The 9 Best Toddler Nap Mats to Buy

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on April 19th, 2023

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Bad nap = toddler meltdown = parent meltdown.

Okay, so how to ensure your toddler has great naps?

Well, nap mats are a great option you should definitely try. They offer toddlers and young children a clean, comfortable, identifiable crash pad to call their own, whether at home or away.

We took a look at the features that make a good toddler nap mat into a great one, so tuck into our findings and check out our list of winners.

What is a nap mat and do you need one?

A nap mat is a miniature padded mattress that can be put on the floor to provide a space for toddlers to sleep. It’s typically made of soft material that’s easy to clean, and most are easy to transport. Nap mats may or may not feature pillows.

Wondering when nap mats are useful?

  • When you’re on-the-go: Toddlers tend to be very sensitive to their nap schedule, and making sure they have a chance to ‘crash’ is important. A nap mat is a great way of providing them with a safe spot to sleep, even when you’re away from home.
  • At day care: While some day care centers provide their own mats, having your own personal nap mat means you know that it’s made of non-toxic material, that your child finds it comfortable, and that it’s being washed regularly.
  • To create a hygienic sleep space: Even at home, some kids prefer to nap in places other than their bed. If they like to doze off on the floor, a soft nap mat gives them a spot to gravitate to when they’re feeling sleepy. It’s also both easy to clean and a more hygienic sleeping surface.

What styles of nap mat can you buy and how do they differ?

Toddler nap mats are available in a variety of styles. Typically, their density and how they’re stored are the main factors that determine these different styles.

Wondering which style of nap mat is right for your toddler?

  • Roll-up nap mats: These picks are particularly easy to travel with, as they simply roll up and fasten when not in use. Though they’re usually pretty lightweight, the downside is that the mattress is not so thick.
  • Stackable mats: An old, convenient standby, these are much like the gymnastics mats we’ve all seen in one P.E. class or another. They stack neatly and are usually quite easy to clean, but are less likely to have soft coverings or pillows.
  • Fold-up cushion mats: Generally a bit more dense and comfortable, fold-up mats store easily but may be bulkier to transport. The exception is mat designs which essentially fuse pillowcases together in a chain, allowing parents to insert their own cushions and zip to secure.

What features should savvy shoppers look for?

When it comes to purchasing a nap mat for your toddler, your intended use determines which features will be most helpful. However, there are some general features that are also important.

Wondering which boxes your toddler’s nap mat should check?

  • Easy to clean: Like all toddler gear, it’s going to be prone to toddler crud. Keeping kid stuff clean is a constant battle, so a nap mat that machine washes or wipes down easily can be a big time-saver.
  • Comfortable: If a nap mat creates very little barrier between your kiddo and the floor, it’s not likely to be very comfortable for them. Look for mats with at least an inch of thickness so they stay comfortable while dozing.
  • Non-toxic: Not all nap mats are made of the same quality, some less reputable foam products are still being treated with flame-retardant chemicals that are dangerous for children. All the picks on our list are safe, but when doing your own research, make sure your final choice is non-toxic.

Are there age restrictions on nap mats?

While there’s technically no ceiling on the age at which nap mats can be used, pediatricians don’t recommend them for babies under a year for safety reasons, even if manufacturers state otherwise. Stick to napping in cribs or carriers until they reach the age of one.

Are they good for public use?

Nap mats are ideal for public use, as they’re generally designed to be easy to clean and not attract dirt.

What about portability?

While some picks are more portable than others, by and large, nap mats are easy for parents to transport.

Our picks of the best toddler nap mats

Editors choice

Our opinion

Colors: Blue
Theme: None
Materials: 20D Nylon fabric and waterproof TPU
Size: 75″ x 23″ x 2.3″ inches
Age range: 3+
Features pillow: Yes

Inflatable picks are favorites when it comes to on-the-go gear, and it’s not hard to imagine why. They’re lightweight and take up significantly less space, so improve packing efficiency by leaps and bounds.

The Weinac Ultralight Camping Sleeping Mattress (check price on Amazon) makes a great nap mat for your toddler, and also a full-sized sleeping pad that can be used by kids and adults alike.

