What is the Best Mattress for Kids?

The best way to shop for a new mattress is to identify what your body needs. That’s why the best person to decide what mattress suits your sleeping style, habits, and body configuration are you and you alone. However, when you have children, you will have to make that decision for them, but choosing a mattress for another person is not an easy job (especially when it’s your kid who you want to sleep a solid eight hours a night in the best comfort possible). So, how exactly do you choose a mattress for kids?

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Image @darlingnightingale

What’s the Right Size?

Mattresses are available in a wide variety of sizes, but since an adult can’t possibly sleep comfortably in a Twin bed, children shouldn’t have to sleep in a Cal King bed either. Here is what you should know about kids and mattress sizes:

  • Twin beds are generally really good for children. They are the smallest in size, measuring only 38 x 75 inches. However, they are just about right for most children out there. For reference, Twin mattresses are also the cheapest ones on the market (well, unless you count dog beds or crib mattresses).
  • Twin XL is very similar to the regular Twin, only it comes with an additional five inches in length. This could actually make the world’s difference because buying a Twin XL will ensure that your child still has a good mattress to sleep on during their growth phase. Twin XL beds are really popular amongst teenagers.
  • Full or Double mattresses are also a popular choice for children because of their width. Since they measure 54 x 75 inches (notice that they have the same length as Twin beds, only these are wider), they are great for children who tend to toss and turn a lot during their sleep. While they are really great for kids and teenagers, you need to take into account that really tall children might have their feet sticking out of the bed, in which case the Twin XL is a better option.
  • Queen beds are too large for children. They measure 60 x 80 inches and since they are most suited for a couple, they are an unnecessary expense for parents, who are much better off buying a Full/Double mattress for their offspring. Plus, a kid’s room can use all the extra space it can get.
  • King and Cal King mattresses are also big, which makes them useless in a child’s bedroom. Not only do they occupy too much space, but they also cost a lot of money.

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What to Look For

On a theoretical level, choosing a mattress for a kid shouldn’t be more complicated than choosing one for an adult. However, since adults can pretty much make their own shopping decisions with a little bit of objectivity in there, kids have yet to develop the “skills” to choose their own mattress, which means that the parents are the ones to stay on top of the situation and make the right purchasing choice.

With that in mind, let’s focus on the aspects that are most important when choosing the best mattress for kids and see where that takes you.

#1: Construction and materials

The good news is that most of the best mattresses that are already available for adults are also available in a kids-sized version (which is anything from a Twin to a Full size). So, when looking at the construction and materials for a kid’s mattress, the same rules apply:

  • Foam mattresses will always be a hit among children and adults. You want to consider buying such a mattress because it’s very inexpensive (which is important in case your child grows really fast and you’ll soon find yourself in a position of having to buy a bigger bed).
  • Latex mattresses have the advantage of being the least noisy ones. If you have two children who share a bed, latex is a good choice because it provides minimal motion transfer, so when one fusses, they won’t disturb the other. Latex also gives a mattress that nice bouncy feel, which we all know kids love because of the whole jumping up and down the bed thing. But one of the key selling points of latex mattresses is that they are very durable. Even so, consider the fact that latex mattresses are more expensive compared to foam.
  • Innerspring mattresses have a pretty low price point as well, plus you get the benefit of sleeping cool. However, you need to consider that unless they have really good comfort and support layers (which they probably don’t, because if they did, they would be hybrids and not innerspring mattresses), they are too firm for kids. Also, if your kid is a bed jumper, chances are those springs won’t last very long.
  • Which brings us to hybrid mattresses. These have a very long lifespan, and they provide multiple benefits that come from the use of several of the materials we’ve mentioned above. Hybrids are great because they offer amazing body support and also have a long lifespan, which basically means they cost more.

#2: Firmness and support

We’re grouping the topic and firmness and support because both of them are of equal importance in any kind of mattress that you buy. When you think about support, you have to analyze the ability of a mattress to promote correct spinal alignment and see how good it is as maintaining an even sleeping surface. For a growing child, support is something you simply can’t compromise.

And that leads us to firmness. You should avoid any mattress that feels too soft or too firm. You also want to avoid mattresses that sag after a couple of years of use, because your child will then have to sleep in a bed that forces the spin in an unnatural position.

