sleep foundation sleep foundation

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more here.

author

Written by

Lauren Fountain

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more here.

While everyone can benefit from quality sleep, children rely on it to fuel their rapid growth and learning. Children also tend to need more sleep than adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends sleep hours based on age groups. Younger children usually require more sleep, with AAP advising 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day for children between 3 and 5. Older children tend to need less sleep. The AAP suggests children between 13 and 18 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per day.

Selecting the right mattress can help your child sleep comfortably and get the good night’s sleep they need. Many of the same mattress considerations that impact adult mattress decisions can play a role in what mattress is best for your child. Factors like the mattress’s firmness, pressure relief, temperature neutrality, edge support, and the child’s preferred sleep position may influence your mattress choice.

We’ll share our picks for the best mattresses for kids. We’ll also explain key factors to consider when selecting a mattress for your child. This guide focuses exclusively on mattresses for children, so keep in mind that infants have different safety needs.

The Best Mattresses for Kids

Product Details

Little Luuf

Little Luuf
Mattress Type:
Hybrid
Firmness:
Medium (5)
Little Luuf
Highlights:

The Little Luuf is a hybrid model designed specifically for children that combines pocketed coil support with CertiPUR-US certified foams.

Who it's best for:
  • Children sleeping on bunk beds
  • Kids who tend to overheat during the night
  • Children who want both contouring and bounce

The Little Luuf is designed specifically for children, making it particularly well suited for young sleepers. The spring support system is built to support lighter bodies, gently cradling the child’s body.

Young children will likely find the Little Luuf Mattress has a softer feel than a crib mattress. As the child ages, the mattress will conform more for added pressure relief.

A top layer of foam adapts to the child’s body to spread out their body weight more evenly and reduce pressure points. The Little Luuf’s support core uses pocketed coils. This gives the mattress notable bounce while allowing for cooling air circulation. The pocketing of the coils reduces the spread of vibrations between coils. At 8-inches thick, the Little Luuf should fit most bunk beds.

The Little Luuf uses CertiPUR-US certified foams, indicating that these materials are free from certain substances, like mercury, lead, and formaldehyde. These materials are also OEKO-TEX certified, which means they’ve been tested for an array of potentially harmful substances. Additionally, the mattress uses natural fire barriers rather than chemicals.

You can try the Little Luuf Mattress at home during the one-year sleep trial. A 10-year limited warranty protects against defects.

Saatva Youth

Saatva Youth
Mattress Type:
Innerspring
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6), Firm (7-8)
Saatva Youth
Highlights:

The Saatva Youth Mattress is a 2-sided, flippable innerspring mattress that can accommodate the needs of both younger and older kids.

Who it's best for:
  • Younger kids with a lot more growing to do.
  • Kids who sleep hot
  • Children who change positions throughout the night

The Saatva Youth is a reversible innerspring mattress that’s designed to accommodate children’s changing mattress needs as they grow older. Since one side is firmer than the other, the mattress can be flipped once the child grows too heavy to be supported by the softer side.

The soft side of the mattress features a comfort layer of zoned polyfoam that provides extra support to the back and hips while conforming closer to the head, neck, shoulders, and legs. The comfort layer on the firm side is made of higher-density convoluted polyfoam, which is more supportive overall. In between these two sides is a support core of thick bonnell coils.

The coil layer allows a substantial amount of airflow throughout the mattress, which ensures your child won’t sleep too hot throughout the night. The thick construction of the coils also gives this bed great edge support, preventing anyone from falling off the bed. The quality of materials ensures a durable mattress that should last into a kid’s teenage years.

While the Saatva Youth comes at a slightly higher than average price point, Saatva offers free white glove delivery including in home assembly and old mattress removal, a 120-night sleep trial, and a 15 year warranty.

Nest Big Kids Bed

Nest Big Kids Bed
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Nest Big Kids Bed
Highlights:

The Nest Big Kids Bed is a transitional bed option for younger children that is available at a lower price-point.

