Shopping for kids mattresses brings a unique set of challenges. Children have specific sleep needs that often we as adults don’t even think about. If you don’t know some of the basics about mattresses, it will be tough to find one that supports your child’s growth and development.
When you shop for your own mattress, you have a huge advantage: you have been using a mattress all of your life and most likely now know exactly what your preference is. Shopping for children’s mattresses is very different. As a parent, you are responsible for making decisions for your child. You can, of course, ask your child what they’d like out of their new mattress, but every parent knows that sometimes kids don’t make the best decisions: if it were up to them, they would most likely prefer to snuggle up in bed with the adults.
A smart parent needs to think about a few significant aspects when it comes to buying a kids mattress, including size, comfort, support, durability, and safety. I put together this in-depth guide discussing the best mattress for kids that I could find so that you can learn about what to look for and choose the right one. Below we discuss each of these plus much more in further detail.
What Should I Look For In A Children’s Mattress?
The Size Of Your Child’s New Bed
The size of the mattress that you purchase is essential for a few key reasons. Most importantly, the size is going to dictate how long your child can comfortably use the bed.
Many mattresses for children these days are constructed of such high quality that they can easily last eight to ten years. But if you buy a mattress that is only 50 inches in height, for example, you will need to replace it when your child reaches about six years old. The average height of a six-year-old is 40 to 48 inches. It is ideal to have a few extra inches beyond the head and toes when sleeping.
In addition, the mattress size can affect the way your child feels about going to bed. A children’s mattress that is sized appropriately will allow the bed to be a place just for sleep, which encourages a healthy bedtime routine. An oversized mattress may make the bed feel more like a play platform rather than a place to be cozy, still, and restful.
Generally, a kids mattress should be wide enough that the child can turn from side to side in the bed. Width also gives parents room to place bumper pillows to prevent falling off the bed, or to lie down next to the child if he or she is having sleep anxiety.
Comfort Is Key To Quality Sleep
The comfort level is critical. The way children’s mattresses feel will directly affect the quality of sleep they’ll get. The quality of build will directly affect the comfort level. Poorly constructed mattresses will feel uncomfortable and will prohibit sleep.
An uncomfortable mattress will mean that he or she won’t like getting into bed, and will likely get reduced sleep each night. In contrast, a comfortable mattress can allow them to drift into sleep and get the plentiful rest that they require.
Studies show that children ages 5 to 12 typically need 10 to 11 hours of sleep and that adequate sleep can promote healthy brain development. Among the many other benefits of good sleep, proper rest can also help fight off diseases because the body’s immune system works best during sleep.
What Do I Need To Know About Support?
The support that a mattress provides to your growing child’s body is critical. The most common levels of support are commonly divided into three categories: soft, medium, and firm.
Each category is designed for a different Indentation Load Deflection (ILD). Soft mattresses are intended for an ILD of under 25 pounds. A soft option, therefore, would be the winner of a best mattress for toddler category. Medium mattresses are ideal for ILD’s of 25 to 31 pounds. Firm mattresses should only be used with an ILD of over 31 pounds.
When it comes to choosing the right category of a kids mattress it’s essential to get the firmness correct, because when done properly it will give your child’s hips and shoulders an appropriate amount of support, which promotes spinal alignment and comfortable sleep.
As a parent, you’ve probably experienced buying a toy for your child and seeing it get destroyed within the first week – maybe even the first day. Children are often hard on their possessions, usually because they don’t know any better. Likewise it is important to consider durability when buying a children’s mattress. It should be capable of standing up to some serious wear and tear, because no doubt all kids love to jump on the bed, especially when parents aren’t around or when the friends are staying over.
Safety Concerns Every Parent Needs To Know About
Although I’ve put this towards the bottom of my list, it is a priority in my mind. The best mattress for kids is one that is safe for them to sleep on. Two considerations come into play here: size and allergies.
Size is a consideration because kids toss and turn in bed and can get their limbs trapped in gaps if the mattress is too small for the actual bed in use. Additionally, if it’s too big and there is overhang on the edges of a box spring, there will be no edge support and the child can easily roll off the edge. It’s not uncommon for kids to fall out of bed while they sleep. So, be sure to order the correct mattress for the correct crib or bed, based on accurately measured dimensions.
Latex mattresses are overall one of the best rated that money can buy, however, according to the National Center For Biotechnology Information, approximately 4.3% of the worlds population suffer from latex allergy. (See the paper here). If your child suffers from such an allergy, naturally you would steer clear of a latex mattress.
