Your child’s mattress plays a huge role in their ability to get a good night’s sleep, which in turn influences many aspects of their health and well-being: posture, school performance, mood, memory, immune system, bone strength, and more. Clearly, this is not a trivial purchase. So if you’re wondering how to choose a mattress for a child, start by looking at the same factors you would consider when buying a mattress for yourself. Should it be soft or firm? Which material composition will work best? Which size suits your child’s needs? Since a high-quality mattress can last 10 years or more, it’s important to look for a mattress that will grow with your child. Use the tips below to get started.
How to Choose a Mattress for a Child
Most children transition from a crib to a “big-kid” bed between the ages of 18 months and three years (source). Some go straight from the crib to a standard mattress, while others have a toddler bed in between. When you decide to invest in a “big-kid” bed, you’ll have a few options for size. Most parents choose between a twin, twin XL, and full mattress:
- Twin Mattress: 38″ x 75″
- Twin XL Mattress: 38″ x 75″
- Full Mattress: 54″ x 75″
Twins beds are a classic option that will help you save space. However, if you expect your child will be quite tall, you might want to invest in the slightly longer twin XL. Full size beds work well from childhood into adulthood, and some people prefer them for kids’ rooms so that an adult guest can use the bed in a pinch.
Next, consider the composition of the mattress. Children with allergies are often sensitive to synthetic mattresses, and some people find that synthetic fabrics cause them to experience skin irritation, respiratory problems, and other health issues. If this is a concern for your child, look into organic mattresses or those made of natural materials (like cotton, organic wool, silk, natural latex, and bamboo).
Once of the most crucial aspects of any mattress is the type and amount of support it offers. When purchasing a mattress for a child, most parents go with innerspring coils, memory foam, or a hybrid of the two.
A traditional innerspring mattress, or open coil, is the most common choice. Its network of connected coils supports the spine while also allowing pressure points to sink comfortably into the mattress. Innerspring mattresses work well for young kids because they typically don’t weigh enough to place a lot of stress on the coils (which would damage the coils and shorten the mattress’s lifespan). However, memory foam mattresses are also a good choice because they mold to the contours of the body, are hypoallergenic, and sometimes feature gel infusions that keep the user cool at night. If you can’t decide between innerspring and memory foam, don’t forget about hybrid mattresses, which combine the support of innerspring and the cushy sensation of memory foam.
Worried that your child will be tossing and turning all night? Take a little time to explore the levels of firmness and softness available. Most mattresses come in extra-firm, firm, plush, and ultra-plush (also called pillow-top). Although experts recommend that children under 18 months sleep on a firm mattress for proper development and safety, it becomes a matter of preference after that, just like adults. Consider taking your child to a mattress showroom so they can “test drive” a few options and get a feel for what’s most comfortable. Generally, back and side sleepers appreciate a firm mattress for strong support. Stomach sleepers may prefer a medium-firm mattress for comfort.
Life is messy! You can’t expect a child to always treat a mattress with care and caution. Over the years, your child will likely jump on the bed, wet the bed, spill a snack or two, and perhaps even vomit on the bed. So as you’re exploring how to choose a mattress for a child, remember to pick a durable mattress that can withstand a little abuse. It should be dense and solid, so that it won’t quickly begin sagging or breaking down. In addition, be sure to invest in a waterproof mattress protector to shield the mattress from bacteria, debris, spills, and other accidents.
Are you looking for a new mattress for your child? Visit Beautyrest Sleep Gallery. At our locations in Springfield and Branson, Missouri, we provide an extensive selection of top-quality mattresses, including Beautyrest®, Serta iComfort®, Tempur-Pedic®, and Scandinavian Sleep Systems. A family-owned and -operated business that supports local charities, Beautyrest Sleep Gallery offers free local delivery and setup as well as a Best Price Guarantee. Shopping for a new mattress can be overwhelming, but with our wide variety of mattresses and expert sales staff, we can put your worries to rest. To get started, please visit us in store or explore our mattress selection online.