Jumping on couch cushions is a classic fun activity for kids, but you likely would prefer they didn’t do it. That’s what’s so great about a play couch: It gives kids a chance to jump, climb, and build in the living room. But it’s vital that you make sure you get your child a non-toxic play couch.
I’ll be honest, I looked for a while for play couches that were made with safe foams without flame retardants, phthalates, or other toxic chemicals, but I had a hard time finding one I was happy with.
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So when Brentwood Home offered to sponsor a review of their non-toxic play couch, I gave an enthusiastic yes. Here, I’ll share with you why it’s so important to avoid dangerous chemicals in furniture, as well as an honest review of the Brentwood Home Play Couch.
What is a play couch?
It has a lot of names – play couch, a Nugget, modular couch, modular sofa, or kid’s couch – but basically, a play couch is a set of several (usually 4) firm foam blocks of differing shapes. Often, they come as two rectangular pieces that can fold into squares and two triangular pieces (the Brentwood Home play couch has 6 pieces, with two additional “speed bump” shapes).
RELATED: Brentwood Home play couch vs the Nugget comparison
Already know you want this non-toxic play couch? Grab yours here.
While a play couch may set up to look like a cute sofa, the pieces can be rearranged in any shape for a play strew. That’s what makes them so fun!
RELATED: How to set up play strews
All my kids loved playing with the couch as a fort. My younger daughter said it looked like an ancient temple.
On a day that the girls were at school and the boys were home, I set up another arrangement for them, sort of like a ship. My four-year old loved jumping from one side to the next.
Of course, my kids may have had the most fun with the pieces separate, jumping back and forth playing “the floor is lava.”
Finding a non-toxic play couch
While there are a lot of play couch brands out there, many of them aren’t very forthcoming about what’s in their products. And unfortunately, the foams and covers that these modular couches are made of can harbor dangerous chemicals.
Since kids are more susceptible to environmental toxicants than adults, it’s very important to protect them from exposure.
Are play couch foams non-toxic?
Most play couches are made using polyurethane foam, and for good reason: It’s comfortable, cheap and can last a long time. But the problem is that many polyurethane foams contain toxic chemicals.
As a play couch ages, it will “off-gas” these compounds over time. That means that a play couch made with toxic foam can release flame retardants and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for years.
For that reason, you want to make sure that any play-couch you buy is certified to be low VOC emission (there’s no such thing as zero emission), flame retardant free and phthalate free. These chemicals have been linked to reproductive effects, breast cancer, and neurological defects (and they have a bigger effect on kids than adults).
Brentwood Home knows how important it is for you to protect your kids from toxic chemicals, so they make their play couch with foam that passes the regulations for CertiPUR-US. That means no ozone depleters, no toxic flame retardants, no toxic heavy metals, no formaldehyde, no regulated phthalates, and low-VOC.
You can be confident that your kids are safe making their forts and playing on the Brentwood Home Play Couch.
Are play couch covers non-toxic?
Not only can the foams in furniture contain toxicants, but the covers may also contain dangerous chemicals. For example, many kid’s sofas are covered with microsuede, which can contain formaldehyde. This chemical has been linked to wheezing, asthma, and even cancer. An even worse play-couch cover offender is vinyl, which often contains phthalates and other endocrine disruptors.
The great thing about Brentwood Home’s play couch is that the entire thing (including the cover) is certified formaldehyde free and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
In addition to being free of toxic chemicals, the Brentwood Home Play Couch is made with climate neutral technology and uses natural and recycled materials. The foam in each block is made with up to 20% BioFoam, made from corn, sunflower seeds, and soybeans, while the covers are made with material made from recycled water bottles. So not only can you and your kids enjoy the play couch, you can feel great about the choice you’ve made for the environment.
Brentwood home is also part of Avocado Mattress, who makes great non-toxic toddler mattresses. Check them out here.
My Brentwood Home play couch review
Now we’re finally to the fun part: Reviewing the Brentwood Home play couch.
Like many play couches, this one came tightly rolled up in a box. It’s amazing how they can fit this whole thing into one box (Sorry, this is the best pic of the box I have, because my kids were too excited to get out of the way lol).
You have to be careful opening the film covering each piece. The trick that I finally figured out after unwrapping the first one is to not use scissors. Instead, grab the end of the film and unroll it. It’s so much easier to open that way.
When you first get the film off your (very compressed) couch piece, it will be kind of squashed. That’s okay! Let your kids start playing with it, and it will fluff up pretty quickly.
A great way to reshape the couch pieces quickly is just for your kids to jump on them (which they love doing). You can see in this picture that they’re already shaping up better.
I love that that the Brentwood Home play couch is definitely firm enough to build with. One of my kids’ favorite games was crawling through the fort I helped them make. My little guy kept giggling as he ran through.
Having the “speed hump” pieces gave more variety in what my kids could build. They’re the same length as the couch’s depth, so they’re perfect for pillars. And they’re lightweight enough that even my toddler can easily drag them around.
Actually, our play couch arrived at the perfect time. We were painting our son’s room and it wasn’t ready for him to sleep in yet. The base piece came to the rescue as the perfect little mat for sleeping in his sister’s room. I could see it being great for sleepovers too.
In fact, my husband slept on the play couch for a few nights the next week (we’re working on getting our younger boy to sleep in his own room with his brother). While it was a little short for a six-foot man to sleep on, he said it was pretty comfortable.
Is the Brentwood Home Play Couch worth it?
If you’re really excited about getting your kid(s) a play couch, but you don’t want to worry about them being exposed to toxic fumes and chemicals, I definitely suggest the Brentwood Home Play Couch. It’s independently certified by several independent testing laboratories to be heavy metal free, formaldehyde free, and climate neutral.
While the Brentwood Home version of the play couch is a little pricer than some others, I think it’s worth it for the peace of mind. Plus, the two extra speed bump pieces (which most modular couches don’t come with) add to its versatility.
I hope this review helps you decide on whether the Brentwood Home Play Couch is right for your family. Let me know if you have any questions, and if you’re ready to get the play couch (and watch your kids have a blast with it), you can order it here.