Before you head to Helix, Casper, Amazon, Target, or other sites, here’s what to consider.
We are constantly learning new things about how important sleep is to our kids’ health and development. And the more we know, the more we want to do everything we can to improve that sleep, which means buying them a comfortable, supportive mattress. Here are some general guidelines for picking the best mattress for kids in 2021, whether you’re looking for a standard twin or crib mattress or want to get fancy with other types of mattresses, like green tea-infused, organic, memory foam, or innerspring.
“As a sleep physician, [I think] executing a smooth transition to a big kid bed is an opportunity and a milestone for a child,” Dr. Meredith Broderick, a board-certified specialist in neurology and sleep medicine, said in an email endorsing Helix's new mattress designed for kids. “Creating an optimal sleep environment is a key component of that transition.”
We want kids’ mattresses to be optimal for their bodies, but their bodies are constantly changing. With that in mind, we either need a mattress that can change with them (as the Helix and Saatva Youth mattresses do, flipping over to switch between firm and medium soft), or one that’s not so expensive that we’ll mind buying a new one in a few years.
Best Mattress Types for Kids
Firm: Firm mattresses, like those with an innerspring design, are best for babies because they prevent the risk of SIDS and keep small children safe and supported. Older kids can help choose the firmness of their mattress based on preference.
Soft: Soft mattresses with gel inserts or pillow top designs can help keep older kids comfy. Soft mattresses for children over 18 months are a matter of preference, and can still offer plenty of support for great sleep.
Spring: Spring mattresses are the traditional mattress design and can offer supportive sleep for babies, toddlers and big kids alike.
Memory foam: Memory foam mattresses are becoming more common and are available for cribs and standard bed sizes. Memory foam is often more affordable and can offer more support.
How To Choose a Mattress for Your Kids
Choose your child’s mattress based on size and material preference. Babies and toddlers typically require a crib mattress (see below), while older kids usually require a twin, full-size or larger mattress if you prefer. Older kids can use both spring and memory foam mattresses and can choose the firmness of mattress based on personal preference. Special features like organic materials, waterproof design, pillow top, and more should be decided upon in regards to personal taste and special circumstances, like bed wetting, allergies, or support needs.
How To Choose a Crib Mattress
Babies under 18 months old should always use a firm mattress to prevent the risk of SIDS and keep your child breathing safely and comfortably through the night. Cribs often transition into toddler beds, so crib mattresses that are used after 18 months can be made with softer material. Many dual-sided crib mattresses are available with a firm side for babies and a softer side for toddlers.
Shop some of the top-rated mattress brands of 2021 below.
- Best Twin Mattress: Helix Kids
- Runner-Up Twin: Casper Original
- Best Full-Size Mattress: Tuft & Needle Full Mattress
- Best Organic Mattress: Naturepedic Verse Kids Organic Cotton Mattress
- Best Waterproof Mattress: AC Pacific Foam Waterproof Mattress
- Best Crib Mattress: Newton Baby Wovenaire Crib Mattress
- Best Organic Crib Mattress: Naturepedic Breathable Organic Crib Mattress
- Best Mini Crib Mattress: Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Mini Crib Mattress
- Best Memory Foam Mattress: Zinus Cloud Memory Foam Mattress
- Best Toddler Mattress: Dourxi Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed Mattress
- Best Foam Crib Mattress: Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress
- Best Waterproof Crib Mattress: Newton Baby Waterproof Crib Mattress
- Best Firm Mattress: Saatva Youth Dual-Sided Mattress
- Best Pillow Top Mattress: Modway Jenna Quilted Innerspring Mattress with Pillow Top
- Best Cooling Mattress: Classic Brands Cool Gel Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress
- Best Spring Mattress: Linenspa 6” Essential Innerspring Mattress
- Best Supportive Mattress: Purple Kids' Mattress
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