t fill the mat completely unless the manufacturer’s instructions specifically say you should. When filled with water and air, the mat should still be squishy.

Interactive elements

Most baby water mats have an oceanic theme or design to them. Some have a sea creature shape. Many of these water mats also have interactive elements such as toys, fish or other sea creatures inside them. When babies move around or press down on these things, the animals or toys move around in the mat.

Size

For the most part, baby water mats are all around the same size. The average size is about 2 feet in length and 1 foot or so in width. There are larger mats, though. Mats with a unique shape may have different dimensions.

A few of the larger water mats are designed to accommodate two or more babies at a time. If you have twins or triplets, or if you have a friend with a similarly aged baby, these mats may be a better option for you.

Whatever the size, baby water mats are usually easily moved and stored. Some of them fold neatly on themselves to make storing them easier. They may require you to deflate them before moving them.

How much you can expect to spend on a baby water mat

Baby water mats usually cost $15-$20.

Baby water mat FAQ

When should you start tummy time?

A. You can start tummy time at any point in the baby’s life. Many parents start a day or two after they get home from the hospital. When starting out, you may only need to do tummy time for a few minutes a day. As the baby gets a little older, you can gradually increase the time to 10-20 minutes.

How can you prevent mold from building up inside a water mat?

A. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water inside the mat. This should help keep mold from growing. If you have it, also add around half a teaspoon of laundry detergent to the inside of the mat.

What’s the best baby water mat to buy?

Top baby water mat

Splashin'kids Inflatable Tummy Time Premium Water Mat

Splashin’kids Inflatable Tummy Time Premium Water Mat

What you need to know: This standard-sized water play mat consists of heavy-duty, BPA-free plastic and features an awesome oceanic design complete with interactive sea life.

What you’ll love: Reliable and virtually unbreakable, it has six toys that float around for babies to try to catch during tummy time.

What you should consider: There may be a slight smell when it first arrives.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top baby water mat for the money

Infinno Inflatable Tummy Time Mat

Infinno Inflatable Tummy Time Mat

What you need to know: Designed for infants ages 3-12 months, this water mat is high quality, durable and sure to keep young kids entertained.

What you’ll love: Made from nontoxic, durable materials, this interactive water mat can help babies learn about things such as colors, shapes and textures. Plus, it helps them build motor skills and strength as they learn to move around and hold themselves up.

What you should consider: It’s on the heavier side and can take a while to fully empty out.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Gebra Inflatable Tummy Time Water Mat

Gebra Inflatable Tummy Time Water Mat

What you need to know: This turtle-shaped water mat is fun, interactive and large enough for growing infants to play on for months to come.

What you’ll love: Nontoxic and BPA-free, this baby water mat is very easy to set up and use. It has an outer ring you can inflate with air and an inner section for water. It’s highly interactive.

What you should consider: It has a strong plastic smell when first opened, so you’ll need to air it out before using it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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