Let’s be honest: kids are messy. And while there’s no getting around it, it’s never more true when it comes to dinner time.
When you’re looking for a placemat for your kids, there’s nothing more important than safety. You want to make sure that the placemat that your children are touching, eating from, (and potentially chewing on) is safe. Only after you’re sure of that do you worry about all the other characteristics you want in a placemat – convenient, easy to clean, cute, etc.
Silicone is a reliable material. It’s sturdy, non-toxic, and easy to clean. To help you make your choice, we’ve taken a survey of the market and gathered up some of the top products available. Here’s a complete guide to the best silicone placemats out there right now.
What Is Silicone?
We know that, as a parent, the first thing on your mind when buying something for your kids is probably the safety of the material you’re giving them. You likely already know of silicone. As such, you probably are familiar with what it looks and feels like, but chances are, you don’t know what silicone is.
So, here’s the million-dollar question: What is silicone?
Essentially, silicone is a kind of man-made rubbery material.
Scientifically speaking, silicone is a polymer. A polymer is a type of material with a specific molecular structure. For the sake of this article, the specifics of that go beyond the scope. For most, what matters most is that polymers can be either natural or synthetic. As examples, cellulose is a natural polymer that makes up a large part of wood and paper, while keratin is another natural polymer found in wool.
Silicone is a synthetic or man-made polymer. It is commonly used in cookware, sealants, and medicine, and baby products.
Is Silicone Safe?
In short, yes. Silicone is safe for use in cookware, baby products, and cosmetics. Additionally, it’s also safe for medical use. The FDA, Health Canada, the LFGB testing body (for food-grade silicone), and MHRA (United Kingdom) all approve silicone. However, these bodies only allow certain silicones to be used in cosmetic and medical implants. Though some people are wary because silicone is a man-made material, it is important to remember that many natural compounds are unsafe for use. Simply because something is synthetic does not mean that it is toxic.
The Best Silicone Placemats
So now that we’ve gotten some of the broader questions out of the way, we can jump right into a guide to the best silicone placemats available.
We surveyed the market to come up with a list of the ten best silicone placemats out there. Here’s what we discovered:
ezpz Happy Mat Mini
- Adorable design
- Suction feature to avoid spills
- Three separate compartments
- Small in size (larger options are available)
Why it made our list:
This mat is compact, lightweight, and easy to clean. With a built-in bowl, it has a solid edge over most of the competition. Rather than worrying about a handful of dishes, you can simply toss the whole unit into the dishwasher when your baby finishes eating. The all-in-one design is perfect for travel or activities.
This mat is a great all-in-one bowl and mat combo. It comes with three built-in compartments to make mealtime easy. The suction cup base is also a huge perk, as it makes spills less common. One of the things that we loved about this option is that it provides a really handy twist on the classic silicone mat. Rather than just focusing on making spills easier to clean, it also tries to prevent spills in the first place.
Neat Solutions Table Topper Stick-on Placemats
- Sticks to the tabletop
- Silicon is textured for grip
- Can be rolled up for travel or storage
- Not the most fun mat out there
Why it made our list:
This product is a great option. It has a good-sized surface area, textured top for grip, and sticks right onto the table, which means that your little one can’t send the whole dinner flying across the floor with a single swipe, or at least it makes it a little more difficult. Like the product above, this mat makes spills a little less common by making a few minor changes to the traditional placemat platform.
This simple product does just what you need it to do. Unlike many other silicone placemats, this one sticks to the table to keep everything in place (no pun intended). It’s also very easy to roll, so you can tuck it into a travel bag or diaper bag if you’re on the go!
UpwardBaby Baby Silicone Placemat for Toddlers
- Three-piece set
- Thick silicone
- Can easily be moved around by toddlers
Why it made our list:
The UpwardBaby Silicone Placemat is a simple three-piece silicone placemat set. They are nothing extravagant, but they get the job done. The cloud design makes them a nice change to the classic rectangular mats you find elsewhere and makes them a little more palatable to your children. We liked that the mat retained the simplicity of a basic placemat, but UpwardBaby adjusted it to make the design more child-friendly.
If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-clean placemat for your kids, you can’t go wrong with this set. With three pieces included, you can feed multiple babies at once or simply have spares lying around for those times you’re too busy to get the dishes done between meals.