Who it's best for:
  • Children with bunk beds
  • Kids who weigh less than 100 pounds
  • Children who would like a mattress with more hug

The Nest Big Kids Bed was one of the first bed-in-a-box options specifically for children. This all-foam model can provide significant contouring and pressure relief for lightweight individuals.

The Nest Big Kids Bed starts out with a quilted foam cover that provides softness and cushioning. Next, there is a 2-inch layer of 2.8 pounds per cubic foot (PCF) Energex foam. Energex foam is engineered to have contouring and pressure relief similar to memory foam with responsiveness more akin to latex. This means that while the foam contours to the child’s body, it regains its shape more quickly than most memory foams when the child changes position. Finally, a 5-inch support core of 1.8 PCF foam stabilizes the mattress surface for more even support.

Because this mattress is intended for relatively young children, the feel is harder to pinpoint. Lighter children will likely feel it has a relatively firm feel, while heavier children may experience a plusher feel.

At 7 inches thick, the Big Kids Bed has a lower profile than most mattresses on the market. This thickness should fit well on most bunk beds.

Since the Nest Big Kids Bed is produced specifically for children, sizing options are limited to twin, twin XL, and full sizes.

The mattress uses CertiPUR-US certified foams and a non-chemical fire barrier. The Nest Big Kids Bed comes with a lifetime warranty.

Tuft and Needle Original

Tuft and Needle Original
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Tuft and Needle Original
Highlights:

The Tuft & Needle Original is a cooling, all-foam mattress suited for smaller sleepers that also provides enough support for most adults.

Who it's best for:
  • Children who change positions during the night
  • Families who do not want to replace the mattress as the child grows
  • Individuals who want more pressure relief

While the Tuft & Needle is not crafted specifically for children, its medium firm feel and ability to accommodate multiple weight groups and sleep positions may make the Tuft & Needle a good choice for children as they grow.

The Tuft & Needle is an all-foam model constructed of two layers. The top layer of the mattress uses 3 inches of Tuft & Needle’s proprietary Adaptive foam. This material is engineered to strike a balance between contouring and responsiveness. It is also infused with gel and graphite to help pull excess heat away from the sleeper’s body. The core uses 7 inches of polyfoam to support the top of the mattress. A soft-to-the-touch cover allows air to circulate into the mattress to cool the surface.

This mattress has a medium firm (6) feel, which is in the range many sleepers tend to prefer. Individuals who weigh under 130 pounds frequently prefer slightly softer mattresses, while those who weigh over 230 pounds often favor firmer mattresses. The Tuft & Needle falls between these two extremes, so the bed may be a good match for children whose size and sleep preferences may change over time.

The Tuft & Needle Mattress has a number of certifications and approvals based on testing. These include certifications from CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold.

A 10-year limited warranty protects against defects, and a 100-night sleep trial gives you a chance to try it out.

Read Our Full Tuft and Needle Original Mattress Review

Nectar

Nectar
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Nectar
Highlights:

The Nectar Mattress is a slightly firmer memory foam mattress that is suitable for a variety of different types of sleepers, from children to adults.

Who it's best for:
  • Children who shift around during the night
  • Families that plan to continue using the same mattress as the child grows
  • Kids who prefer a hugging sensation from their mattress

The Nectar uses three layers of memory foam, giving it a significant hug that some children may find soothing and comfortable. Additionally, the Nectar tends to be more affordable than similarly-constructed models, so it may be friendlier on the family budget.

First, there is a quilted memory foam cover crafted for softness. This cover uses breathable Tencel fabric to keep the mattress surface cooler. Next, a 1-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam contours to the sleeper. This layer redistributes the sleeper’s weight and heat to relieve pressure points without trapping excessive warmth against their body.

A 3-inch layer of 3.5 PCF Adaptive Hi Core memory foam gives extra support while acting as a barrier between the comfort and support layers. The support core uses 6 inches of 2.2 PCF polyfoam to stabilize the rest of the mattress.

Rating at a 6 on the firmness scale, the Nectar is an all-foam model with a medium firm feel. This is in the range many sleepers find comfortable, so the Nectar may still serve a child well as they grow and their preferences change.

Nectar uses CertiPUR-US certified foams that have been tested for certain potentially harmful substances and emissions.

