We want the best for our kids. From the moment they are born, their lives are in our hands. This includes their sleep.
Choosing the best mattress for kids' development, health, and comfort is tricky. They grow quickly and not every child has the same comfort needs. Here are some things to consider as you select a mattress for your toddler, child, or teen.
Our Picks for the Best Kids’ Mattresses
How To Choose A Mattress For Your Kids
Decide The Size Your Child Needs
Shopping for a mattress for your child's crib is a little different than shopping for their first bed. The recommended length of time to keep a mattress is around 8 to 10 years. This means that you will probably buy two mattresses (plus a crib mattress) for your child.
If your kid is under 4 then a twin size mattress is the more economical bet. On the other hand, cuddling on a twin size bed can get a little cramped for you. If your budget can afford it, consider purchasing a full size bed.
As your kids get older they usually want bigger beds anyway. Tall kids need extra long twins at the least to stay comfortable, so you might as well purchase a full-size bed.
The bed can double as a guest bed when you have company. Even though we shudder to think about it as parents, our children ultimately move on, leaving us with their beds (along with all of their unwanted possessions!).
If your kids are older, invite them to participate in the mattress buying process. Their input is invaluable in deciding comfort preferences. You can always say no to requests for elaborate water beds or princess canopies.
Choosing Appropriate Mattress Firmness
Firmer mattresses offer more support than soft or plush mattresses. This is especially important for infants as it reduces the risk of SID.
Toddlers need relatively firm mattresses too to promote healthy bone development. Firmer mattresses help keep the spine properly aligned. Purchasing a mattress topper like an egg crate or memory foam topper is a good way to make firm mattresses feel softer without taking away support.
Decide How Much You Want To Spend On A Mattress
The best mattress for kids is not necessarily the most expensive. While we don't want to skimp on our children's comfort, spending a lot of money on your kid's mattress is not necessary. There are plenty of high-quality mattresses at affordable prices that offer adequate support and comfort for your growing little ones.
You know your child. Purchasing a waterproof mattress pad is a good way to prevent damage from accidents. Even when your child grows out of wetting the bed, there are still all of those fun games children play that always seem to result in sticky messes.
Investing in an expensive mattress, even with mattress protection, is not necessarily a good idea.
The Different Types Of Mattresses
There are several different types of mattresses to choose from: innerspring, memory foam, and gel memory foam.
Pillow Top Innerspring Mattresses
The most common mattress on the market, especially for kids, is the pillow top innerspring mattress. These mattresses tend to be affordable and are easy to find in a variety of sizes. Their easy availability makes choosing a mattress in your price range a possibility.
Select a mattress that is firm or medium firm for the best support for your child. The best mattress for kids is one that supports their growing bodies while giving them a comfortable night's rest. High-quality innerspring mattresses fulfill both of these requirements.
The disadvantage of pillow top mattresses is that they do not last as long as memory foam mattresses. However, for kids who will grow out of their twin size beds, this is not necessarily a problem.
If you are concerned about harmful chemicals found in some mattresses then consider an all natural or cotton innerspring mattress. There are companies that manufacture organic mattresses for parents looking to give their kids a green and chemical free alternative to ordinary mattresses.
Memory Foam And Gel Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are not just for adults anymore. As consumer prices become more affordable, purchasing a memory foam mattress for your child is no longer super expensive.
Memory foam offers pressure point relief and could help kids who have trouble sleeping. If your kid complains of frequent nightmares or has trouble falling asleep on their innerspring mattress then it may be time to try something different.
Memory foam comes in different densities, which is just a fancy way of saying firmness. A mattress with a 3-pound density is softer than a 5-pound density mattress. 3 and 4-pound density mattresses usually supply enough support for your child without paying the premium price for a 5-pound density mattress.
Gel memory foam mattresses offer a cooling gel technology to prevent the surface of the mattress from heating up, as can happen with memory foam. Kids who don't like to sleep in the heat might benefit from a gel foam mattress or mattress topper to help cool them down.
