Testing Reveals Toxic Chemicals Found in Nap Mats

October 12, 2016
Woman and baby sitting on floor mat

Nap time. As a young child I dreaded this long and boring daily occurrence. I often could not get to sleep, and making matters worse, the kids around me always seemed to doze off within seconds, so there was no one for me to make faces at. Of course as I aged and matured, I joined the rest of the adult world, realizing just how lucky we were as kids to have time set aside in our daily routines for nap time.

What the vast majority of the adult world, and most importantly parents and childcare providers, do not realize however, is that some nap mats contain toxic flame retardant chemicals. With most young children taking a one to two-hour nap each day, often at a daycare center and on a nap mat, it is vital that the materials in these products be healthy for kids.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to developmental issues such as reduced IQ, early onset of puberty and hyperactivity: all issues that have been associated with toxic flame retardant chemicals. For parents and childcare providers whose kids spend countless hours resting on nap mats, this is your wake up call.

In the Spring of 2016, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) tested 12 nap mats from a variety of manufacturers and retailers for the presence of toxic flame retardant chemicals. The results of our product testing: 2 out of the 12 nap mats contained high and concerning levels of toxic flame retardant chemicals.

To see a full list of the nap mat companies whose products did and did not contain toxic flame retardant chemicals, click here.

Toxic flame retardant chemicals are not needed in these products, and there are no flammability regulations that require them. In addition, the use of toxic flame retardants has not been shown to provide any added fire safety in these products.

The above link also contains tips for parents and childcare providers in order to help protect themselves and the kids that they care for. A downloadable version of this fact sheet can be found in this link as well.

Isa Gaillard
Environmental Justice Fellow
Center for Environmental Health