A lifetime limited warranty and 365-night sleep trial are included with the purchase of a Nectar Mattress.

Read Our Full Nectar Mattress Review

5 Little Monkeys Mattress

5 Little Monkeys Mattress
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
5 Little Monkeys Mattress
Highlights:

Made in California, the 5 little Monkeys mattress uses Oeko-Tex certified cotton and CeritPUR-US certified memory foam to create a supportive sleep surface for growing kids.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who value organic materials
  • Children prone to nighttime accidents
  • Kids who tend to get too warm during the night

The 5 Little monkeys mattress is a medium firm all-foam bed designed specifically for growing children. It comes as a “sleep system” set with a waterproof, stain-resistant mattress protector and a machine-washable, hypoallergenic child-sized pillow. The mattress itself also features a water- and stain-resistant cover that is removable and machine washable in case of overnight accidents.

The mattress has a low, 8-inch profile, making it ideal for trundle beds, bunk beds, and day beds. The top comfort layer consists of a gel-infused open-cell memory foam that’s designed to keep the mattress feeling cool, making a good option for kids who frequently overheat over the course of the night.

This is followed by another open-celled memory foam layer and a support core of durable polyfoam.  The mattress protector, the mattress cover, and the pillow are all made with organic cotton.

Backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, 5 Little Monkeys also offers free shipping and returns.

airweave

airweave
Mattress Type:
Fiber
Firmness:
7.5 (Firm)
airweave
Highlights:

The Airweave mattress features propritary AirFiber foam, making for a mattress that’s responsive, easy to clean, and breathable.

Who it's best for:
  • Kids with bedwetting issues
  • Hot sleepers
  • Back and stomach sleepers

The Airweave is an innovative and unique mattress that’s perfect for kids of any age. Featuring a proprietary AirFiber construction, the mattress is supportive, breathable — and perhaps most important for kids — easy to clean.

The Airweave features an extremely simple construction, consisting just of their AirFiber material with a mesh polyester cover. While AirFiber conforms slightly to the sleepers body it’s much more supportive and responsive than traditional foams. The result is a sensation of ‘floating’ on the mattress rather than being hugged by it, which is good for those who like a bouncy mattress that’s easy to move around on. Airfiber is also a lot more breathable than most foams, which prevents the sleeper from overheating throughout the night.

What’s especially unique about the Airweave is that the entire mattress is washable. By removing the mattress cover, you can throw the entire AirFiber core in the washing machine. This is especially helpful for kids who have bedwetting problems, but it’s also great to reduce the presence of things like dust, allergies, and stains.

Innovation comes at a cost, however, as the Airweave is sold at an above average price point. Airweave offers a 100 night sleep trial, so you can try it out to make sure it’s a good fit. They also ship free to the contiguous US.

How to Choose a Mattress for a Child

This part of the guide will focus on factors to take into account when selecting a mattress for your child. Each child is unique, so there isn’t one best mattress to suit all children. Factors like the available space, the child’s size, and the child’s preferred sleep position may play a role in which mattress is best for them.

There are many mattress models on the market designed specifically for children, which some families might find a good match for their present situation. However, other parents may prefer a non-specialty mattress that can continue to accommodate the child’s needs and preferences as they grow older.

Why is Sleep Important for Kids?

Sleep gives the body a chance to rest and recover. While sleep is vital for all age groups, children are still growing and require enough rest to support this continual growth.

A good night’s sleep could promote many health, learning, and behavior benefits. According to Johns Hopkins All Children, quality sleep is thought to contribute to improved learning, attention, memory, behavior, mental health, and physical health. Meanwhile, not getting enough sleep could lead to serious consequences.

A supportive, comfortable mattress can help promote a good night’s sleep.

What Size Mattress is Right for a Child?

While there is no “right” mattress size for your child, considering your child’s growth, the mattress’s lifespan, and how you plan to use the mattress in the future can help you select the best mattress for your family. Each mattress size has potential benefits and drawbacks.

