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 Little Luft is a hybrid model designed specifically for children that combines pocketed coil support with CertiPUR-US certified foams.
The Tuft & Needle Original is a cooling, all-foam mattress suited for smaller sleepers that also provides enough support for most adults.
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.
The Little Luft 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 Luft 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 Luft’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 Luft should fit most bunk beds.
The Little Luft 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 Luft Mattress at home during the one-year sleep trial. A 10-year limited warranty protects against defects.
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.
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 200 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.
The Casper’s medium feel and all-foam construction combine to make it exceptionally close conforming. Even smaller and lighter children are likely to experience a notable hug from the mattress. This hug can help cradle their body to relieve pressure points.
Rating around 5 on the 10-point firmness scale, the Casper has a medium feel. Many individuals from different weight groups find this firmness level comfortable, so it can accommodate both children and adults.
The Casper Mattress is constructed of four layers of foam. The top layer uses 1.5 inches of open-cell polyfoam, which provides cushioning while allowing cooling airflow. Next, a 1.5-inch layer of 4 PCF memory foam cradles the sleeper’s body to relieve pressure points. A
1.5-inch layer of 3.5 PCF polyfoam acts as the transition layer. This layer is zoned with additional support under the hips to help the sleeper maintain better alignment. A 7.5-inch layer of polyfoam serves as the support layer for the mattress.
This construction enables the Casper Mattress to conform closely to the sleeper’s body for exceptional pressure point relief and hug. However, the close conforming coupled with the medium feel may make it more difficult for some children to move around on the surface of the bed.
Casper’s foams are CertiPUR-US certified, which means they’ve been tested for an array of potentially harmful substances, including mercury, formaldehyde, and more.
The Casper Mattress is backed by a 10-year limited warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.
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.
The Joybed LX is constructed of natural materials and contains no foam, so it might appeal to parents looking for a more natural, eco-friendly sleep surface for their child.
Its hybrid construction gives the Joybed LX a combination of cushioning and bounce. The top of the mattress includes a plant-based fire barrier, GOTS-certified organic cotton, and wool. The cotton and wool cushion the surface while regulating its temperature to help keep the sleeper cool and dry. A support layer consists of pocketed coils that conform to the sleeper without transferring significant motion. Air circulates relatively freely through this layer, further helping the bed sleep cool.
Since the Joybed LX uses natural materials, it produces very little odor right out of the box. Because air can circulate through the mattress, any slight initial odors are also likely to dissipate quickly.
The Joybed LX has a firm feel, coming in between 7 and 8 on the firmness scale. This may feel quite firm to some children, especially those who weigh under 130 pounds. However, many children prefer the even support of a firm mattress, particularly if they sleep on their stomach or back. This firmness can also provide continued support as the child grows. Additionally, the firmer feel may make it easier for children to change position and get into and out of bed.
The Joybed LX comes with a 120-night sleep trial and 10-year limited warranty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.