Different Kinds of Foam: Why TPU Foam is Ideal for Baby Play Mats

Different Kinds of Foam: Why TPU Foam is Ideal for Baby Play Mats

The moment your baby arrives, and you look into their eyes, it can be hard to imagine ever letting them go. Parents are encouraged to start tummy time from the day they return home from hospital, so it won’t be long until you are spending plenty of time on the floor next to your little one as they begin to explore their environment.

A play mat is one of the most important purchases you’ll make. Typically, baby play mats are made of fabric or foam, which provides a soft landing for unexpected tumbles and an easy-care surface. However, there are several different types of foam mats available.

Standard foam baby play mats are typically manufactured from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), which is generally considered to be a safe material for babies however after testing, we found this material to be too flimsy.

We researched many materials, from latex yoga mats (risky for latex allergies) to natural rubber (gets sticky, hard to clean, and has an allergy risk) to PVC (releases toxic chemicals and carcinogens) before we settled on Thermoplastic Polyurethane.

TPU not only displays excellent durability, flexibility, and shock absorbency, it does all this without compromising on safety. The versatility of this foam means you’ll find it in many everyday items (band-aids, sporting goods, footwear, inflatable rafts, and mattresses). It is also widely used in the medical field due to its non-toxic, hypoallergenic nature.

Let’s look at the most common foam materials used for baby play mats in more detail.


Our favourite foam, TPU, is non-toxic, waterproof, durable, flexible, and displays excellent shock absorbency. While it is more expensive than other foam materials, the benefits outweigh the costs.


Expanded polyethylene (EPE) foam is lightweight, semi-rigid, and flexible and often used in packaging for impact and shock absorption. This food-grade polyethylene is waterproof and free of toxic elements. However, EPE offers limited durability.


Rubber is 100% natural, made from the sap of rubber trees. Rubber is the base material for hundreds of items, from shoes, tyres, and erasers to many other everyday items.  Rubber is natural, thick, non-slip, and free of toxic elements but can have a strong ‘rubber’ smell. Rubber play mats often develop a patina and overall stickiness, which can be problematic in the future.

Let your baby play in style - Ludere

Our range of TPU foam baby play mats allow your baby to play in comfort and style. We source and craft our play mats from 100% sustainable and biodegradable TPU foam, focusing on creating beautiful and functional additions to your home.

We designed our Ludere baby play mats so that they could be used by the whole family. They feature thick, shock-absorbent cushioning to ensure a safe and comfortable space for tummy time adventures, a yoga session, or stretching after an exercise class.