The four-inch thickness of the inflatable mattress offers real comfort during nap time, and it’s a pick that stays both useful and comfortable as they grow, thanks to its super-durable ripstop Nylon fabric.

What we love
  • Inflatable, so it’s lightweight and space efficient to carry in its deflated state
  • Extra thick compared to other picks on our list, offering both distance from the ground and comfort
Watch for
  • The valve can be sensitive, so make sure it’s inserted securely once the mattress has been inflated

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

Colors: White, green  Theme: None

Materials: CertiPur foam  Size: 75 x 25 x 4 inches

Age range: 3+  Features pillow: No

When you’re traveling with kids, anything that makes their gear more portable is a godsend. This Cushy Form Tri-Folding Mattress (check price on Amazon) is designed to make your life easier when on the go.

It’s not just for kiddos, either – this is a full-sized tri-fold mattress that can be shared between family members, or continually used as kids get older. It unfolds to an impressive 75″ length but folds into a compact carrying case with handles when not being used.

It’s about the size of an actual twin-sized bed, which makes it that much more impressive when both storing and carrying!

What we love
  • Approximately the size of a twin-sized mattress when unfolded, but lightweight and easy to carry, thanks to its convenient, handled, carrying case
  • Has a removable, machine-washable cover, so it’s easy to keep hygienic, even on the go
Watch for
  • Case compacts the mattress significantly, and it may take more than a few minutes for its full shape to restore when first set up

Best budget buy

Our opinion

Colors: Red, blue, grey
Theme: None
Materials: Vinyl and foam
Size: 19 x 45 inches
Age range: 3+
Features pillow: No

Folding mats have been fixtures in P.E. and gymnastics classes for years – most parents probably remember dragging these out once or twice for tumbling and sit-ups in their own youth.

This red and blue One Inch Basic Rest Mat from KinderMat (check price on Amazon) is one cozy blanket and pillow away from being a nap pad that’s a great size for growing toddlers. It’s a versatile pick, great for both playtime and napping, and is incredibly easy to clean, thanks to its sturdy, waterproof vinyl covering.

It’s a bit utilitarian compared to some of the other picks on the list, but is more likely to get regular and continued use both at home and away.

What we love
  • The safe, soft vinyl coating that covers these mats is waterproof and easy for parents to clean
  • One side is red and one blue, so it’s easy for toddlers to learn which side of the mat should be placed on the floor
Watch for
  • It doesn’t come with a pillow or blanket like some other picks, so parents will need to provide them for this to be a comfy napping spot

Best thick nap mat

Our opinion

Colors: Blue, green, red, yellow, purple
Theme: Robots
Materials: Cotton and Polyester
Size: 50 x 1.5 x 20 inches
Age range: 3 – 7 years
Features pillow: Yes

Soft, cushy, comfy places are the best for napping, and don’t kids know it! That’s why this extra-thick Wildkin Nap Mat (check price on Amazon) is such a big hit at sleepovers, on camping trips, and even at home.

The bright, colorful robot design and cheerful blue background are fun, and make it easy for kids to spot their own mat from all the others. This is a roll-up pick, so is super compact when stored, and even boasts an easy carry-handle that makes it perfect for outings.

It also features a plush pillow, providing kiddos with somewhere comfortable to rest their heads when nap time rolls around.

What we love
  • Thanks to the roll-up design of this pick, it’s very space-efficient – it also features a handle, so is easy for parents or kids to carry
  • Comes with a pillow attached, which makes nap time more comfortable and is one more item parents can cross off the packing list
Watch for
  • While the rest of the mat is machine washable, the pillow can only be spot-cleaned

Best nap mat for girls

Our opinion

Colors: Red and white
Theme: Polka dots
Materials: Soft plush fabric
Size: 26 x 75 inches
Age range: 3+
Features pillow: No

A few pillows on the floor have sufficed as a cozy place to play and rest for many kids over the years, but this creative pick from Butterfly Craze (check price on Amazon) elevates the concept into a nap mat everyone will want to snooze on.

