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Babies are big business. Every parent wants the best for their child, and manufacturers are constantly one-upping each other in an attempt to corner the market. This means great things for parents - pretty much anything they can think up is available. But it also means that the simple task of choosing a playmat for baby can be overwhelming. Types of Playmats There are two primary types of baby play mats: foam and fabric. Foam mats are generally made up of individual tiles and can be expanded to larger sizes over time. Fabric mats often resemble colorful quilts and may have crinkle toys and other fun textured objects sewn along the edges. However, both types of play mat are designed to do the same thing: provide a cushioned, safe area for small children to play. Size First and foremost, parents of young children should consider the size of the play mat. Some mats are large enough to cover most of a room's floor surface while others are small enough to play with on road trips. For instance, the IQ Baby Busy Bee Playmat is only 14 x 14 inches and is designed to fold into an activity triangle for road trips; meanwhile, the Edushape Play and Sound is 40 x 40 inches and offers the ideal amount of space for babies learning to crawl. Toys Just as important as a playmat's size are its accompanying toys. While older children may prefer the punch-out letters and numbers that some foam tiles provide, this fine point will be completely lost on young babies, who are more interested in mirrors, lights, sound, and texture. In general, fabric mats will afford the toys young babies are interested in while foam mats provide the space needed for adventurous older children. However, the Edushape Play and Sound is a foam play mat that includes one mirrored tile as well as some musical flowers, while the Tiny Love Supermat is a fabric mat that, at 59 x 59 inches is plenty large for mobile babies. Washability Anytime parents purchase a baby item, washability is going to be a primary concern. Obviously, spraying down a foam play mat with disinfectant is going to be easier than treating and laundering a fabric one. However, different fabric play mats will clean easier and hold their color better than others. Parents should read the labels and make sure they purchase a baby play mat that can be washed rather than dry cleaned and tumble dried rather than line dried. Travel

Even babies who don't travel much do travel some and, in fact, will probably have greater need for the comforts of home than do those babies who are accustomed to traveling. Parents should consider if a baby playmat that travels well is important to have. If a baby is happy with other staple toys when in strange locations, a travel-friendly baby mat is probably unnecessary. However, some babies may be so attached to their playmat that carrying it with them to another location will ease and comfort them. Most fabric play mats will transport easily - some even have carrying handles - while traveling with interlocking foam tiles will not generally be worth the effort. Conclusion

About this Author There are scores of baby playmats to choose from. But by thinking carefully about the factors above, you can be sure of making the right decision. For more help making up your mind, go to Copyright 2010 Holly Dalton. All rights reserved.

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Choosing a Playmat  

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