Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for best toddler nap mats

Your tot might not be a baby anymore, but nap time is still an important part of any toddler’s day. All that learning, playing, exploring, and testing boundaries can be downright exhausting and, whether they know it or not, little ones desperately need a break in between.

If you're looking for a portable sleep solution for daycare, sleepovers, or a trip to Granny's house, a toddler nap mat is just the ticket. Designed for on-the-go or impromptu use, toddler nap mats are generally a breeze to transport, set up, and pack away.

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Babies under the age of one should never be left unsupervised on a nap mat. Loose fabric and soft, unsupportive surfaces can block airways, potentially leading to suffocation.

Key considerations


Toddler nap mats come in a handful of styles. Don't forget to give some thought to where and how it will be used — some states have strict regulations when it comes to nap mat use in daycares and schools, so it's wise to check first before choosing.

Folding nap mats: Folding nap mats come in varying thicknesses and feature three to four padded sections in one case, allowing caregivers to fold the mat between uses. These are often covered with a waterproof vinyl shell to shield the mat from spills and accidents. Soft fabric covers can be bought separately if noise, comfort, or odor are a concern.

Roll-up nap mats: Roll-up nap mats consist of a cozy and flexible layer of padding that can easily be rolled up for storage or travel. These highly portable mats usually use a Velcro fastener, and many of them feature handles for carrying convenience. Some even come with built-in pillows, ensuring little ones always have a comfy place to rest their heads during naptime.

All-in-one nap mats: If you'd rather not deal with the hassle of lugging a separate pillow and blanket, an all-in-one nap mat might be the perfect solution. These mats conveniently come with built-in blankets and pillows and generally feature a roll-up design, making them a breeze to travel with.

Cot covers: Cot covers aren't typically padded as well as other types of toddler nap mats, but they don't need to be. Designed to fit over a daycare cot or pad, cot covers resemble all-in-one nap mats, but they come with elasticized corner straps that allow them to be secured around cot legs or pad corners. If you're looking to improve the comfort of your child's daycare cot or simply want a more streamlined bedding solution, a cot cover is worth looking into.


Unless you're guided by daycare rules, size requires some serious thought. Heavily padded toddler nap mats can be bulky and awkward to transport, but your child's comfort certainly shouldn't take a backseat to portability, either. Little ones sleeping on daycare cots or nap pads might not need generous cushioning, but if your toddler naps directly on the floor, we recommend choosing a mat that's at least one inch thick. Also, keep in mind that kids can grow larger seemingly overnight, so be sure to opt for something that's roomy enough to accommodate at least a bit of growth.


It can be tough enough for toddlers to wind down without the added distraction of scratchy fabrics or sparse cushioning. Choosing a cozy and inviting nap mat can make a world of difference. Soft fabrics, like fleece or flannel, and a bit of extra padding can boost comfort and help your little one get the most out of their forty winks.

Cleaning ease

Wherever kids go, messes are bound to follow. Whether it's a spill, an accident, or grime transferred from grubby hands, your toddler's nap mat will need regular cleaning. For a hassle-free cleaning experience, we recommend looking for removable covers that zip on and off smoothly or choosing an option that can simply be tossed into the washing machine.

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Expert Tip
During winter months, hard floors can be frigid. Consider placing your toddler's nap mat on a carpet, blanket, or cot to keep the cold from seeping through.



Toddler nap mats that come with accessories deliver a comprehensive sleep setup that just about any parent can appreciate. Built-in pillows or a combination of sewn-on blankets and removable pillows can boost portability and help streamline the entire naptime process.

Carry handles

Carry handles may not top your list of must-have features, but they'll certainly come in handy when you're juggling a toddler, your bag, your child's bag, and a nap mat. A well-placed and securely attached carry handle can help make life a little easier.

Colors and prints

Determined and willful, toddlers have a tendency to dig their heels in when it comes to doing anything that isn't exciting, fun, or interesting. While naps aren't exactly a thrill a minute, they don't have to be a nightmare, either. Choosing a colorful nap mat with a cute print can foster a bit of enthusiasm and curb resistance.

"Some nap mats come with name tags. These allow you to personalize your toddler's nap mat while also making it easier to spot in a crowd when it's time to go home."

Toddler nap mat prices


Basic folding nap mats cost between $15 and $20. These typically measure one inch thick or less.


The $20 to $40 price bracket opens up a world of options in just about every style. Whether you're looking for an extra-thick folding nap mat or an all-in-one model, you'll have a host of options to choose from in this price range.


If you're looking for plush padding, superior craftsmanship, or a rich feature set, you can expect to shell out anywhere from $40 to $70.

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Expert Tip
Don't forget to remove pillows before washing all-in-one nap mats. Fibers can easily break up and clump, causing pillows to become lumpy and uncomfortable.


  • Get your child involved in the selection process. Allowing your child to pick a favorite color or print will instill a sense of ownership that can help smooth over naptime wrinkles. We suggest rounding up two or three appropriate options and letting your toddler do the rest.
  • Test the nap mat at home. If you're getting a nap mat specifically for daycare, allow your toddler to use it at home first to build a sense of familiarity.
  • Explain what the nap mat is for and where it will be used. Give your little one time to prepare by explaining when and why she'll be using her nap mat.
  • Send a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Sending your toddler to daycare can be an emotional experience. When naptime rolls around, a favorite stuffed animal or blankie can provide some much needed security.
  • Keep your toddler's nap mat clean. Sleep hygiene is directly linked to sleep quality. Washing or cleaning your nap mat at least once a week can help your little one get the most out of naptime.

Other products we considered

Despite being somewhat basic, the folding Angeles Rest Angeles Germ-Free Nap Mat complies with two of the most common daycare nap mat rules: it offers a generous two inches of padding, and its waterproof vinyl cover makes it a breeze to clean. It's also radio-frequency sealed for superior bacterial resistance and has received GreenGuard Certification for children and schools.

If you're looking for a high-quality, all-in-one nap mat, the Bambino Bliss Kids Nap Mat is a solid choice. This feature-rich option is snuggly soft and comes with everything you need for naptime, neatly wrapped up in one package. It also comes in eight fun prints, including dinosaurs and mermaids, so you can count on finding one your toddler will love.

Nap mat blankets aren't usually sewn along the bottom, and many are shorter than the mat itself, leaving lots of little toes sticking out. The Hi Sprout Kids Nap Mat effectively solves this problem with a generous blanket that fits the length of the nap mat perfectly. It's ultra-portable with a sturdy strap and buckle fastener, a carry handle, and a travel bag.

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Toddler nap mats are excellent multitaskers, and many will happily follow your child from daycare to Grandma's and back again. All-in-one nap mats can even work as sleeping bags while camping or staying over at a friend's house.


Q. How can I clean a foam nap mat?
Foam nap mats aren't usually washable. The good news is that these nap mats typically come with removable covers. Waterproof vinyl covers can easily be wiped down with soapy water, while most fabric covers are washing machine safe.

Q. Can I use a toddler nap mat overnight?
This depends on its thickness and overall comfort. Toddler nap mats are designed to be used for just an hour or two at a stretch, and many don't offer enough padding to keep little ones comfortable throughout the night. However, if you're in a pinch, a nap mat with a thickness of between two and three inches will provide a decent amount of cushioning for little bodies.

Q. Can an all-in-one toddler nap mat be used on a cot?
Absolutely. All-in-one toddler nap mats can help improve cot comfort even without elasticated corner straps. Keep in mind, however, that there might be some shifting and bunching.

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