  • Twin: Twin mattresses are usually big enough for most children. As the smallest standard mattress size, twin mattresses tend to be the most affordable, and they may fit exceptionally well in a shared or small space. However, as your child grows, they may prefer a larger bed.
  • Twin XL: Twin XL mattresses are the same width as twin mattresses, but they are about 5 inches longer, so they can accommodate taller children and teens. This mattress size tends to be slightly more expensive than twin sizes, but they still take up a relatively small footprint.
  • Full: A full mattress provides more space for a child to move around during the night, so it may be beneficial for children who change positions frequently. The larger surface can also allow a parent to lie in bed as well, which may come in handy for reading bedtime stories or comforting the child.
  • Queen: Most children do not usually need as much space as a queen mattress provides. Queen mattresses are more expensive than smaller sizes, so for many families, this added cost may be unnecessary. However, if you plan on using the mattress for a guest bedroom or other purpose down the road, a queen mattress may be appropriate.
  • King/California King: King and California king mattresses are the largest and most expensive sizes of mattresses. While they allow ample space for a child to move around, they usually aren’t a top choice for families looking for a mattress for their child.

What to Look for in a Mattress

Many mattress companies use the term “universal comfort” or similar phrasing to describe their mattresses. However, comfort is subjective, so a mattress that is comfortable for some people may not be comfortable for others. “Universal comfort” usually just indicates a relatively middle of the road firmness that is likely to appeal to a wide range of sleepers.

When selecting a mattress for your child, focusing on specific factors that affect the value and sleep experience may help you select the best mattress for your child.

  • Price: The price of the mattress may be a deciding factor for some families. A mattress’s price may be influenced by its size, materials, durability, and construction. Some high-priced mattresses are more durable, which may make them a good value over time. However, there are also high-quality, lower-priced models on the market.
  • Sleeping Position: The child’s preferred sleeping position can play a role in how comfortable a mattress feels. Side sleepers often prefer a slightly softer mattress to allow the wider parts of their bodies, like their hips and shoulders, to sink in more. Back and stomach sleepers tend to favor a firmer feel that supports their midsections to prevent excessive sinkage. If your child moves around a lot during the night, you might look for a model that balances support and contouring to accommodate all your child’s potential sleep positions.
  • Mattress Type: The type of mattress can influence its feel, durability, and other performance factors. The most common types of mattresses on the market are hybrids, innersprings, latex, airbeds, and foam mattresses. Each type of mattress has distinct advantages for sleepers. However, which type of mattress is best for your child may depend on a variety of factors. We’ll discuss different types of mattresses in more depth below.
  • Contouring: Contouring refers to how a mattress forms to the sleeper’s body. Mattresses with more contouring tend to redistribute the sleeper’s body weight, relieving pressure buildup from areas like the hips and shoulders. Children suffering from growing pains may benefit from this pressure relief.
  • Quality Materials: High-quality materials can impact the mattress’s performance and longevity. Quality materials tend to be less prone to sagging and deterioration. Sagging and deterioration can make the bed less comfortable and ultimately limit its usability. If you plan to discard the mattress in a few years when your child outgrows it, lower-quality materials may not be problematic. However, if you plan for your child to use the bed long-term or you want to hand it down to another child, quality materials may be more important.
  • Firmness Level: Mattress firmness plays a role in how much contouring and support it provides. Softer mattresses often allow the sleeper to sink in and enjoy more contouring. Firmer mattresses tend to provide more support. While firmness preferences are largely subjective, the sleeper’s weight and preferred sleep position may also impact their ideal firmness level. We’ll discuss the best firmness for a children’s mattress in detail below.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is usually directly tied to contouring. The heavier areas of a sleeper’s body tend to put more force on the mattress. For most individuals, this creates pressure buildup around their hips and shoulders. Mattresses that contour to the sleeper tend to spread out the sleeper’s body weight, taking some of the pressure off their hips and shoulders.
  • Edge Support: Edge support refers to how secure the edge feels when you sit or sleep near it. If the edge does not feel secure, children might not be able to use the full surface of the mattress because they may feel like they could accidentally roll off. A mattress with a weak edge could also make it more challenging to sit on the edge of the bed, which may make it harder for children to get into or out of bed.
  • Temperature Regulation: Some mattresses tend to trap heat, while others allow it to dissipate. If your child is prone to overheating or sweating during the night, a mattress with better temperature regulation may keep them more comfortable. Innerspring, hybrid, and latex models are often more breathable than all-foam models. However, many all-foam models also have features to help them sleep cooler.
  • Noise: Some mattresses may produce some creaking noises when the sleeper changes position. Mattresses with coil layers tend to be more prone to making noise than all-foam models. If your child is a light sleeper, these sounds could disturb them.