You Might Want To Think Long Term
At first when I started looking for beds for my own children, I took a very short-term view. Once I realized how the quality of a mattress affects the comfort level, I started thinking more in terms of buying a very high quality product. I saw that the mattress could easily last into my child’s early teen years because twin mattresses average about 75” tall, which is beyond six feet tall. However, if you know that you will be moving soon, or will be fine with replacing your child’s mattress in a year or two, then a long-term viewpoint isn’t necessary.
The Top 5 Best Mattresses For Kids
Here are my top five choices for kid’s mattresses. For each product I’ll discuss design features, what makes it stand apart, plus their pros and cons.
LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress
This mattress combines new memory foam technology with the more traditional spring core. Memory foam, also sometimes called temper foam, was invented during the 1970’s by NASA. This material indents with pressure, creating a supportive, hugging feel that adults and children alike might find enjoyable. Traditional spring mattresses have wire springs inside that allow the bed the compress under the weight of a body.
This LinenSpa combines both technologies so the sleeper can experience the hugging support of memory foam plus the added give and movement that springs provide. The combination of a layer of tempered steel coils and 1.5 inches of foam results in a medium-firm support level that is right for children that weigh more than 25 pounds.
The combination of foam and springs is excellent for children who love the bouncing sensation of a traditional mattress, but also want the soft comfort of memory foam. The mattress is medium-firm, which some lighter children might find to be too rigid for comfort. It is twin sized and measures 39 by 75 by 8 inches which is great because it gives kids plenty of room to stretch out as they grow.
It comes with a ten-year warranty, which covers aging of the mattress. When I read the fine print, I saw the warranty covers any permanent indentations in the mattress that is more than 1.5 inches deep. This impressed me because it means that the memory foam should consistently bounce back and hold it’s shaping over the years, well into the future.
For convenience, the entire mattress is vacuum packed into a tube-like shape. I appreciate that feature since I often receive packages during the day while my husband is at work. Single parents or people with busy, hectic schedules might enjoy this convenience as well.
The mattress is certiPUR -US certified, which is great because when I saw that it was partially made with memory foam, one of my concerns was the off-gassing. I like knowing that it passed the CertiPUR-US standards too.
- Combination of innerspring and memory foam give it a comfortable, kid-friendly feel
- Felt layer isolates springs so the noise output of old and worn springs is quiet
- Medium-firm support suitable for kids over 25 lbs
- 10 year warranty with specific parameters
- Convenient vacuum-packed packaging
- Some parents think at 8 inches tall this may be too thin for extended years of usage
My Green Mattress – Pure Echo GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Natural
If the environment and green living are important to you, this one might be an excellent choice. The My Green Mattress is made with certified organic cotton and all natural wool. The wool is sourced in Oregon and California, so buyers can feel good knowing that the products used did not use excess fossil fuels from being shipped across the globe.
This mattress has a traditional innerspring design and no memory foam components. The springs come in pocketed coil layout, which isolates movements and makes for a comfortable sleeping foundation. The support is medium-firm, so like the LinenSpa above it is best for ILD of over 25 pounds.
One very distinctive feature is that the company chose to use a natural Joma wool in place of traditional fire retardants that are used on most mattresses. Fire retardant chemicals have been used on mattresses since 2007 when a law was passed requiring all mattresses to be fire resistant – even when a blowtorch was pointed towards them. Many manufacturers use flame-retardant chemicals to meet this standard, and the all-natural flame retardant component makes it stand apart. Parents that are interested in providing a chemical-free environment for children might choose this bed just because of that feature.
The twin size is comparable to the LinenSpa but slightly thicker at 74 x 38 x 9.8 inches. It too comes compressed and delivered in a convenient roll, and with a 10 year warranty.
- Made with organic, natural materials
- No potentially toxic flame retardant chemicals
- Wool sourced from Oregon and California
- No polyester fibers
- Pocket coil layout provides support and comfort
- Wool tends to smell in humid environments – children sensitive to smells might find this off-putting
- Pocket spring coil mattresses have the potential of sagging after years of use
AeroBed Air Mattress for Kids
This is a high quality air mattress that is easy to inflate and makes for a good kids mattress, especially if ease of use is a priority for the parent. One of the things that I like most about this one is that it has a 4″ high safety cushion around the perimeter of the sleep surface, which gives kids that toss and turn a barrier so they don’t fall off the bed.
If you have ever slept on an air mattress, you know that they are not ideal when it comes to back support. Instead of coils or a forgiving but sturdy memory foam layer, an air mattress is made out of pockets of air. There is some give for the joints, but minimal support. Even though it lacks in the support area, if you are looking for a temporary solution for a child, this might be the perfect purchase. It is fairly comfortable, easy to move around and relocate when needed, and fills up in under a minute.
