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 aren’t aware of what a basic mattress should be made of and the large variety of mattress types found within the mattress department – from memory and comfort foam to hybrid mattresses – you are in for a surprise and may find it tough to find a mattress for kids which 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, have your personal preference and know whether you want a firm mattress or a softer option. Finding a mattress for kids is very different. As a parent, you are responsible for making decisions for your child and choosing the type of mattress which would suit them best. 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, safety and, of course, the price point. Below is an in-depth guide discussing the best mattresses for kids that are currently available so that you can learn about what to look out for and make the right choice your child.
How To Choose The Best Mattress Type For Children
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.
Mattress Size Matters
Many mattresses for children these days are well made and constructed with such a high quality of materials that they can easily last eight to ten years. And, throughout this time provide quality sleep and offer the proper support as your child grows. But if you buy a mattress that is only 50 inches in length, 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 and it is usually a good idea to have a few extra inches beyond the head and toes when sleeping.
The Effects of the Mattress’ Size on Sleep
The mattress size can also affect the way your child feels about going to bed and how well they sleep throughout the night. A children’s mattress which is sized appropriately will allow the bed to be a place just for sleep and encourages a healthy bedtime routine. An oversized mattress may make the bed feel more like a play platform rather than a place to be cosy, still and restful. Thereby, take the overall dimensions of a mattress, as well as the bed size into account, when you choose your child’s next sleeping area.
Generally, kids mattresses should be wide enough that the child can turn from side to side in bed, as well as long enough so that it allows for room to shuffle up and down – a completely natural movement when dreaming and sleeping. Additional bed width also gives parents room to place bumper pillows under the mattress to prevent younger kids from falling off the bed or to lie down next to the child if he or she is having sleep anxiety.
Comfort Is Key – Mattress Quality, Support and Temperature Control
The comfort level is critical. The way children’s mattresses feel will directly affect their quality of sleep, and the type of mattress, including its build quality, firmness scale and foam layers, will affect young children’s comfort level. When you have chosen a quality mattress, you will know that no matter the child’s sleep position, they will find a restful sleeping position. Poorly constructed mattresses will feel uncomfortable and often not offer much pressure relief throughout the night, potentially leading to create a bad sleeping pattern. A quality mattress will be able to maintain proper support even for growing children and their increasing body weight. Also, consider the climate you live in – especially if you live in warm and humid weather conditions, where you may want a mattress made to help with temperature regulation. For example, a cooling mattress may be a good choice as these types of mattresses are designed specifically to retain less body heat.
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 to sleep quickly and get the full rest they require.
Studies show that young 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. A good night’s rest can also do wonder for improving school performance.
A Short Guide: What Do I Need To Know About Support?
The comfort and support that a mattress provides to your growing child’s body are critical, especially concerning pressure points. The most common levels of comfort and support are usually divided into three categories: soft, medium, and firm mattress options.
Indentation Load Deflection
To figure out which type of mattress is best, you will find that each category is designed for a different Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) and comfort layer. Soft mattresses are intended for an ILD of under 25 pounds. A soft option, therefore, would be a winner of the best mattress for children category. A medium mattress is ideal for ILD’s of 25 to 31 pounds, whereas a firm mattress should only be used with an ILD 31 pounds and over.
ILD Effects on Sleep
When it comes to choosing the right category of kid’s mattress, it’s essential to get the firmness correct, as different types of mattresses will offer varying comfort levels. These, in turn, give your child’s hips and shoulders an appropriate amount of support and pressure relief, as well as promote spinal alignment and comfortable sleep.
If you’re unsure as to what firmness level is the best for a kid bed, research whether the company do a sleep trial. With a sleep trial, your child will be able to test the mattress for a few nights – usually, you receive a 100 night test period – thereby ensuring that the mattress is the best overall choice for you and your kid in the long run.
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, durability is important to consider when choosing to buy a children’s mattress. The best mattress for your child 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.
To further enhance the durability of your chosen mattress, some mattress models may come with a compatible mattress protector, which help avoid any spills or other kind of accidents from being absorbed by the mattress material itself. These are ideal for children and make sure that you can lengthen the mattress’ usability. Therefore, when buying the right mattress, double-check if a mattress protector comes with it or compatible mattress protectors are available.
Safety Concerns – Size, Support, Structure
Although I’ve put this towards the bottom of my list, safety is a priority in my mind. The best mattress for kids is one that is safe for them to sleep on. Two main considerations come into play here: size and allergies.
Size is an important safety concern 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 frame. Additionally, if the mattress is too big and there is an overhang on the edges of the box spring, there will be no edge support and the child can easily roll off the side. It’s not uncommon for kids to fall out of bed while they sleep. So, make sure to order the correct mattress for the right crib or kids bed, based on accurately measured dimensions.
When trying to find the best mattresses for kids, you will often find that latex mattresses are one of the best rated that money can buy, however, according to the National Center For Biotechnology Information, approximately 4.3% of the world’s population suffer from latex allergy. (See the paper here). If your child suffers from such an allergy, naturally you should steer clear of latex mattresses.
Looking for a Long Term Solution?
