Play Couch Foam 101: Everything You Need To Know

There are so many play couches out there now, and you probably have so many questions, like "how firm is it?" "how long does it last?" and all kinds of other fun (worrrying!) things.

We think it's really important to arm yourselves with knowledge so you can make the right purchase for you and your family. That's why we've decided to try and make a quick, educational post on foam, and why we've chosen what we have for The Joey play couch!

Foam Manufacturing Location

One of the biggest misconceptions around manufactured goods, and even foam, is that the country it’s made in has an effect on quality. Fortunately, this is simply untrue. If something is CertiPUR certified, then it has been tested in one of CertiPUR’s three approved labs.

No matter where in the world the foam is made (Europe, Asia, North America, etc.), if it has CertiPUR’s certification, you know you’re getting the best of the best. You can do more reading about CertiPUR foam HERE.

This is important to know when buying your play couches, as marketing materials sometimes are made to mislead individuals in thinking they're buying something superior.

Really, what controls your foam's quality is its certification and density! (More on that below.)

What is CertiPUR?

CertiPUR-US is a certification program administrated by a not-for-profit organization that ensures foams are safe and of the highest quality. They are the only foam certification program in the world. 

Foam Type

To no one’s surprise, The Joey’s main component is the foam, but there are actually a few different kinds of foam. The one used in The Joey (and most other play couches) is Polyurethane Foam, also known as Polyfoam, but more specifically, Open Cell Polyfoam. Polyfoam is great in this application because it offers all kinds of benefits, such as good thermal performance and durability. This is actually the same foam that’s used in so many beloved mattresses, such as The Endy or Casper, or other play couches, like The Nugget!

When looking for a play couch, make sure the business you're buying from is transparent about their foam and gives the specifics about the type!

Foam Safety

Like you, we’re parents, so sourcing high-quality foam is important. Not all foam is created equally, just like pretty much any material you can find.

If you go low quality, you risk having something that might give off harmful odours (often referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC for short). That’s why we went with a manufacturer that has the highest standard for foam creation, which is the CertiPUR-US Certification. Having this certification ensures that the foam meets rigorous standards for all kinds of safety tests, such as low VOC emissions and the omission of harmful chemicals/compounds that might be present in lower quality foams. 

If you are buying a couch from a business, ensure their foam is certified, as this will keep you and your family safe. It is illegal for businesses to say they are certified, as the CertiPUR-US governing body will require them to take down their association with them if they aren't actually certified. 

Foam Density

Foam density refers to a weight/volume measurement, though most people often think it has to do with firmness! The way foam density is measured is simply by taking the weight of the foam and dividing it by a cubic foot. For example, if you have a 2’x1’x1’ piece of foam that weighs 3lbs, it would have a density of 1.5lb/ft³. Generally speaking, density is what you’re looking at when it comes to durability. That’s why our foam comes with a 2-year warranty, because we’re confident it’ll hold up to the rigors of everyday use!

The Joey's density is 1.9 lb/ft3 for all the pieces except the armrest which is 1.5 lb/ft3.

But what about firmness? While some places use the terms density and firmness interchangeably, that’s technically incorrect. Firmness is measured with something known as Indentation Load Deflection (ILD).

Foam Firmness

Since we know that density doesn’t equal firmness, then how exactly is firmness measured? Well, going back to ILD (Indentation Load Deflection), it’s essentially measured by compressing a piece of foam by 25% of its thickness. The amount of pressure needed to do so is then turned into a number which is then referred to as ILD.

While there are many, many things that go into determining and adjusting ILD, the most important thing to know is that it differs from density and is the number that refers directly to firmness. We chose our ILDs based on a few things, with the main ones being structural integrity (the base is much more firm than the top layer) and comfort, because what’s a couch if not comfortable?

If you're buying a play couch, please make sure that the business supplies you with ILD for each individual piece, so you know how it stacks up, especially against your favourite couches.

The Joey's ILD is 60 for all of the pieces except the armrest which is 45.

This is the thing that really differentiates play couches and their foam, and this is when you get a chance to personalize it for you and your family! Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, they all had different firmness levels that they liked!

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