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Best Mattresses for Kids – Top 4 Beds and Buying Guide

Written by Keith Cushner

Quick Overview

Sleep is important for all of us, but especially children. How well your child sleeps directly affects their physical, emotional, and mental development. Choosing the right mattress is obviously an important part of that.

Fortunately, buying a mattress for children doesn’t require a specialized process. Many of the mattresses that are suitable for adults can be just as supportive and comfortable for children; you just need to account for the unique firmness and comfort needs of a growing child. These include support and pressure relief, particularly for those experiencing growing pains, along with temperature neutrality, bed thickness, and your child’s preferred sleep position.

Below we share our top mattress picks for children, all selected based on verified customer and owner experiences, along with our intensive product research and analysis here at Tuck.

Then, in our Buyer’s Guide, we share everything parents need to know about buying a mattress for their child. Learn how to identify the best types of mattresses to relieve growing pains, prevent jumping on the bed, and calm hyperactive minds to sleep. Plus, get insider tips for securing the best deal on a mattress, like extended sleep trials which allow your child to test the mattress for 100 nights or more to ensure they won’t outgrow it after a year.

Best Mattresses for Children
First Time Buying a Mattress for Your Child?

Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best mattress for kids.

 

The Best Mattresses for Kids - Reviewed

Editor's PickTuft & Needle Mattress

Editor's Pick – Tuft & Needle Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium Firm (6.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Very good motion isolation
  • Consistent conforming and pressure relief
Read Our Full Review
Tuft & Needle Mattresses are available to Tuck readers at the lowest price
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Editor's PickTuft & Needle Mattress

tuftandneedle.com

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The T&N Mattress from Tuft & Needle is our Editor’s Pick because of its effective, no-frills design and its competitive price point. The T&N Mattress is constructed with the company’s Adaptive Foam, a graphite-infused polyfoam comfort layer and a high-density foam support core. Its surface is ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5) and most kids find the bed sufficiently supportive. This includes heavier children and those who sleep on their backs or stomachs.

The graphite infusion keeps the bed cool, making it a good option for children who usually sleep hot on foam mattresses. Many of those who experience growing pains also find the T&N Mattress comfortable due to its moderate yet consistent conforming ability. The all-foam construction readily adapts to a child’s growing body, cradling pressure points and support healthy spinal alignment.

Other benefits include its lack of noise – which can be helpful for kids who awaken easily during the night – and a lightweight design that is relatively easy to lift and move for most adults.

In addition to a low price-point, Tuft & Needle offers free mattress shipping to customers in the contiguous U.S. The T&N Mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The T&N Mattress features an all-foam construction that’s highly adaptable. The foams respond to the sleeper’s body pressure and weight, maintaining healthy support as your child’s body develops and they settle into a preferred sleep position. The bed also sleeps quiet and cool, making it a soothing option for children who tend to sleep hot or wake easily from noise.

  • Kids in the average and heavy weight groups. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel of the T&N Mattress ensures these children enjoy comfortable support without sinking too deeply into the mattress.
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). With a Medium Firm feel and foam construction, the T&N Mattress adapts to support different sleep positions. Wider and heavier parts of the body sink deeper into the mattress to maintain a healthy spine.
  • Those who normally sleep hot on foam beds. The infusion of graphite in the comfort layer helps regulate the mattress surface temperature and keep it cool.
  • Kids experiencing growing pains or engaged in sports. All-foam beds like the T&N Mattress are lauded for their pressure relief and ability to alleviate the aches and pains associated with a growing body or heavy exercise.

Not Recommended for:

  • Side sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. The T&N Mattress can comfortably support most children who weigh up to 230 pounds, regardless of sleep position, but it may allow those who weigh more than that to sink too deeply into the mattress when sleeping on their side.
  • Very lightweight sleepers. The T&N Mattress has a ‘Medium Firm’ feel which may feel too hard for more petite children.

Best Memory Foam Mattress for KidsNectar Mattress

Best Memory Foam Mattress for Kids – Nectar Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium Firm (6)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Sleeps cooler than most foam models
Read Our Full Review
Get $399 worth of free accessories with every Nectar mattress purchase.
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Best Memory Foam Mattress for KidsNectar Mattress

nectarsleep.com

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The Nectar Mattress – our pick for the Best Memory Foam Mattress for Kids – is constructed with four individual layers of foam for optimal conforming and support. Comfort layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam offer a body-hugging feel that can help kids fall asleep more quickly and also prevent aches and pains from developing. The bed’s ‘Medium Firm’ feel is ideal for any child that prefers a moderate feel that isn’t too soft.

