Nap mats are given to toddlers to provide a comfortable and soft place to sleep or rest during the day in preschools and day-care centres. Each child should have her own personal mat to prevent children from sharing germs or head lice and help keep the classroom more sanitary. When choosing the best toddler nap mat, it is important to find one that suits your toddler's needs and also provides the most comfort and benefits.
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Comfort is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a nap mat for your toddler. In most cases, the mat is the only barrier between him and the hard floor. Choose a mat that is at least 2 inches thick for maximum cushioning. Some mats have a vinyl covering for easy cleanup, but this may not be comfortable for your toddler and his skin. Try to find one that has a soft material on at least one side. However, if your child is not fully potty-trained, it may be best to use a nap mat that has a vinyl or waterproof covering to keep the stuffing inside the mat dry.
Depending on the day care or preschool, you may need to transport your child's nap mat daily. Make it easier on yourself and your toddler by finding a mat that is easy to transport. Some mats roll up easily and have a cord attached to hold the roll together. Some come with pillows; these are not necessary, but if you or toddler wants one, make sure that it is firmly attached to the mat. This ensures that the pillow will not get lost in transit and also that it will be washed along with the mat.
Make sure that the nap mat you choose is able to withstand frequent washings. Find one that is made of materials that do not fade or easily tear. Make sure that the mat is durable enough to prevent the stuffing from clumping after repeated washings. To ensure that your nap mat lasts, follow the washing instructions on the label. A nap mat is usually washed on the gentle cycle using cold water. Too much heat may shrink or destroy the mat.
There are now antibacterial nap mats on the market that help repel germs, rather than harbouring them. It is beneficial to find a mat that has this feature, since children are more prone to getting sick than adults, since their immune systems are still developing. These mats are often labelled "antibacterial" on the package. Nap mats that are not antibacterial could harbour germs and allow them to breed inside the stuffing, and those germs will continue to breed each time the mat is used.
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