Gel foam also offers pressure point relief and cushions their bodies the same way that memory foam does. Child athletes might find that memory foam or gel memory foam helps them recover from sports-related activities and injuries by cushioning their joints.
Our Expert's Quick Reviews of Top Kids' Mattresses
8-Inch Innerspring Mattress From Signature Sleep
Signature Sleep carries an affordably priced innerspring mattress in twin, full, queen and king sizes. At 8 inches, the mattress offers plenty of room for mattress toppers, waterproof covers, and sheets to fit. The innerspring coils are independently encased, which according to the manufacturer, allows for equal weight distribution and relieves pressure points.
There is a layer of foam and polyester between the cover and coils to prevent your child from feeling the springs. The twin size has 480 coils, as opposed to the older style spring mattresses which contained a fraction of that number. The manufacturer offers a one-year limited warranty.
6-Inch Memory Foam Mattress From Zinus
Parents interested in an affordable memory foam mattress for their kids might want to look at this mattress from Zinus.
6 inches is a good mattress thickness for children under 250 pounds. Heavier kids usually require a thicker memory foam mattress like the 8-inch mattress below. This 6-inch mattress is CertiPUR-US certified, which means that the chemicals used to make the memory foam have been tested and approved for safety.
The mattress also contains BioFoam, which is a foam made with natural plant oils as well as petroleum to keep the mattress fresh and to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
The top layer of the mattress is made of 1.5 inches of memory foam and the base consists of 4.5 inches of high-density support foam. Not every sleeper complains about the memory foam sleeping surface heating up. If they do, purchasing a mattress topper is an easy solution.
8-Inch Memory Foam Mattress From Signature Sleep
Signature sleep carries an 8-inch memory foam mattress for larger children or children who need more support.
The company also carries 6, 10, and 12-inch mattresses. 6 and 8-inch mattresses are usually supportive enough for most children, and more economical. If you plan on using your kid's mattress as a guest bed, then an 8-inch memory foam mattress might be the best mattress for kids' rooms.
This mattress has a top layer of 2 inches of 2-pound density, which is on the softer side of memory foam mattresses. The foam relieves pressure points and comes with a fabric cover, and the base of the mattress is formed from high-density foam for support.
The product comes with a one year warranty and satisfies federal flammability standards for added safety.
11-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress From Brentwood Home
Finicky sleepers and child athletes might benefit from this 11-inch gel memory foam mattress from Brentwood Home. This mattress is relatively affordable and comes in a variety of sizes including twin extra long for tall children.
The top 2.5 inches of the mattress are made of Gel infused memory foam, followed by a 2-inch ventilation layer and a 6.5-inch therapeutic support base. The gel particles keep the sleeping surface significantly cooler than regular memory foam.
The cover is made of bamboo, which is also naturally breathable to further encourage air flow and the top panel is lined with all natural wool.
The gel foam of this mattress conforms to the curvature of the body to relieve pressure points and support proper spinal alignment. The foam is anti-microbial, dust mite resistant, and hypoallergenic, making it a good option for kids with allergies or asthma.
The price is higher than regular memory foam, but this CertiPUR-US certified mattress does come with a 25-year warranty.
Memory Foam Mattress Topper From Sleep Better
Sometimes the combination of a memory foam mattress topper and an innerspring mattress is the best mattress solution for kids. This 3-inch memory foam mattress topper from Sleep Better comes in twin extra long, queen and king sizes.
A memory foam mattress topper can help relieve pressure points. This topper is made in the USA and comes with a 5-year warranty. The foam is made with open cell technology to keep the sleeping surface cooler than standard memory foam, and the topper is hypo-allergenic.
The drawback with buying this high-quality mattress topper is the price. For almost as much as the twin topper, you could purchase a brand new twin innerspring mattress.