Using A Toki Mat With A Latex Allergy
July 10, 2023
So, you’ve heard all the good things about Toki Mats, and it checks all the boxes: it’s high-quality, certified non-toxic, portable, super soft, and supportive enough for your baby’s gross motor milestones. There’s only one problem—your little one has a latex allergy. Latex allergies are relatively rare, affecting fewer than 1% of Americans, and its symptoms are generally mild. Latex allergy symptoms might include hives, itching, a stuffy or runny nose, difficulty breathing, and more. But, no matter how mild symptoms may be, no parent wants to see their little one in discomfort or pain. Before you give up on your dreams of having a Toki mat in your home, you should know that most people with a latex allergy actually have no reaction to latex foam, and here’s why:
1. The processing method
The two common types of latex foam, Dunlop and Talalay, don’t produce the same allergic reactions as other latex products, such as disposable gloves, balloons, pacifiers, bottle nipples, etc. Our latex foam is made using the Dunlop method, which is a manufacturing process that involves pouring the latex foam into a mold, then closing the mold and moving it into a vulcanization oven. Vulcanization is a process that uses high temperatures to produce structural changes in the latex and turn it into the durable, elastic material that goes into our mats. Once vulcanization is complete, the latex foam undergoes a five-stage washing process to remove residual soaps and curing agents, then is dried at a high temperature to remove all moisture from the final product.
People who have a latex allergy are actually allergic to the proteins that are found in natural rubber, and these proteins are removed during the process of creating latex foam. During vulcanization, these latex proteins are killed by the heat, then completely removed in the washing process. The open cellular structure of latex foam acts like a sponge, allowing water to be pulled throughout the foam and then wrung out, washing away the allergenic proteins. Because of these steps in the Dunlop method, the resulting latex foam is structurally very different from other latex products, and typically does not cause an allergic reaction.
2. No direct contact
While our mats have a latex foam core, there’s no need for your baby to ever come into direct contact with the actual foam. We have three different cover options: bamboo jersey, organic cotton, and vegan leather. Our vegan leather cover is made from thick, Oeko-Tex 100 certified non-toxic, water based microfiber PU leather, and because it easily wipes clean, there’s never any need to remove it. Although our organic cotton and bamboo jersey covers aren’t waterproof and will need occasional washing after a spill, you can purchase a waterproof cover that’s made from 100% bamboo jersey with a PVC-free inner barrier made of TPU laminate. When you purchase a play mat and a waterproof cover, the cover comes pre-assembled over the latex core for your convenience, so that you don’t need to handle the foam yourself.
Although a Toki mat isn’t likely to trigger an allergic reaction in your little one, we always recommend erring on the side of caution. Our sample bags contain swatches of our latex foam, our bamboo jersey, our organic cotton, and our vegan leather, so that you can try out the materials yourself before committing to a mat. Although our sample bags occasionally sell out, you can always reach out to email@example.com to request a free sample of our standard latex foam or our organic latex foam (shipping costs not included) and make sure that they’re safe for your child, should they ever come into contact with the latex.
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About the Author: Alice
Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.