The ‘mat’ is essentially a chain of pillowcases with zippered ends, connecting horizontally at the seam. Parents insert five pillows into the generously-sized mat/case, zippering to secure.

This creates a long, extra plush cushion for kids, or adults, (we’re not kidding about the size of this bad boy!) to nap on. It’s a creative way to make a portable mat, and most homes you’ll visit will have pillows to supply. On the other hand, it’s not so easy to carry when stuffed, so this pick may work better at home.

What we love
  • Makes use of pillows you already have on hand, so easy to store when not being used
  • Because the pillows slide effortlessly out of this mat, it’s easy to clean by machine washing
Watch for
  • Comes without pillows, and not everywhere you go will have five spare ones on hand, so might be a better at-home pick

Best tri-fold nap mat

Our opinion

Colors: Blue and grey
Theme: None
Materials: Bamboo, CertiPur certified toxin and chemical-free foam
Size: 24 x 57 x 3 inches
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Features Pillow: No

Simplicity, portability, and comfort are the name of the game when it comes to a quality nap mat. The Milliard Tri-folding Mat (check price on Amazon) combines certified CertiPur foam, which is non-toxic and chemical-free, and a soft bamboo cover, removable for simple machine washing.

The three-inch mattress is soft and comfortable, letting toddlers enjoy a nap that feels closer to their crib or bed than most other nap mats.

This pick is durable, and the tri-fold construction means it’s both easy to travel with and takes up minimal space. It’s also lightweight, despite its sturdy, thick build, so older toddlers can carry it on their own.

What we love
  • Made from safe, non-toxic CertiPur foam, and the soft, natural bamboo cover can be removed and machine washed
  • Is three inches thick, so is extra comfortable for napping
Watch for
  • While extra comfortable, comes without a pillow or blanket, so parents will need to provide them

Best nap mat with pillow

Our opinion

Colors: Blue, green, red
Theme: Action Robot
Materials: Polyester
Size: 46 x 21 inches
Age range: 36 – 60 months
Features pillow: Yes

As toddlers get older and a bit more social, they’re eager to show off their personalities and favorite things. Kids’ favorite action robots are featured in the Baby Boom Toddler Nap Mat (check price on Amazon).

Kids will love bringing this soft, easy-to-wash mat to daycare and on overnight visits. It’s a roll-up pick, so it stores and transports easily. Rolls up with hook and loop fasteners, with a convenient carrying handle.

It’s big enough for them to use until around age five, so has a bit more longevity than other picks on our list.

What we love
  • Features kid’s favorite action robots they will surely love
  • Has a blanket and pillow attached, so parents won’t have to pack extra gear
Watch for
  • Because it’s a roll-up mat, is a bit thinner and less comfortable than some other picks

Best Mickey Mouse themed nap mat

Our opinion

Colors: Blue, red, orange
Theme: Mickey’s aircrew
Materials: Polyester microfiber
Size: 32.5 x 35.5 inches
Age range: 2+
Features pillow: Yes

Mickey Mouse is always off on a new adventure and he’s seen here leading his aircrew as they carry your little sleeper to dreamland.

This blue and red designed Disney Mickey’s Rolled Nap Mat (check price on Amazon) is classic-cute and features Mickey’s cheerful face as he lifts his aviator goggles to smile at your kiddo.

This roll-up pick is small in storage, travels easily, and comes with an attached fleece pillow and blanket, making packing for trips and overnights easier for parents. It’s made of polyester microfiber, so is extra soft and can be machine washed.

What we love
  • Features Mickey Mouse, an iconic and beloved character in the childhoods of many parents and kids alike
  • Is machine washable and comes with a blanket and pillow, so packing, storing and cleaning are simple
Watch for
  • Because it’s a roll-up mat, it’s a bit thinner and less comfortable than some other picks

Best memory foam nap mat

Our opinion

Colors: Blue
Theme: None
Materials: CertiPur foam
Size: 41 x 21 x 1 inches
Age range: 1+
Features pillow: Yes

If you’ve ever slept on a memory foam mattress – or even shoved your hand into one of those memory foam cubes on display at a department store – you know why it’s comfortable.