The Nectar mattress has a longer-than-average lifespan thanks to its dual-layer high-density polyfoam base, which helps maintain an even sleep surface with minimal sagging. The bed is suitable for kids who tend to sleep hot, as well, due in part to the gel foam layer and a breathable cover made from cotton and lyocell. The mattress is 11″ thick, making it easy to get on and off for children of all ages.

Nectar offers free shipping to customers in the contiguous U.S., and White Glove delivery – including in-home assembly and old mattress removal – is available for an additional charge. The Nectar comes with a 365-night sleep trial, which is one of the longest sleep trials available, as well as a 10-year warranty. Given how quickly children grow, the year-long sleep trial is an especially attractive perk.

The Bottom Line.

The Nectar mattress satisfies a lot of things parents are looking for when buying a mattress for their child. It’s built well and designed to last a number of years, but the year-long sleep trial gives you wiggle room to return it if your child’s comfort preferences change. Although, given the adaptable foam feel, cool sleep surface, and superior pressure relief, chances are you won’t need to.

  • Side and back sleepers. The all-foam construction and ‘Medium Firm’ feel is suitable to the full range of sleep positions, although side and back sleepers tend to find this mattress especially comfortable.
  • Children in average and heavy weight groups. The Nectar’s ‘Medium Firm’ feel and higher-density support foams are ideal for supporting sleepers in these weight groups, although lighter sleepers may find the mattress just as comfortable as well.
  • Kids who normally sleep hot on foam beds. The Nectar uses gel in its comfort layer and tops the mattress with a cotton/lyocell cover, both of which work together to keep the surface temperature much cooler than the average foam bed.
  • Children who have sleep onset issues. Dual comfort layers of memory foam cushion and envelop the body, creating a body-hugging sensation that calms restless minds and helps soothe children to sleep.

Not Recommended for:

  • Children who weigh much less than 130 pounds. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel of the mattress may feel too firm for lighter body types.
  • Children who don’t like the feel of memory foam. The Nectar mattress conforms closely to the body, which can make some children feel uncomfortable.

Best Innerspring Mattress for KidsSaatva Mattress

Best Innerspring Mattress for Kids – Saatva Mattress

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 6, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Free white glove delivery & old mattress removal
  • Sleeps cool
Read Our Full Review
Tuck readers receive a $200 discount on a purchase of a Saatva mattress
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Best Innerspring Mattress for KidsSaatva Mattress

saatva.com

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Innersprings are known for their high levels of support, but many mattresses in this category have some notable shortcomings – particularly poor durability and minimal conforming ability. The Saatva, on the other hand, is a very durable mattress built with memory foam, polyfoam, and pocketed minicoil comfort layers that conform very well. These two factors make the Saatva a good innerspring pick for parents with children who are undergoing growth spurts.

The Saatva is offered in three firmness settings – ‘Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7.5); this wide selection ensures at least one option for children of all body types. And like many innersprings, the Saatva is highly supportive thanks to its robust bonnell coil support core. Good airflow through both coil layers allow the bed to sleep very cool, as well, and the Saatva’s thick comfort system causes the bed to produce less noise than other innersprings.

The Saatva is available in two profiles: 11.5- and 14.5-inches. The difference is in the support layer, with the larger profile containing 3 additional inches of bonnell coils. The shorter 11.5-inch profile is probably appropriate for most children, but parents of larger children or teenage athletes may find their kids enjoy better support from the thicker model.

Saatva offers free White Glove delivery for all customers in the contiguous U.S., including old mattress removal; most competing manufacturers will charge customers an additional fee of at least $100 for these services. The mattress is also backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

The Saatva’s durable construction and plusher-than-typical comfort layers make this innerspring bed attractive to a wide range of children. It provides a decent amount of conforming, while remaining strong enough to support growing bodies. Moreover, the bed is available in multiple firmness options, so parents can choose the best one for their child’s body weight and comfort preferences.

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). The softer firmness setting is most comfortable for side sleepers, while back and stomach sleepers may enjoy either of the firmer settings, depending on their body weight.
  • Children in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). Larger children will receive better support from the ‘Firm’ option, while smaller children will find the ‘Medium Soft’ option most comfortable. The ‘Medium Firm’ is perfect for children of average weight.
  • Kids who are experiencing growing pains. The Saatva’s durable construction ensures long-lasting support for developing bodies, with thick comfort layers to relieve aches and pains.
  • Those who tend to sleep hot. As an innerspring bed, the Saatva sleeps extremely cool, due to freely flowing air through the support core.