One bonus that makes this air mattress for kids more comfortable is that it comes with a thick fitted mattress pad in a cute star and moon design. The pad can be easily removed and tossed to the washer. Parents who are concerned about the comfort level of this option, but love the convenience of it, might also consider topping the bed with a down comforter and then a bottom sheet for a little bit of extra padding.
The dimensions of the Aerobed are smaller than the others I have reviewed so far. It is 50 inches in length, 25 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. This makes for a cozy sleep area for a child of the right size, but a parent cannot count on using this mattress for more than a few years. Children will quickly grow out of it.
The bed is made to hold up to 150 lbs., so if three or four children try to sit on it at once, it may get damaged. An adult should not lie down or sit on the bed during story time, as some parents like to do. Regarding durability, kids will have to be instructed not to jump on the mattress.
All in all, this is an acceptable option for kids between four and six or seven years old. This might be the perfect bed for a grandparent to put into a temporary guest room because it can be packed up and stored easily when not in use. It might also be ideal for a second home or on camping trips. The small size fits well in a bedroom where space is a commodity. When packed up, the bed is about the size of a medium sleeping bag.
- Cozy, inviting size for small children
- Small size fits well in tight bedrooms
- Easy to pack up and travel with
- Thick mattress pad is convenient to wash
- Small sleep surface (50 by 25 inches)
- Limits on weight (no more than 150 lbs) means adult cannot sit or lie on the bed with the child
Live and Sleep Resort Classic Twin Size
This mattress is wholly made with memory foam, which means it has none of that traditional bounce that many mattresses have. Instead, it cradles the body by contouring to the shape of the body part that is applying pressure. This may take some getting used to, but many people (kids included) love the feel of a memory foam mattress.
It has medium-firm support. The top layer is composed of 2.5 inches of Premium Air-Flow Infused Visco foam, which is designed to give the mattress breathability. This can lower the temperature of the mattress on hot nights, which people that live in warm climates will appreciate. Below the airflow layer, there is a High-Density Support Base, which is denser than the airflow layer and is designed to provide maximal support. This segment gives the mattress a very firm, solid feel.
One challenge that comes with this one is that it is bulkier than the other kids mattresses that I have reviewed. Even though it comes vacuum packed, it is still packed into a box that is 40 by 18 by 18 inches, making it a bit awkward to handle on your own. I think this bed would be best set up by two people. The product is CertiPUR-US certified.
- Memory foam contours to the body
- Won’t sag over time like coil spring mattresses
- Air flow technology keeps the bed cool on hot nights
- CertiPUR-US certified
- Bulky delivery size
- No bounce (this could be seen as a pro by some, and con by others who desire that movement)
Best Price Mattress 6-Inch Memory Foam
This full sized mattress would be great for children who like to cuddle with parents or siblings in bed. The total size gives a width of 54 inches, much broader than the twin sized mattresses reviewed above. The width makes this option perfect for story time with a parent.
The memory foam design provides a dense, stable feel that contours to the pressure points on the body. It is not as thick as some might desire at only 6 inches thick. The top 1 inch is memory foam, followed by 2 inches of super soft foam. The bottom 3 inches are composed of a supportive layer.memory foam mattress.
The Best Price Mattress also has active charcoal within the materials, which is supposed to keep it odor-free due to the moisture absorbing components of the charcoal. This technology makes this mattress stand out, and people that live in damp environments might enjoy knowing that their child’s bed will stay clean and fresh for years to come.
- 54-inch width helps with parent/child snuggles and story time
- Active charcoal absorbs moisture, so mattress stays odor free
- Three layers for comfort
- Softness may make children feel that the bed doesn’t have enough support
And The Winner Is..
Now that you know more about mattresses and what to look for when choosing a kids mattress, are you more excited about finding the right one? The five that I have reviewed here are, in my opinion, the best on the market right now in mid 2018 due to their quality, safety features, and ability to provide a comfortable night’s sleep.
The My Green Mattress is the clear winner due to the safety features of the mattress. It is made with natural and organic materials, which those of us who are eco-conscious and want to avoid chemicals will appreciate. It uses wool in place of toxic flame retardants.
The twin size will allow the child to grow over time because it has a height of 74 inches which is better than the 50 inches of some other mattresses. The medium firm feel gives children support as they grow heavier over the years. It is thicker than some other mattresses, which speaks to its overall quality and comfort levels. It is more durable than an air mattress, which is great for parents of highly active children.