It holds the form of whoever lays on it, creating unique, personalized support. This premium My First Memory Foam Nap Mat (check price on Amazon) is made from certified non-toxic, chemical-free CertiPur memory foam with cooling gel channels.

It’s also covered in a soft, plush fabric case that’s easy to remove and wash. A removable pillow is included, and can be added to offer toddlers extra comfort during nap time.

The royal blue mat is cheerful and inviting, and the supportive memory foam construction will have you asking your kiddo to move over and make room for you!

What we love
  • Made of CertiPur memory foam, which is certified chemical-free and non-toxic, and features cooling gel channels to prevent them from overheating during their nap
  • Comes with a pillow, which can be inserted or removed through the cover of the mat
Watch for
  • Although it’s made of memory foam, it’s still fairly thin compared to other picks on our list

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to clean and care for my child’s nap mat?

The material that your toddler’s nap mat is made of is what determines how best to clean it. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s instructions, which offer useful guidelines for cleaning your map.

  • For machine washable mats, cool water washes on the gentle cycle with mild soap, followed by flat air drying, will prevent stuffing from bunching up and preserve the vivid colors and structural integrity of the nap mat.
  • For cloth or foam mats that aren’t machine washable, consider a cover that can be switched out and washed. Otherwise, spot cleaning with a barely-wet washcloth can help to remove stains.
  • For plastic/inflatable mats that are water-resistant, warm water and mild soap with a soft cloth should remove just about anything. Air dry for best results.

How will I know when they don’t need to nap anymore?

As toddlers evolve into kids, they tend to nap less and aren’t shy about letting you know it. Some kids stop needing a daily nap by the time they’re 4 but may continue to nap occasionally.

Wondering when to stop encouraging a nap?

  • They simply won’t fall asleep: If they’re restless during what used to be nap time and the missed sleep isn’t impacting their behavior, or other patterns, they may be outgrowing the need for napping.
  • They’re waking up at the crack of dawn: It’s okay on Christmas morning (sort of!), but 5 a.m. is not a time you want to be dragged from bed on a regular basis. If they’re waking up like they’ve got cows to milk and fields to tend, they might be getting too much sleep during the day.
  • They’re approaching school-age: Once kids start Kindergarten, it’s usually time to renounce afternoon nap time. They’re becoming physically mature enough to leave their mid-day respite behind, and it will prepare them for their school routine going forward.

Are all nap mats safe for kids? What should parents be on the lookout for?

Whenever we’re choosing toys, gear, or clothes for our kids, making the safest possible choice should be top of mind. While most nap mats designed for toddlers are safe, here are some things that cautious parents should be on the lookout for.

  • Choking hazards in the form of zipper pulls, buttons or fasteners, that make nap mats unsafe for children under three
  • Mats that are treated with flame-retardant chemicals which are unsafe for children to breathe and touch
  • Mats that are made out of unknown plastic materials, as their safety isn’t verified

Why are nap mats more convenient than tossing down blankets and pillows?

Sure, we’ve all lived through countless childhood sleepovers where “bed” was a pile of couch cushions, old comforters, and pillows on the floor. It works, but there are a few reasons nap mats are way more convenient for toddler parents.

  • They’re a single unit: A nap mat is a single, easy-to-store unit that’s specifically designed to provide comfort
  • They’re easy to clean: Unlike all the extra blankets in the linen closet, washing a nap mat is easy
  • They’re more portable: While pillows and blankets can be a good solution at home, they’re a struggle while on the go. This is where nap mats shine!

And our winner is…

Inflatable gear for kids is great because it’s lightweight and easy to store, but must be durable. The full-size Weinac Ultralight Camping Sleeping Pad (check price on Amazon) is designed for the elements, so its capacity to handle what toddlers can throw at it is outstanding.

It’s also ridiculously easy to clean, with no washer or dryer ever required to create a hygienic nap spot. It’s not hard to see why this ultra-light pick is our Editor’s Choice — it’s space-efficient, sturdy, extra comfortable, and designed for years of use.

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on April 19th, 2023

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A toddler naps on a mat