Not Recommended for:

  • Children prone to jumping on their mattress. The Saatva has a very bouncy innerspring construction that may be hard for these children to resist.
  • Light sleepers. The Saatva’s innerspring construction also makes this mattress a bit noisier, especially when shifting sleep positions.

Best Latex Mattress for KidsBirch Mattress

Best Latex Mattress for Kids – Birch Mattress

Highlights

  • Medium Firm (6.5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 25-year warranty
  • Breathable, eco-friendly materials
  • Long expected lifespan
Read Our Full Review
Tuck readers save $200 on the Birch Mattress.
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Best Latex Mattress for KidsBirch Mattress

Many kids like the responsive, relatively cool feel of latex beds compared to the sinking and heat retention of mattress foam. However, latex and latex hybrid mattresses typically carry high price-points. The Birch Mattress, our pick for the Best Latex Mattress for Kids, is a notable exception. It costs much less than the average latex mattress but provides the same resilient design and comfortable sleep surface as its more expensive competitors.

The mattress is designed with a top layer of natural and organic wool, which helps the bed sleep cool and wicks away moisture from the sleeper’s body. The second layer is made of natural Talalay latex, resulting in a ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5) feel that is particularly well-suited to heavier kids. The support core features pocketed coils that allow air to circulate freely, which helps keep the sleep surface cool. The coils are also relatively quiet.

In addition to offering a low price-point, Birch provides free shipping to customers in all 50 states. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial, as well as a longer-than-average 25-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The Birch Mattress offers a nice alternative for children who like some conforming and pressure relief, but can’t enjoy most memory foam mattresses due to their heat retention. The mattress also boasts a longer lifespan and extensive warranty, two features which make it attractive to value-seeking parents.

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). Latex foams offer sufficient conforming to make any sleep position comfortable, while the pocketed coil layer provides support.
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel is ideal for kids who weigh 130 pounds or more.
  • Kids who prefer springier, more responsive beds. As a latex hybrid, the Birch Mattress provides a more responsive feel, with the perk of a much quieter sleep surface than innerspring beds, thanks to quieter foams and a pocketed coil core.
  • Hot sleepers. The Birch Mattress is made from organic materials which naturally sleep cooler, like natural Talalay latex and moisture-wicking wool.

Not Recommended for:

  • Children who weigh less than 130 pounds. The ‘Medium Firm’ feel may feel too firm for lightweight children, especially side and stomach sleepers.
  • Kids who are experiencing growing pains. Latex hybrids like the Birch Mattress are not particularly known for their pressure relief.

Mattress Buying Guide for Kids

Below, we share everything parents need to consider when buying a mattress for their child, along with our best tips for buying a new mattress.

What Parents Need to Know About Buying a Child’s Mattress

Healthy sleep is essential for growing children. The right mattress will provide a comfortable, supportive sleep surface for boys and girls throughout their childhood, and may even be able to accommodate them after they experience major growth spurts. The wrong mattress, on the other hand, can negatively affect a child’s sleep quality, creating far-reaching repercussions for their health, growth, and development.

This guide will look at mattress options for children who are old enough to sleep in their own bed, as well as some shopping tips for parents. Please note that this page will focus on mattresses that may be used by adults or children, not mattresses that are specifically designed for kids’ beds. While many mattress manufacturers offer beds that are specifically designed for children, parents often find that a non-specialty mattress is just as suitable for their child’s sleep needs and preferences.

Support is arguably the most important factor to consider when shopping for a child’s mattress. In the mattress industry, ‘support’ refers to how well a mattress maintains a flat, even sleep surface and promotes spinal alignment. Growing children need optimal support, particularly around their spine, and parents are strongly urged to select models that will provide adequate support.

Mattresses that are too firm or too soft are generally considered unsupportive for most sleepers. Additionally, some mattresses may begin to sag in the middle after as little as one to two years of use; this causes children to sleep in positions that do not align the spine.

Finding the most supportive mattress for your child is a combination of several factors, including the mattress size, firmness, material composition, and more. We’ll review each of these features in the following sections.

Selecting the Right Mattress Size for Your Child

When choosing a mattress for your child, it’s important to keep in mind that they will probably grow by a significant margin before the mattress needs to be replaced. As a result, parents may want to consider larger sizes to ensure their boy or girl won’t outgrow their bed.

