No matter who you are, sleep is an essential part of a person’s daily routine. Getting the right amount of quality, restful sleep is essential to their well-being. Sleep is even more critical for children, who rely on good quality sleep for proper growth and development. Studies show that choosing a new mattress that will ensure your child the best night’s sleep possible can even improve their memory and immune system.
But with so many options and factors to consider, where do you begin? This guide will offer tons of advice on how to choose a mattress for a child. We’ll break down mattress size, mattress firmness, and even the materials the mattress is made of. In no time you’ll be able to pick the best mattress for all of your child’s needs while staying within your budget.
The first step to choosing your child’s mattress is making sure you are buying the proper size for your child’s size and age. There are four mattress measurements that are suited for children: crib mattresses are 28” x 52”, twin mattresses are 38” x 75”, twin XL mattresses are 38” x 80”, and full-size mattresses are 54” x 75”. You’ll want to consider your child’s particular size, the price of the mattress, and how long you hope to use the mattress.
Crib mattresses are best for a newborn baby up until about toddler age. They are pretty small and children tend to grow fast, so you can expect your child to grow out of their crib mattress in just a couple of years. It is best to transition your child out of their crib when they get large enough to hop over or climb out of their crib. You then have two options: upgrade to a twin bed or use your crib mattress as a mattress for a toddler bed.
A toddler bed is a bed with a lower railing than a crib bed, which means that your child won’t be able to roll out of their bed at night but won’t seriously injure themselves trying to climb over the crib’s taller railings. A crib mattress can be used in a toddler bed, so if you choose to transition to a toddler bed instead of a regular twin bed, you will get more time out of your mattress.
The other option is to completely upgrade your child to a twin bed. With this option, you’ll need to purchase a new bed frame as well, but you will have to purchase a new bed frame at some point anyway after your child outgrows their crib mattress.
A twin mattress is the most common mattress option for a child since they are inexpensive and small, allowing you to fit more than one in a bedroom if you have multiple children sharing a room. Generally, putting your child in a twin bed will allow your child room to grow in the twin bed as well.
A twin-XL mattress is the same width as a twin mattress but is longer to suit taller children. If you plan on purchasing a full bed for your child in their teenage years, it may not be necessary to purchase this longer mattress for their childhood, but this size bed will undoubtedly provide room to grow, and you will get several years of use out of this mattress.
If you are on a particularly tight budget or have small bedrooms in your home, your child may be able to use a twin-XL mattress into their teenage years.
A full mattress is a less common option for a child, but if you want to purchase a mattress for your child that will allow them many years of use as they grow in it, you can forgo the twin mattress altogether and purchase them a full bed. They will certainly be able to use this mattress into their teenage years and therefore save you money in the long run, especially if you plan to purchase a full mattress for your child in the future anyway.
Another critical consideration when mattress shopping is the type of mattress you’d prefer for your child. There are three main types of mattresses: innerspring, foam, and hybrid. Each of these mattresses has different firmnesses and feels to them, and can be either helpful or harmful to your child’s night’s sleep.
Innerspring mattresses have coils within the mattress that keep them thick and valuable over time. These coils are made of steel and can support the pressure of your child’s weight over time, even as they grow. Thus, they are longer-lasting mattresses than other options and are a popular choice for children’s mattresses. These mattresses are sturdy and firm, which could be a pro or a con based on your child’s preferences.
These mattresses also tend to be louder, as you can sometimes hear the coils squeak when your child rolls around or gets out of bed. If this is going to bother your child when they are trying to sleep or wake up other members of the family, consider a foam or hybrid mattress, which typically makes less noise.
Foam mattresses are popular picks for adults and are becoming increasingly trendy but are not recommended for infants and toddlers.
Foam mattresses are not the best option for a crib bed or toddler bed, but when your child passes toddler age, a twin, twin-XL, or full-sized memory foam mattress may be a good and comfortable option for your older child. If you decide to purchase a foam mattress for your child, purchase one that is still supportive and has an adequate alignment to ensure your child’s proper growth.
Foam mattresses are also known to off-gas, which means they emit a relatively strong smell when you unpack it. These are not harmful smells, but they can be bothersome when trying to sleep on them for the first few days until the smell goes away. Ensure that the room your foam mattress off-gasses in has proper ventilation and your child will be able to use the mattress without any smell at all in no time.