Which Mattress Firmness is Best for Children?

The ideal firmness is subjective for both children and adults alike. However, weight and preferred sleep position may be important factors to consider when selecting a mattress firmness for your child.

A person’s weight affects how firm a mattress feels to them. Heavier individuals put more force on the mattress, which can make a mattress seem softer to them. Lighter individuals usually do not sink in as much, which can make a mattress seem firmer. Since children usually weigh less than adults, a mattress is likely to feel firmer to them than it will to their parents. Firmer models may be easier for children to move around on, while softer models will likely provide more cradling.

Side sleepers often prefer a softer mattress to accommodate their hips and shoulders. However, back and stomach sleepers often look for a firmer, more supportive model to prevent their midsections from sinking in excessively.

Which Type of Mattress is Best for Kids?

There are a variety of different types of mattresses on the market today. Hybrid, innerspring, latex, airbed, and foam mattresses are among the most widely available types of mattresses. While features and performance vary between models, mattresses within each category tend to share some similarities based on their similar construction.

Hybrid

Definition: Hybrid models combine coil support systems with comfort layers that may include polyfoam, memory foam, latex, and/or microcoils. This design is intended to provide the benefits of multiple types of mattresses.

Balanced Contouring With Edge Support: The comfort layers of hybrid models tend to cradle the sleeper to relieve pressure points. This can create a hugging sensation that could comfort some children. Because they have a coil core, hybrid mattresses also tend to have better edge support than most all-foam models, which can expand the usable mattress surface and make it easier for children to enter or exit the bed.

Innerspring

Definition: Innerspring models consist primarily of a layer of coils. Many innerspring mattresses also have comfort layers of foam or fiber, though these are usually fairly thin. Innerspring mattresses are generally considered the most traditional type of mattress.

Affordability: Innerspring mattresses tend to be affordably priced. Families looking for a budget-friendly option for their child may feel an innerspring model is a particularly good value for their money.

Latex

Definition: Latex mattresses usually consist of one or more layers of latex. Natural latex is derived from the sap of rubber trees, though synthetic latex and blended latex are also used in some mattresses. Talalay latex usually has a lighter, softer feel, so it is frequently used in comfort layers. Dunlop latex tends to be denser and more durable, and it may be used in a mattress’s comfort and/or support layer.

Cradling Without Hug: Latex contours to the body, but less closely than most varieties of memory foam or polyfoam. This cradles the sleeper to help relieve pressure points without significant hug. Sleeping on a latex mattress usually feels more akin to sleeping “on” the mattress rather than “in” the mattress. Since latex mattresses tend to feel bouncier and more responsive in this way, children may have an easier time moving around on the mattress surface.

Airbed

Definition: Airbeds get their name from the air chambers that act as the mattress support layer. These chambers can be filled or emptied using a pump, remote, or app depending on the mattress model. Airbeds frequently have thin comfort layers of latex, foam, wool, or other materials for extra cushioning.

Changeable Firmness: An airbed’s firmness is determined largely by how much air is in its chambers. Sleepers can fill or empty the chambers to adjust the firmness level. Children’s firmness preferences may change as they grow, and airbeds can easily be adjusted to accommodate these changes.

Foam

Definition: Foam mattresses may contain memory foam, polyfoam, or a combination of the two. Some all-foam models may also include latex, wool, or other materials. Memory foam is often used in the mattress comfort system for contouring, while mattress cores often use high-density polyfoam for durable support.

Pressure Relief: Foam models frequently contour closely to the sleeper’s body to relieve pressure points. This hugging sensation may be comfortable for some children.