Most mattresses sold today come in six standard mattress sizes.

mattress sizes

Size Dimensions (width/length) Suitable for kids?
Twin 38W” x 75L” Yes. Although this is the smallest mattress size available, these sizes measure more than six feet in length, making them suitable for most children. This is also usually the cheapest size.
Twin Extra Long (XL) 38W” x 80L” Yes. The extra five inches of length over a standard Twin may be helpful for teenagers that are somewhat tall and expected to grow more.
Full or Double 54W” x 75L” Yes. Full/Double mattresses are often ideal for children because they are wide enough to accommodate restless sleepers and long enough for any child who is less than six feet tall. Many children are able to sleep on their Full/Double mattress until they reach adulthood.
Queen 60W” x 80L” No. Queen-size mattresses measure six feet wide and nearly eight feet long, making them excessively large for most children. Parents can usually save some money by opting for a Full/Double instead, which offers adequate room at a lower price-point.
King 76W” x 80L” No. A King-size mattress is simply too large for most children and will be an expensive investment for parents.
California King 72W” x 84L” No. Like King-size mattresses, the California King is too large and expensive to be suitable for a child’s bed.

As you can see, the most popular mattress sizes for children are Twin, Twin XL, and Full (or Double). Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of each of these three mattress sizes for parents to consider.

Twin Mattresses

  • Twin mattresses are the smallest and cheapest mattress size available today.
  • These can be a great choice if space is a consideration, such as when your child has a smaller bedroom, shares their bedroom with another sibling, or uses a bunk bed.

Cons

  • Twin mattresses are the easiest to grow out of, especially if you expect your child to be an athlete or grow over six feet tall.
  • While your child is still little, Twin mattresses can feel a bit cramped if you’re lying in bed with your child to read a story together or to help them fall asleep.

Twin XL Mattresses

  • These include an additional six inches in length over Twin mattresses, making them an ideal option for teenagers or children of tall parents.
  • Twin XL mattresses are still relatively cheap.

Cons

  • The longer size of a Twin XL may not always fit in bunk beds.
  • These mattresses can still feel cramped if you’re lying in bed with your child to read a story together or to help them fall asleep.

Full/Double Mattresses

  • Full mattresses wide enough to accommodate larger children, kids who want to sleep with you, or those who like you to read to them before they go to sleep.
  • They can also be suitably comfortable for children to sleep on once they become adults, and come to visit you at home.
  • Full-size mattress can double as a guest bed much more easily than smaller sizes.

Cons

  • Full mattresses are the most expensive of these three mattress sizes, but they can be a good financial investment, since they provide ample room for your child to grow.
  • If your child’s bedroom is small, however, they can be a tight fit.

Selecting the Right Mattress Firmness Level for Your Child

Mattresses sold today are available in a wide range of firmness options, from very soft to very firm and everything in between. At Tuck, we refer to firmness as having a 1 to 10 scale, with ‘Soft’ mattresses rating around a 3, and ‘Very Firm’ mattresses rating around an 8.

Although a ‘Medium Firm’ design is generally considered the most popular, that’s usually assuming the sleeper is an adult of average weight (between 130 and 230 pounds). Every child will have different firmness preferences, and they’ll typically find a softer mattress to be more comfortable when they’re younger and still growing.

However, you can always buy a ‘Medium’ or ‘Medium Firm’ mattress and then get a mattress topper with a softer firmness rating to make the mattress more comfortable for your child until they grow into it. Jump to learn more about mattress toppers.

Alternately, you can select a mattress firmness according to your child’s body weight and preferred sleep position. It’s important to note that children who weigh less than 130 pounds tend to feel most comfortable on mattresses that are ‘Soft’ to ‘Medium’, while heavier children typically prefer mattresses that are ‘Medium’ to ‘Firm’.

Regarding sleep position, side sleepers find softer mattresses to be more comfortable, between ‘Soft’ and ‘Medium Firm’, or a 3 to 6 on the 1-to-10 scale. A softer mattress surface allows wider and heavier parts of the body to sink deeper into the mattress, ensuring healthy spinal alignment for the side sleeping position. Stomach sleepers typically prefer firmer mattress surfaces, to avoid their pelvis from sinking too deeply and pulling the spinal alignment. Back sleepers make things easy, as they usually enjoy the widely popular ‘Medium Firm’ setting.

Parents should have their child test out different mattress firmness options in order to determine the best comfort level for them. You can do this easily at your local mattress retailer. Have your child lie on the bed in store and tell you how comfortable they feel. Of course, you can return a mattress under the sleep trial if it ends up being too soft or too firm, but the easier approach is to know your child’s preferred firmness level before buying the mattress.