A hybrid mattress is an excellent option for parents looking for a mattress that supports an innerspring mattress and the comfort of a foam mattress. It is a multi-layer mattress that has layers of memory foam over an innerspring bottom. Hybrid mattresses are a wonderful pick for older children who are side sleepers and would like the comfort of a foam mattress.
We all have preferences about the firmness of our mattress and kids do, too! With any type of mattress there are varying degrees of firmness to choose from, and letting your child test them out is a good way to know you’ve picked one they enjoy and will get a good night of sleep in. However, depending on your child’s age, the firmness of a bed can make a difference.
A firm mattress is ideal for infants and toddlers, who often sleep on their stomachs. A firm mattress is great for stomach sleepers because it keeps their spines in alignment, which is crucial when growing. Generally, infants and toddlers prefer firmer mattresses anyway, as they are easier to move around on.
Soft mattresses are great for side sleepers because they offer pressure relief and won’t strain the shoulders or hips when sleeping. This is great for your side sleeper child because it means they won’t be waking up throughout the night to readjust themselves for comfort, and they won’t wake up with pain or soreness.
In addition to comfort, you’re going to want to make sure that your child’s mattress is durable, especially if you’re hoping to keep it for years as they grow into it. Children are prone to squirming around, jumping, spilling, bedwetting, you name it. Making sure the mattress is made for durability will ensure that you get the most longevity from your child’s mattress.
If you decide to purchase an innerspring mattress, look for a mattress with wrapped steel coils, since they are the most durable option. If you’re opting for a foam mattress, thick foams can survive more wear and tear than a thinner foam. Natural latex mattresses are also great options for durability as they last longer than other mattresses.
Most mattresses should last you about 10 years but making sure that your child’s mattress is made of the most durable materials will be essential to making sure you get the most bang for your buck. You’re going to have to purchase several sizes of mattresses for your growing child over the years so getting the most use out of your money is critical.
Not only should you consider the type of mattress you are purchasing for your child, each type of mattress, whether innerspring, foam, or hybrid can be made of different materials. Certain materials can contain chemicals that may affect the health of your child, and some mattress materials can even cause allergic reactions for children with sensitive allergies. Before you purchase a mattress, make sure you know what it is made of and what materials you’d prefer.
Synthetic mattresses are known for their negative effect on children’s allergies and can cause skin irritation, breathing problems, or other issues. Not only are these allergies adverse to your child’s health, but can also interfere with their good night’s sleep. Additionally, synthetic mattresses often contain chemicals that can be harmful, such as polyurethane, phthalates, flame retardants, and more.
Mattresses made of organic materials are hypoallergenic, durable, and don’t contain harmful chemicals. These mattresses can be made of cotton, wool, silk, latex, or bamboo. Making sure that you are purchasing an eco-mattress will be the best option for your child’s health in the long run, and it will last for years.
Additionally, if your mattress comes with a CertiPUR-US certification, it will be a cleaner and healthier mattress option that is free of chemicals. This certification guarantees that the mattress has been inspected and is free from potentially harmful substances. Ensuring that your child’s mattress includes this certification and checking its materials is an important step before you make the purchase.
Edge support is one of the nitty-gritty factors when it comes to mattress shopping but is important all the same, especially for children. Edge support is the encasement that lies on the edges of innerspring mattresses. It is often made of foam, rods, or coils, and provides several benefits for the mattress.
Good edge support prevents sagging at the edges of the mattress. This means that your child’s mattress will be more durable and last longer, ensuring that you get the most out of your money. Edge support also helps prevent your child from falling out of the bed at night, since it creates a structure and keeps the bed from sagging.
If you’re going to purchase an innerspring mattress, ensuring that the company that sells your mattress details their edge support system with the materials they use is a good idea. This will help you buy the safest and most long-lasting innerspring mattress for your child, which is particularly helpful if you want to use the mattress for many years or for multiple children.
A safe and good quality mattress is important for everyone, but especially for kids who are growing, developing, and need their sleep. Mattresses can feel like large investments, but purchasing your child a high-quality and durable mattress is definitely worth a little bit of extra money. To make sure that you are getting the best mattress for what you are paying, it is important to take many factors into consideration before purchasing.
How large and how old is your child? Are they sharing a room? How long would you like for the mattress to last? Are they a side or stomach sleeper? Do they have sensitive allergies? There are many questions to ask before finding the mattress that is perfect for your child, but spending time picking the best mattress for your child is one of the best things you can do as a parent to ensure that your child is sleeping soundly and healthily for the years to come.