If you’ve shopped for mattresses in the past decade, you already know about how the firmness of a mattress is graded. It’s usually on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest option out there. You might think that if a mattress shouldn’t be too soft or too firm, then a medium-firm one (graded between 5 and 6) is a perfect choice. That really depends on the individual needs of every child. If you have a child that weighs over 130 pounds, they shouldn’t sleep on soft mattresses, because their bodies will sink into the upper layer and won’t have enough support.

Top Mattresses for Kids

With everything that we’ve just written in mind, let’s find out what are the best mattresses for kids. Since we acknowledge the fact that every child is different and because we believe in no compromise (regardless of the sleeper’s age) when it comes to sleeping on a proper bed, we’re treating children’s sleep the same way we would treat adult’s sleep: with emphasis on support, quality of materials, motion isolation factors, and the likes.

1. The Nectar Mattress

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There is a reason why Nectar always comes to mind when people ask us about a good mattress at a decent price. Nectar is a very straightforward type of bed, but one that always impressed the people we recommend it to because it balances price and quality as few other brands can.

Related: Our 2020 Review of the Nectar Mattress

So what exactly can Nectar do for your child? First of all, it keeps them cool. That’s because the cover is made with quilted gel memory foam, which means the first impression will be that of a soft bed. We like gel in a memory foam mattress because it helps absorb body heat which can be super annoying sometimes. Then, it brings even more gel, in a comfort layer that’s made with gel-infused memory foam.

Next on, it comes with a really awesome memory foam layer that promises superior support and has the ability to adapt to the shape of your child’s body. On a firmness scale of 1 to 10, the Nectar mattress scores about 6.5, which makes it a medium-firm mattress, but more on the firm side. That makes it a good choice for kids who like to sleep on their back, but also one for heavyweight side sleepers or lightweight stomach sleepers.

Who Should Purchase This?

Sometimes, you just want a good mattress without any fancy features or materials that will break the bank when you buy them. The Nectar mattress will always be one of the best and most budget-friendly beds out there, but also one that promises it will support your kid as it should.

best value
The Nectar Mattress For Kids
The Nectar Mattress For Kids

Also, it comes with a full year of free sleep trial, and we all know it’s the little perks that get you!

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Pros:

  • Good price-point.
  • Good sleep trial.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Soft quilted memory foam cover.

Cons:

  • Too firm for most side-sleeping kids.

2. DreamCloud Mattress

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We do agree upon the fact that the DreamCloud mattress isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it’s not the most expensive one either. In fact, it provides a great balance between the comfort you want to child to experience when sleeping and a slightly above-average price point.

Related: The DreamCloud Sleep Mattress: Does It Live Up to the Hype?

The mattress comes with a quilted Euro-top which feels amazing from the first moment you press your hands against the surface of the bed. Then follows a layer of gel-infused memory foam that will allow the skin to breathe, plus a support layer that promises great pressure point relief and superior body contouring.

Who Should Purchase This?

Even if the DreamCloud is ranked as being one of the most luxurious hybrid mattresses out there, it doesn’t really have a price tag as spicy as you would expect. It is more expensive compared to the Nectar bed, for instance, but even with the high-quality materials that went into the construction, it’s still a bed that most parents are willing to spend money on for the best comfort of their children.

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DreamCloud Mattress For Kids
DreamCloud Mattress For Kids

The core of the mattress is a layer of pocketed coils that provide great airflow within the mattress, good edge support, and minimal motion transfer.

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Pros:

  • Soft quilted Euro-top.
  • Made with gel-infused memory foam.
  • Good edge support.
  • Minimal motion transfer.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • One-year free sleep trial.
  • One of the most affordable hybrid mattresses on the market.

Cons:

  • Not very soft.
  • May be too tall for children.

3. Zenhaven Mattress

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The Zenhaven is an all-latex flippable mattress, with a firmer and a soft side. Well, to be completely honest, it’s a medium-plush and medium-firm side, but even so, it saves you the hassle of having to choose between two different firmness options.