Busy Baby Silicone Placemat
- 4 suction cups to anchor placemat
- Eco friendly
- Tethers for toys and teethers
- Better for babies than young kids
Why it made our list:
This one is a very impressive mat! It comes with three pieces: a silicon mat and two tethers for your child’s favorite things. The design is nice and comes in eight color options. To top it off, your baby cannot tip over the placemat as the bottom of it vacuum seals onto the surface when pressed down. Like many people out there, we are concerned with the planet that we’re leaving behind for our children. Starting them off with an eco-friendly placemat seems like a great way to get their lives started on the right foot.
If you have a baby or young toddler, this is the way to go. Busy Baby’s eco-friendly placemat makes dinner time easy. The products themselves are easy to clean, and the vacuum-sealed placemat means there is little to clean anyway.
Cloud Island Silicone Placemat
- Easy to clean
- Not as nice as some others on the list
Why it made our list:
This placemat has a fun, kid-friendly design. It’s a simple and functional product and is very easy to clean. It also comes at a much lower price than many comparable items on the market. Though it does not have all the cool bells and whistles of other options, it’s a solid and affordable option that gets the job done without any fuss.
We all know that kids can wreak havoc. Things that we thought were indestructible are often torn apart, chewed up, and spit back out. Sometimes, it’s better to buy something more affordable that does the job. With Cloud Island’s silicone mat, that’s exactly what you get.
EP Home Extra Large Silicone Multipurpose Mat
- Large size
- Multipurpose mat
- Available in a variety of colors
- Not specifically designed for babies
Why it made our list:
The thing about this mat that caught our eye, at first, is its large size. This mat is incredibly functional. We also liked that you can easily roll the mat up for storage or transportation, which allows you to make use of the mat’s multipurpose design. If you want a mat that you can use for more than just toddler dinner time, this is the way to go.
This multipurpose mat is perfect for mealtime. It rolls down on the table and covers a wide surface area which, face it, is necessary when a baby or young child is eating. This mat is versatile and safe in temperatures of up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips For Dinner Time With Toddlers
Here’s a little bonus.
Dinner time with your kids can be a pretty difficult time. More often than not, it’s messy, stressful, and a chore. While we know that you love to spend time with your kids, getting them to sit down and eat what you put in front of them can sometimes be a hassle. Of course, this is not anybody’s fault. Our dinner routines are just not designed to accommodate the youngest members of our family. However, there are some steps that you can take to make your life a lot easier.
Here’s our handy guide to surviving dinner time with toddlers.
- Understand your child’s needs: Sometimes, we get caught up in our expectations. We might want our children to eat something we make, finish their whole plate, or eat in a certain way. Well, it is important to know what your child needs. For example, children typically start to grow a little slower at around the age of two. If you’ve noticed that your child is not eating as much, is causing a fuss, or is just picking at their plate, it might just be that their body no longer needs as much food as they once did.
- Change dinner time: Changing the time that you eat, or at least the time that you feed your child, can make dinner time more manageable. Often, dinner time is at the end of the day, which makes sense for working parents. For toddlers, however, this is when they are tired. If they are too tired, eating will not be an easy or enjoyable task for anyone. Try adjusting dinner time for your toddler.
- Change the routine: Sitting around the table for a meal with the family is nice. It also makes feeding a lot easier. Everyone eats together and eats the same thing. For a baby or toddler, however, eating like this doesn’t always make sense. Consider feeding your toddler separately. You might also consider allowing them to sit somewhere more comfortable and less formal, which also makes your dinner more enjoyable. Spend your mealtime enjoying your food and the company of your family instead of fussing over the baby.
Well, there you have it. By now, you probably know more about silicone placemats than you ever wanted to. But, you likely also have a pretty good idea of the right kind of mat for you and your kids.
Silicone is a good option for placemats and bowls, as these items do not get exposed to extreme heat or cold. The only concern that people tend to have with silicone in the kitchen is that it can potentially leak siloxanes if it is heated above 300 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. For items like spatulas, this is not a huge issue. For anything cooked at high heat, there might be some reason to be wary. However, with a placemat or bowl, there is no reason to expect heat in that range.
Food-grade silicone is lightweight, non-toxic, and easy to clean. For a baby, this is really what you need. Silicone is also commonly used in pacifiers, teethers, and baby-bottle nipples so, if your child has a habit of chewing on more than just their food, you don’t need to worry.