A note on flippable mattress designs: If a child tends to change his or her mind about their desired firmness option, then a flippable mattress may be a reasonable investment. These beds are designed with a comfort layer on each side with a different firmness and a shared support core. To adjust the firmness from one to the other, simply flip over the mattress. Please note: parents should handle the flipping process, as mattresses are always too heavy for children to lift.

Understanding the Different Mattress Types

Mattress type is an important consideration, since each different design carries unique pros, cons, and precautions for parents. Below we provide an overview of the five most common mattress types and share everything you need to know:

Best Innerspring Beds for Kids

Mattress Reviews
Saatva Mattress Review

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring beds use steel springs in their support core, laid in a uniform grid. Comfort layers are made of polyfoam or memory foam.

Benefits for Kids and Parents:

  • Low price-point. Innerspring mattresses are one of the most affordable mattress types, usually costing around $700 to $1,200.
  • Sleeps cool. The coil support core provides ample airflow, and thinner comfort layers minimize the potential for heat retention.
  • Good option for growing children. Innerspring mattresses have a traditional feel that’s comfortable for many sleepers, and their steel support system supports the weight of growing bodies.

Disadvantages for Kids and Parents:

  • Noise potential. Because they use steel springs as their support system, these beds can be noisy when bearing weight.
  • Limited durability. Depending on the quality of their construction, innerspring beds can be prone to sag within a handful of years.
  • Too firm for some children. Thinner comfort layers may not provide enough cushion for smaller or more lightweight children.

Precautions for Parents:

  • Bounce potential. Innerspring beds are definitely the bounciest, which can be problematic if your child is prone to jumping on the bed.

Best Foam Beds for Kids

Mattress Reviews
Nectar Mattress Review
Mattress Reviews
Tuft & Needle Mattress Review

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses use foam in all layers of the mattress, with memory foam and/or polyfoam in the comfort layer and high-density polyfoam in the support layer.

Benefits for Kids and Parents:

  • Low price-point. Foam mattresses are generally more affordable, costing around $600 to $1,200.
  • No noise. Foam absorbs movement and related noise extremely well, so these beds sleep silent even if your child shifts positions often during the night.
  • Good motion isolation. Along the same lines, the all-foam construction isolates motion, which can make these beds a great option for kids who share a bed or light sleepers.
  • Long lifespan. Quality foam mattresses can last up to 7 years or longer.
  • Excellent pressure relief. The high conforming ability of these mattresses makes them especially suitable for children with growing pains.
  • Anti-bounce. Foam mattresses are made entirely of foam, reducing the fun (and injury risk) of jumping on the bed.

Disadvantages for Kids and Parents:

  • Off-gassing potential. Memory foam mattresses have an initial off-gassing odor. This dissipates fairly quickly (within a few days) once the beds are unwrapped and set up, but may be a bit much for sensitive noses to take.
  • Can sleep hot. Foam mattresses conform closely to the body, which can result in a warmer sleep experience.

Precautions for Parents:

  • Look for certified foams. CertiPUR-US foams have been tested for safety, indoor air quality, and low VOC emissions. Certified foams tend to sleep cooler and produce less odor.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses use individually pocketed coils as their support system, with at least 2 inches of memory foam or latex in the comfort layers. These beds may feature additional foams or minicoils in the comfort layers, too.

Benefits for Kids and Parents:

  • Long lifespan. Hybrid mattresses remain supportive for up to 7 years or more.
  • Contoured support ideal for growing pains. With thick comfort layers above a pocketed coil core, hybrid mattresses offer a higher level of contouring than innerspring mattresses, but without enveloping the body like memory foam.
  • Quieter sleep surface. While not as quiet as all-foam beds, hybrid mattresses do minimize movement and noise well, resulting in a quiet sleep surface for more restless sleepers.
  • Sleep cooler than all-foam beds. Depending on the composition of their comfort layers, hybrid beds tend to sleep cooler thanks to air flowing through the pocketed coil core.

Disadvantages for Kids and Parents:

  • Higher price-point. Hybrids do tend to be more expensive, costing around $1,500 to $2,200.
  • Heavy and difficult to move. Hybrid mattresses feature a heavier construction that can make it tougher for children to make their bed.
  • Noise potential. If the hybrid has thinner comfort layers, it may not isolate movement as well. The resulting noise may wake up light sleepers or children who share the bed with a sibling.

Precautions for Parents:

  • Pay attention to the foam materials. If your child is a hot sleeper, look for hybrid mattresses with cooler comfort layers. These include latex foams, or memory foam infused with gel, graphite, or copper.
  • Off-gassing potential. If the bed has thicker comfort layers of memory foam or polyfoam, there may be an initial off-gassing odor present for the first few days.
  • Bounce potential. While not as bouncy as innerspring mattresses, kids may still find these beds bouncy enough for jumping on the bed.