Related: The Zenhaven Mattress Review: Why It’s One of the Best

This is a mattress made with Talalay latex, which means that you can enjoy really good pressure relief, great motion isolation, and virtually no noise when your child tosses and turns during the night. The top and the bottom layers of the mattress measure 1.5 inches, while the middle layers are each 3 inches thick. The bed was made with a five-zone design, which means that your kid can benefit from proper support in the lumbar area, but also in the legs and shoulders regions.

Because latex is a fabric that has an open-cell structure, the Zenhaven is a really cooling mattress, which will prevent your child from waking up with midnight sweats.

Who Should Purchase This?

The Zenhaven is a really well-constructed mattress that will draw the attention of plenty of parents out there. You might want to look into it if you have two children who share a bed, if you’re interested in durability (as latex is a very durable fabric) or if you have a child that tends to sleep hot and could use a naturally-cooling mattress.{image from instagram}

best latex mattress
Zenhaven Mattress For kids
Zenhaven Mattress For kids

It is also a mattress that performs well in the motion isolation department, so you might want to consider it if you have two kids who share a bed or if you sometimes sleep with your little one.

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Pros:

  • Flippable with two firmness options.
  • Good motion isolation.
  • Naturally cooling.
  • Made with durable latex.

Cons:

  • Poor edge support.

4. The Casper Mattress

You might have heard about Casper, which has recently launched other models alongside the flagship Casper Original. To this day, Casper is one of the best memory foam mattresses on the market because it’s the kind of product that people don’t normally go wrong with.

It is a good option for kids because it offers zone support. That basically means that it has pressure point relief regardless of your child’s favorite sleeping position, plus it comes with a firmness rating of 5, which is right down the middle and will surely meet the sleeping needs of most children.

Made from a combination of layers of open-cell foam and polyfoam, this mattress is also one of the most silent ones of its kind, which is important for kids because they tend to wake up when hearing even the slightest noises. It performs really well in terms of motion isolation, so if you have two children that share a bed or you sometimes have to sleep with your child, the mattress will block out the ripple effect caused by someone moving in bed.

Who Should Purchase This?

Those of you looking for a classic and well-built foam mattress will love the performance of the Original Casper.

Pros:

  • Offers zoned support.
  • Good for back and side sleepers.
  • Good for kids sharing a bed.
  • Really competitive price.
  • Relieves pressure points.
  • Promote spinal alignment.

Cons:

  • Available in a single firmness level.

5. My Green Mattress – Natural Escape

Let’s talk about a special category of little sleepers: those who are prone to allergies. You want a mattress that’s made with as many organic materials as possible, which brings us to the very awesome Natural Escape mattress, brought to you by My Green Mattress.

We’ve chosen this as being the best mattress for kids with allergies not just because of its organic construction, but also because the brand was brought o life by a father who wanted his eczema and allergy-suffering daughter to have a safe bed to sleep in. So, what product could be better than the one you’ve designed for your child?

Everything about this mattress is through to be allergy-safe. It’s made with certified organic cotton fabric, certified organic wool batting, and organic Dunlop latex. The core of the mattress is an 8-inch layer of pocketed sprigs that will make sure your kid has enough support in the lumbar region. Because of the construction, the mattress provides great edge support, minimal motion transfer, and it’s 100 percent recyclable. it is a medium-firm mattress, suitable for side and back sleepers.

Who Should Purchase This?

If your child suffers from any sort of allergies or has really sensitive skin that can’t be around just any type of fabric, the Natural Escape mattress is an organic solution that’s made with eco-friendly and recyclable materials.

Pros:

  • Made with organic wool.
  • Made with organic cotton.
  • Recyclable materials.
  • Good for allergies and sensitive skin.
  • Features a button-tufted design.

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to non-organic mattresses.
  • Available in a single firmness option.

Bottom Line

Choosing a mattress for your child can sometimes turn out to be more complicated than choosing one for yourself. You know more about your sleeping habits and preferences, and understand plenty about your body to know what suits you best. But it comes to kids, you have to make that decision for them, so finding a bed that offers the right amount of support can be problematic.

Even so, you need to remember that whatever is important for an adult (sleep-wise) is also important for a child. Look for mattresses that are sized Twin to Full/Double, pay close attention to the firmness, construction and materials used, motion isolation (if the bed is shared), durability, and odor control.