How to Pick the Best Mattress for Kids | Tuck Sleep

Best Mattresses for Kids

Healthy sleep is integral to 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 can negatively affect sleep quality, which has far-reaching repercussions concerning a child’s 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 and our picks for the best kids’ mattresses that are currently available. 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.

Key Factors for Comparing Kids' Mattresses

All children require mattresses that are supportive and comfortable to them. Otherwise, their sleep quality may decrease, leading to emotional and/or behavioral issues. These include:

  • An increase in tantrums or emotional outbursts
  • Inability to focus or concentrate the next day
  • Trouble getting up and preparing for school in the morning
  • Poor or diminished motor skills
  • Hyperactivity

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.     

Here are a few more important factors to consider when shopping for a child’s mattress:

Mattress size: 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 sizes.

SizeDimensions (width/length)Suitable for kids?
Twin38W” 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 Double54W” 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.
Queen60W” 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.
King76W” x 80L”No. A King-size mattress is simply too large for most children and will be an expensive investment for parents.
California King72W” x 84L”No. Like King-size mattresses, the California King is too large and expensive to be suitable for a child’s bed.

Mattress thickness: 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.

Mattress materials: Mattress type is an important consideration, since each different design carries unique pros, cons, and precautions for parents. The table below features more details.

Mattress TypeConstructionBenefits for Kids and ParentsDisadvantages for Kids and ParentsPrecautions for Parents
InnerspringFoam-based comfort layer
Steel spring support core
Low price-point
Sleeps cool
Good option for growing children
Noise potential
Limited durability
Too firm for some children
Bounce potential
Coils may protrude from side walls (defective models only)
Polyfoam/Memory FoamMemory foam and/or polyfoam comfort layer
Polyfoam support core
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
LatexLatex comfort layer
Latex or polyfoam support core
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
HybridAt least 2″ of memory foam or latex in the comfort layer
Pocketed coil support core
Long lifespan
Contoured support


High price-point
Noise potential
Bounce potential
Coils may protrude from side walls (defective models only)
AirbedFoam-based comfort layer or no comfort layer
Customizable air chamber support core
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

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.

Firmness: Mattresses sold today are available in a wide range of firmness options, from very soft to very firm and everything in between. Although a ‘Medium Firm’ design is generally considered the most popular, every child will have different firmness preferences. 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.

Parents should have their child test out different mattress firmness options in order to determine the best comfort level for them.

Temperature neutrality: Sleeping hot is most commonly associated with memory foam and polyfoam beds, although hybrids and innersprings with thick foam layers may also feet warm. Temperature neutrality is important for all sleepers including children, particularly those who tend to sleep hot regardless of the mattress they use.

Odor potential: 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; some smell indefinitely. This may be a problem for children who are sensitive to smell.

Motion isolation: 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.

Noise: 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.

Price: Most mattresses represent a significant investment for shoppers. However, certain types (such as innersprings and memory foam mattresses) have much lower average price-points than others.

Important Considerations for Children's Mattress Shoppers

Next let’s discuss some tips for researching children’s mattresses and comparing different models and brands.

  • Keep the child’s age in mind: 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. 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.
  • Sleep position matters: 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.
  • Size and thickness are important: If a child is small enough for the parents to get into bed with them for reading or playing before bedtime, then a Twin or Twin XL may be too narrow to accommodate both bodies. Likewise, a Full-size mattress can double as a guest bed much more easily than smaller sizes. In terms of thickness, lower-profile mattresses (12 inches or shorter) are easier for younger children, but most kids 10 or older won’t have as much difficulty climbing into or out of higher-profile mattresses.
  • Flippable designs offer multiple firmness options: 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.
  • Inquire about odor: Although nearly all mattresses produce some off-gassing, certain models (mostly foam designs) are linked to long-lasting and unpleasant odors. When shopping for the mattress, be sure to ask about any brands/models that are associated with excessive off-gassing smells.
  • Latex and foam are anti-bounce: 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.

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.

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.

Now that we have covered some important considerations for children’s mattress shoppers, let’s look at some of the top-rated mattress brands and models for children’s beds.

Best Mattresses for Children: Brands and Models

The following mattress brands and models have earned the highest ratings from those who use them with children’s beds. You can use this comparison table to determine which (if any) of these mattresses is suitable for your child based on the price, thickness, firmness options, performance ratings, and other criteria. To learn more about the brands, please click the links in the top row of the table.

BrandAmerisleepLoom & LeafNest BeddingTuft & NeedleZenhaven
ModelAS3Loom & Leaf by SaatvaLove & SleepT&N MattressZenhaven Latex Mattress by Saatva
Mattress TypeMemory foamMemory foamMemory foamPolyfoamLatex
Comfort Layer3″ memory foam2 1/2″ gel memory foam
2″ memory foam
2″ to 3″ memory foam
1″ polyfoam (Medium firmness only)
3″ polyfoamFlippable comfort layers
1 1/2″ Talalay latex (both sides)
Support Core2″ polyfoam
7″ HD polyfoam
2″ polyfoam
5 1/2″ HD polyfoam
6″ to 8″ HD polyfoam7″ HD polyfoam6″ Talalay latex
Kid-friendly Sizes Twin
Twin XL
Twin XL
Twin XL
Twin XL
Twin XL
Price$1,099 (Twin)
$1,149 (Twin XL)
$1,249 (Full)
$749 (Twin)
$799 (Twin XL)
$999 (Full)
$399 (Twin)
$429 (Twin XL)
$549 (Full)
$325 (Twin)
$375 (Twin XL)
$475 (Full)
$1,249 (Twin)
$1,349 (Twin XL)
$1,699 (Full)
Support RatingGoodVery GoodGoodVery GoodVery Good
Durability RatingFairFairFairGoodGood
Firmness OptionsMedium Medium
Medium firmMedium soft
Temperature Neutrality RatingFairFairFairGoodGood
Odor Potential RatingGoodFairFairGoodGood
Motion Isolation RatingVery GoodExcellentVery GoodVery GoodVery Good
Noise RatingExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
Sleep Trial100 nights120 nightsLifetime comfort guarantee100 nights120 nights
Warranty20 years
10 nonprorated
15 years
2 nonprorated
Fully nonprorated
10 years
Fully nonprorated
15 years
2 nonprorated
Tuck Customer Satisfaction Rating82% (4,055 customer reviews)72% (113 customer reviews)76% (320 customer reviews)80% (2,587 customer reviews)80% (924 customer reviews)

Additional Sleep Accessories for Kids

In addition to mattresses, 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: 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, 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:

LoftThicknessOptimal Head SizeOptimal WeightOptimal Shoulder WidthOptimal Mattress Firmness
LowLess than 3″SmallMore than 200 lbs.NarrowSoft to Medium Soft
Medium3″ to 5″Average100 to 200 lbs.AverageMedium
HighMore than 5″LargeLess than 100 lbs.BroadMedium 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.

Toppers: 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.

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.

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.

Additional Resources