Best Latex Beds for Kids

Mattress Reviews
Birch Mattress Review

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses use polyfoam or latex in the support core, with comfort layers of latex. Latex mattresses may use only natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of the two. Natural latex tends to be more durable and sleep cooler, although it’s also more expensive.

Additionally, the latex may be poured using either the Talalay or Dunlop process. Talalay latex has a fluffier feel more suitable for comfort layers, while denser Dunlop latex may appear in either the comfort or support layers of the mattress.

Benefits for Kids and Parents:

  • Good motion isolation. Latex mattresses absorb motion well, resulting in a quieter, more still sleep surface for kids who share the bed.
  • Long lifespan. Latex mattresses are extremely durable, especially if they use primarily organic latex foams. These beds should last over 8 years or more.
  • Naturally hypoallergenic. As long as your child doesn’t have a latex allergy, these beds can be particularly great for kids with asthma or allergies. Organic latex is naturally resistant to mold, bacteria, and other allergens that can make breathing tougher for kids at night.
  • Sleep cool. Latex mattresses sleep cooler than hybrid or foam beds, as organic latex is naturally more breathable. It’s common for all-latex beds to use cotton and wool in their cover, which further helps regulate the mattress surface temperature.
  • Anti-bounce. Latex mattresses don’t contain any spring components, so children will be less likely to engage in jumping on the bed.

Disadvantages for Kids and Parents:

  • High price-point. Latex mattresses, especially ones made from natural latex, are more expensive, costing around $1,500 to $2,500.
  • Less pressure relief. Latex mattresses do not conform closely to the body, so they may offer less pressure relief for children experiencing growing pains.

Precautions for Parents:

  • Allergy potential in organic latex beds. If your child has an allergy to latex, these beds will not be a good fit. Although, synthetic or blended latex foams may carry a lower allergy risk.

Airbeds

Airbeds use air as their support system, with individual air chambers that can be adjusted according to the owner’s firmness preferences. Airbeds may have a thin, foam-based comfort layer, or feature no comfort layer at all.

Benefits for Kids and Parents:

  • Adjustable firmness. Since the firmness can be adjusted at any time, airbeds can be a good choice for children who are still growing or have changing firmness preferences.
  • Long lifespan. As long as they are properly maintained and individual parts are replaced as needed, airbeds can easily outlast other mattress types.

Disadvantages for Kids and Parents:

  • High price-point. Airbeds are one of the most expensive mattress types, costing around $1,500 to $2,500.
  • Controls may be difficult for kids to operate. You need to use a manual hand crank or remote control to adjust the firmness level, which can be confusing for children.
  • Below-average pressure relief. Because the comfort layers are so thin, airbeds may not provide sufficient pressure relief for kids experiencing growing pains.

Precautions for Parents:

  • Electrical components carry a high safety risk. Airbeds often feature electrical components which may make them dangerous for children to operate.

The chart below summarizes the key advantages and disadvantages of these mattress types for kids:

Mattress Type Benefits for Kids and Parents Disadvantages for Kids and Parents Precautions for Parents
Innerspring Low price-point
Sleeps cool
Good option for growing children
Noise potential
Limited durability
Too firm for some children
Bounce potential
Polyfoam/Memory Foam No noise
Long lifespan
Good motion isolation for kids who share a bed
Off-gassing potential
Sleeps hot
Certified foams produce less odor and sleep cooler
Latex No noise
Good motion isolation for kids who share a bed
High price-point
Allergy potential in organic latex beds
Synthetic or blended latex carries lower allergy risk
Hybrid Long lifespan
Contoured support
High price-point
Noise potential
Bounce potential
Airbed Adjustable firmness
Long lifespan
High price-point
Noise potential
Electrical components
Controls may be difficult for kids to operate
Electrical components carry high safety risk

Other Mattress Questions for Parents to Consider

By now you know the size, firmness, and type of mattress you want to buy for your child. You’re ready to go mattress shopping. If you find yourself torn between a few different models, ask yourself the following questions to find the best mattress for your child’s needs.

  • How Important Is Durability?

    Durability is key for selecting a child’s mattress because there is a strong chance he or she will grow significantly during the bed’s lifespan. As such, parents may not want to invest in a long-lasting, potentially more expensive mattress (such as a latex or airbed model), and may opt for a cheaper, less durable model instead (such as an innerspring or memory foam mattress). However, models that are prone to early sagging may not be a good choice, since sagging can impact the supportiveness of a mattress.