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 regards to buying a high-quality product – however, keep in mind that this may result in a higher price point. I saw that the mattress could easily last into my child’s early teen years because the size of a twin mattress averages around 75” in length, which is beyond six feet – basically making it a full size bed. 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
So, without further ado, here are my top picks for the best kid’s mattresses. For each product, I discuss design features, including the mattress’ firmness level, what makes it stand apart and, finally, its pros and cons.
LinenSpa 8″ – The Hybrid Choice
This hybrid 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 sensation that adults and children alike might find enjoyable. In comparison to a memory foam mattress, traditional spring mattresses have wire springs inside that allow the bed the compress under the weight of a body.
The Mattress’ Make Up
This LinenSpa mattress combines both spring and memory technologies so the sleeper can experience all-round pressure relief through the hugging support of the memory foam, as well as the added give and movement that the springs provide. The combination of the tempered steel coil layers and 1.5 inches of foam results in a medium-firm support level that is a great option for children who weigh more than 25 pounds and like sleeping on foam mattresses.
The combination of memory foam and springs is excellent for children who also love the bouncing sensation of a traditional mattress, in combination with the soft comfort layer and unique qualities of memory foam. The mattress is medium-firm, which some lighter children might find to be too rigid for comfort. This option is twin sized and measures 39 x 75 x 8” 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 the ageing of the memory foam mattress, making it a long lasting choice. Additionally, when I read the fine print, I saw that 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 its shape over the years, thereby making this a good mattress for your child.
The mattress is certiPUR -US certified, which is one of the important factors because when I saw that it was made with a layer of foam, where one of my concerns was the off-gassing. I like knowing that it passed the CertiPUR-US and adheres to its safety standards, too.
For convenience, the entire twin mattress is vacuum packed into a tube-like shape. I appreciate this 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.
My Green Mattress – The Eco Friendly Choice
If the environment and green living are important to you, this eco friendly option 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.
The Mattress’ Make Up
This mattress has a traditional innerspring design without any memory foam components. The springs come in pocketed coil layout, which reduces motion transfer and makes for a comfortable sleeping foundation. The support is medium-firm and, like the LinenSpa above, it is best for ILD of over 25 pounds and good at pressure relief.
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.
Durability & Delivery
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 ten year warranty.
AeroBed Air Mattress for Kids – The Convenient Choice
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.
The Mattress’ Make Up
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 sleeping 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 and the best mattress for kids at that time. It is comfortable, easy to move around and relocate when needed, and fills up in under a minute.
One bonus that makes this air mattress 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 thrown 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.
Dimensions & Weight Support
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 cosy 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 storytime, 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.
Live and Sleep Resort Classic Twin Size – The Memory Foam Choice
This mattress is wholly made with memory foam layers, which means it has none of that traditional bounce that many mattresses have. This mattress type 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.
The Mattress’ Make Up
This big kid bed 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 and help regulate the sleeper’s body temperature. This can lower the temperature of the mattress on hot nights, making it a great contender for being the best memory foam mattress in warm climates. 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 and increase mattress firmness. This segment gives the memory foam mattress a very firm, solid feel.
One challenge that comes with this one is that it is bulkier than the other memory foam mattresses that I have reviewed. Even though it comes vacuum packed, it is still packed into a box that is 40 x 18 x 18”, 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, ensuring good quality memory foam.
Best Price Mattress 6-Inch – The Odor-Free Choice
This full size 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 storytime with a parent.
The Mattress’ Make Up
The memory foam design provides a dense, stable mattress feeling that contours the body’s pressure points, thereby providing pressure relief and making this one of the best memory foam mattresses around. It is not as thick as some might desire at only 6 inches. The top 1 inch is made of memory foam, followed by 2 inches of super soft foam. The bottom 3 inches are composed of a high-density supportive layer.
The Best Price Mattress also includes active charcoal, which is designed specifically to keep the material odor-free due to the moisture absorbing components of the charcoal, thereby placing this option to the top of the best for kids list. This technology makes this memory foam mattress stand out, and people that live in damp environments might enjoy knowing that through the materials used, their child’s bed will stay clean and fresh for years to come.
Now that you know more about mattresses and what to look for when selecting the best mattress for a child, are you more excited about finding the right one? The five that I have reviewed here are, in my opinion, the best for kids on the market right now. This is due to their quality, safety features, and ability to provide a comfortable night’s sleep.
My Top Choice – My Green Mattress
The My Green Mattress is the clear winner due to its safety features. It is free from harmful substances and made with natural and organic materials, which for those of us who are eco-conscious and want to avoid chemicals will appreciate. Additionally, as there is no memory foam involved, so you won’t need to worry about any off gassing. It uses wool in place of toxic flame retardants and that’s why it is our number 1 choice as the best mattress for kids.
The twin size will allow the child to grow over time because it has a length of 74 inches which is better than the 50 inches of some other mattresses. The medium-firm feel offers spinal support as children grow heavier over the years, making it a suitable big kid bed option. It is thicker than some other mattresses, which speaks to its overall quality and comfort levels. Furthermore, it is more durable than an air mattress, which is great for parents of highly active children.
Other Mattress Types and Options
If none of the above options suit you or your child’s sleeping options, as well as your bed sizes (for example, if you are in need of a crib mattress, have bunk beds or already own kids bed frames), other great alternative brands which you may want to check out are the Nectar Mattress or the Nest Big Kids Bed options.