  • Is Your Child a Hot Sleeper?

    Sleeping hot is most commonly associated with memory foam and polyfoam beds, although hybrids and innersprings with thick foam layers may also feel warm. Temperature neutrality is important for all sleepers including children, particularly those who tend to sleep hot regardless of the mattress they use. If the mattress has thicker comfort layers, look for cooling materials like gel, copper, or graphite (like the T&N Mattress uses).

  • Do You Want a Low- or High-Profile Bed?

    Thickness preferences will depend on the child, but smaller children typically prefer mattresses that are 12 inches or shorter in height. These models are usually easier for smaller bodies to get on and off of, compared to higher-profile beds. Most kids 10 or older won’t have as much difficulty climbing into or out of higher-profile mattresses.

  • Is Your Child Sensitive to Smell?

    Off-gassing odor is to be expected from most mattresses when they are new, but foam-based models (as well as some latex and hybrid designs) may produce smells for days or weeks afterward. This may be a problem for children who are sensitive to smell.

  • Does Your Child Share Their Bed or Bedroom With a Sibling?

    Some mattresses are designed to absorb and minimize motion transfer, which occurs when someone shifts positions or gets in and out of bed. These models can be helpful for beds that accommodate more than one child.

    Innersprings and hybrids may produce squeaking sounds due to their metal components, and airbeds feature electrical systems that may be somewhat loud. If a child is sensitive to noise, then a foam or latex model may be best.

  • How Old Is Your Child?

    Most girls experience major growth spurts between the ages of 8 and 13 years, while most boys experience growth spurts between the ages of 10 and 15. If a child is nearing an age where significant growth is expected, then a longer mattress may be more suitable, such as a Twin XL or Full.

    Alternatively, parents may opt for a cheaper mattress that fits their current size, and plan to replace it when the growth spurt begins to take effect — though this may not be suitable for parents on a budget.

  • What’s Your Child’s Preferred Sleep Position?

    Children who sleep on their backs will be less restricted when it comes to choosing a mattress type and firmness. For children who sleep on their side, a relatively soft mattress will usually be best; firmer models do not sink deeply enough to help align their spine. For stomach sleepers, a soft to medium mattress may be best — although stomach sleeping is generally discouraged due to the excessive pressure this position puts on the body.

  • Does Your Child Like to Jump on the Bed?

    Parents who are worried about their child bouncing on their mattress (and potentially hurting themselves) may want to choose a mattress made of foam and/or latex with no spring components and soft to medium firmness. These mattresses are not very responsive, and offer little to no bounce, which can reduce the risk of the child getting hurt.

How to Review Sleep Trial & Warranty Periods

Lastly, let’s look at two other important aspects of buying a new mattress: the sleep trial and warranty coverage.

Sleep Trial

For parents who are unsure which mattress will work best for their children, a sleep trial can make a huge difference. Most mattress brands and retailers offer sleep trials that allow customers to test out the mattress for a certain length of time (anywhere from 90 to 365 nights), and then return it for a full or partial refund if they are dissatisfied.

All of the mattresses we’ve reviewed above have sleep trials lasting 100 nights or more, with the Nectar offering a full 365 nights.

Make sure you understand the terms of the sleep trial. Some brands will require you to test the mattress for a “break-in” period (usually 30 to 60 nights) before you can return it for a refund.

Mattress Warranty

Children can be hard on a mattress for a number of reasons, and some wear and tear is expected. The mattress warranty will not usually cover defects that stem from normal wear and tear, but they will cover certain defects, such as significant sagging or indentations in the sleep surface that affect support or manufacturing flaws in the mattress or mattress cover.

The warranty coverage periods are key. Some mattress warranties are entirely nonprorated, which means the company will repair or replace defective mattresses at no extra expense to the owner (except for shipping and handling fees in some instances). Other warranties are partially prorated, which means owners must pay a certain percentage of the original mattress price in order to have it repaired or replaced. This can add up to major expenses. As a general rule, parents should not select a mattress that offers less than two years of nonprorated coverage.

Pay particular attention to what the warranty says about the bed’s foundation. You can void a mattress warranty if you don’t use the proper foundation for the bed, whether that’s a solid foundation, the floor, or a bed frame. If your child sleeps on a bunk bed or uses a less-common foundation, make sure it’s covered under the warranty.

Pillows & Sleep Accessories for Kids

In addition to their mattress, parents should carefully choose other components of their child’s sleeping area to ensure they get high-quality rest night after night. Let’s look at some strategies for selecting pillows, mattress toppers, and bunk beds for kids.

Pillows for Kids

Pillows, like mattresses, are designed to support sleepers by providing an even surface — in this case, for the head, neck, and shoulders. The most important consideration when shopping for pillows is ‘loft,’ or thickness. Pillows that are too thin or too thick provide do not properly align the spine, which can lead to discomfort and pressure.

When determining the proper loft for your child’s pillow, it’s important to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Head size: Children with larger-than-average heads typically feel most comfortable on high-loft pillows that provide sufficient support, while those with smaller-than-average heads tend to feel comfortable on low-loft pillows.
  • Body weight: Children who weigh more require less loft, and will usually feel most comfortable on thinner pillows, while those who weigh less may require extra loft in order to feel supported and comfortable.
  • Shoulder width: As a general rule, children with broad shoulders usually prefer high-loft pillows and children with narrower shoulders usually prefer low-loft pillows.
  • Mattress firmness preference: Low-loft pillows tend to be better for those who prefer softer mattresses; this is because the pillow provides less of a barrier between the sleeper’s body and the mattress surface. In contrast, high-loft pillows may be better for those who prefer a firmer mattress surface because the sleeper does not need to sink as deeply.

The table below breaks pillows down by three loft categories:

Loft Thickness Optimal Head Size Optimal Weight Optimal Shoulder Width Optimal Mattress Firmness
Low Less than 3″ Small More than 200 lbs. Narrow Soft to Medium Soft
Medium 3″ to 5″ Average 100 to 200 lbs. Average Medium
High More than 5″ Large Less than 100 lbs. Broad Medium Firm to Firm

Pillow composition is another key factor. Some pillow materials are associated with high levels of support, including buckwheat, latex, and memory foam. Latex and buckwheat pillows are also considered more durable than other pillow types. However, these two pillow types tend to be somewhat expensive. In contrast, cheaper pillow types — such as down alternative and polyester models — do not provide the same levels of support, and tend to wear out much more quickly.

For more information, please check out our Best Pillows — Buying Guide and Information page.

Mattress Toppers for Kids

The term ‘mattress topper’ refers to an individual cushioning layer that is placed on the top surface of a mattress to adjust the firmness and comfort levels, and also provide better support in some cases. Mattress toppers may rest freely on the mattress, or may feature elasticized corners that can be tucked over the mattress like a fitted sheet.

In most cases, the topper is designed to make the sleep surface less firm; however, some toppers can increase the firmness when used on exceptionally soft mattresses. Either way, a mattress topper can be used to help a child sleep better on their current mattress’s firmness, if buying a new mattress is not financially feasible.

Toppers made of latex, memory foam, and wool are generally considered the best choice for kids. These models are fairly durable, less lumpy, and produce little to no noise. They are also among the most expensive topper options. More affordable toppers, such as those made from feathers and polyester fibers, are more affordable, but they also wear out more quickly, develop lumps and can be somewhat loud.

For more information about mattress toppers, please visit our Best Mattress Toppers guide.

Mattress Protectors for Kids

Moisture can seriously diminish the lifespan of a mattress, and introduce mold and bacteria into your child’s bedroom environment if not taken care of. Although some mattresses come with a removable, machine-washable cover, most mattresses are spot-clean only. So, if your child is prone to bedwetting, you may want to invest in some additional protection for your mattress.

Fortunately, it’s easy enough to protect your mattress investment and keep it clean with waterproof mattress protectors. Waterproof mattress protectors come in a few different styles. For children, fitted sheets, fitted pads, or six-sided protectors are all good options. These completely cover the top and sides of the bed and fit snugly, so the bed won’t look noticeably different or cause your child to feel embarrassed.

For more information, take a look at our reviews of the Best Mattress Protectors for Bedwetting.

Bunk Beds

Bunk beds is a catch-all term for any stackable bed that accommodates two or more sleep surfaces. They are typically made from wood or metal, and come equipped with ladders or stairs that can be used to access the top bunk(s). Some models also feature storage drawers in the base. The most common sizes for bunk bed mattresses are Twin and Full.

Bunk beds do carry a risk of injury. Sturdy construction is essential, and most models feature bars or other types of barriers to prevent sleepers from rolling off the top bunk(s). Parents should carefully research the product history and manufacturer warnings for different bunk bed models.

Additionally, purchasers should measure the height of their children’s bedroom before investing in a bunk bed; otherwise they may face space issues. In terms of price, metal bunk beds tend to be less expensive than wood models.

For more information, please check out our Best Bunk Beds guide.

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