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Best Mattress for Kids

Lauren Fountain

Written by

Lauren Fountain, Certified Sleep Coach

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Methodology

We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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Throughout May, we will perform additional tests for sleeping position performance. We will update the picks on this page accordingly.

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While everyone can benefit from a good night’s rest, children rely on quality sleep to fuel their rapid growth and learning. Children also tend to need more sleep than adults. The amount of sleep a child needs is based on age group. Younger children usually require more sleep, with a recommended 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day for children between 3 and 5 years old. Older children tend to need less sleep. It is recommended that children between 14 and 17 years old receive 8 to 10 hours of sleep per day.

Selecting the right mattress can help your child sleep comfortably throughout the night. To pick the best mattresses for children, our team evaluated factors such as firmness, pressure relief, temperature neutrality, and price-point. We also considered the suitability of each mattress for various sleep positions, since your child’s preferred position may influence your mattress choice.

The Best Mattresses for Kids

Below you will find descriptions for each mattress on our list. In addition to our picks list, we provide an in-depth buyer’s guide that covers key factors to consider when selecting a mattress for your child, such as mattress size and firmness. We also discuss the benefits of certain mattress types over other mattress types when shopping for kids. Our guide focuses exclusively on mattresses for children, so keep in mind that infants have different safety needs.

Product Details

Helix Kids

Best Overall

Helix Kids

Helix Kids
Price Range: $649 - $899
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Queen
Who it's best for:
  • Parents looking for two firmnesses in one mattress
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those seeking a mattress with protection from bedwetting
Highlights:
  • Flippable design with two different firmnesses
  • Coil-reinforced perimeter
  • 10-year warranty
Helix Kids

Get up to $350 off + 2 free Dream Pillows

The Helix Kids mattress has a flippable design that grows with your child, accommodating ages 3 to 12. Each side has a distinct firmness that supports the different stages of a growing body.

What It’s Made of

Both sides of the mattress feature a Tencel cover with a water-repellent finish. The finish ensures the longevity of the mattress and protects against damage from accidents or messes. Beneath is a flammability protection layer to keep kids safe. The support core features 5-inch pocketed coils that provide targeted support to the hips and shoulders. A row of coils lines the perimeter of the mattress to support the edges.

On the side designed for 3- to 7-year-olds, the comfort system consists of dense polyfoam. This side’s comfort layer is firmer to maintain proper spinal support for younger children. The other side, which is meant for 8 to 12 years old, features a comfort system made from gel-infused memory foam that relieves pressure. The gel in this layer is engineered to absorb and dissipate excess body heat.

How It Performed

The side aimed at young children has a medium firm (6) feel to support growing bodies. As a child reaches 8 to 12 years old, they can transition to the medium soft (4) side, which has plusher comfort layers for extra contouring and pressure relief. This thoughtful design ensures the mattress will provide enough support at different stages of your child’s life. Hot sleepers should also appreciate the enhanced airflow through the coil support core.

Helix ships free to all 50 states, and it offers a 100-night sleep trial. The Helix Kids mattress comes with a 10-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Our team found the Helix Kids cool on both sides. Kids who easily get hot at night should feel very comfortable.”

Nectar Mattress

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Price Range: $499 - $1,199
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
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
Highlights:
  • Breathable polyester blend cover
  • Memory foam comfort layer evenly distributes weight and relieves pressure
  • Medium firm feel suits a child as they grow
Nectar Mattress

$599 off! $100 off + $499 in free accessories included.

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.

What It’s Made of

First, there is a cover made from a breathable blend of polyester, nylon, and polyethylene. Next, a comfort layer of gel-infused memory foam contours to the sleeper. A transitional polyfoam 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.

How It Performed

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. The memory foam layer redistributes the sleeper’s weight and heat to relieve pressure points without trapping excessive warmth against their body.

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

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Just as the Nectar has proven popular with adults, the mattress should be suitable for kids. The firmer-than-average feel and cooling features place it a cut above the average memory foam model, and its affordable sticker price makes it appealing to parents who don’t want to spend a lot of money on their child’s mattress.”

Saatva Youth

Best for Growing Kids

Saatva Youth

Saatva Youth
Price Range: $749 - $999
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium (5), Firm (7)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
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
Highlights:
  • Thick coil layer provides airflow for above-average cooling
  • Flippable design with two different firmness levels
  • Year-long sleep trial
Saatva Youth

Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off.

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.

What It’s Made of

The softer 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 cover is composed of breathable organic cotton.

How It Performed

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 365-night sleep trial, and a lifetime warranty.

For a more detailed review of the Saatva Youth, check out our video review.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We think the Saatva Youth will serve children well thanks to its reversible design. Each side has a distinct feel and should provide adequate support to its target age range. The waterproof barrier is a nice, thoughtful touch for kids who wet the bed.”

DreamCloud Mattress

Most Comfortable

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Price Range: $699 - $1,299
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Teenagers going through a growth spurt
  • Families who want a long trial period
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Thick comfort system conforms to the body to relieve pressure buildup
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Gel-infused memory foam designed to keep sleepers cool
DreamCloud Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on DreamCloud mattresses

The DreamCloud is a luxury hybrid mattress with a thick comfort system and 14-inch profile. The medium firm (6) feel of the DreamCloud makes it a suitable mattress for a wide range of sleepers, including kids. As a hybrid bed, the DreamCloud may appeal to children who enjoy feeling “hugged” by their bed but do not enjoy excessive sinkage.

What It’s Made of

The DreamCloud contains a cashmere cover quilted with polyfoam fill, followed by a layer of memory foam infused with cooling gel. The foam layers conform closely with the body, while a polyfoam transition layer prevents sleepers from sinking too deep. The support core is made of a pocketed coil system that provides bounce and targeted support to areas of the body that require more support.

How It Performed

Since the mid-level firmness is suitable for sleepers in an array of weight categories, children may continue to find the mattress comfortable as their size and weight grows. For kids who run hot at night, the DreamCloud’s hybrid design promotes temperature neutrality better than all-foam beds. The breathable cashmere cover further enables airflow.

The DreamCloud sells for a lower price-point than most hybrid models of similar quality, making this a good option for families who seek a quality bed on a budget. DreamCloud offers a non-prorated lifetime warranty and a 365-night sleep trial. After an initial 30-day period, families may return the mattress for a full refund. Shipping is free within the contiguous United States.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“We enjoyed the luxurious feel of the DreamCloud. The cover is soft and breathable, the foam layers contour just enough to alleviate pressure without sinking, and the coils are very supportive. Parents looking for a mattress with a long trial period should definitely consider this one.”

Nolah Nurture 10

Best Organic

Nolah Nurture 10

Nolah Nurture 10
Price Range: $1,499 - $1,799
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Soft (3), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
Who it's best for:
  • Eco-conscious parents
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Talalay latex comfort layers gently cradle the body to relieve pressure
  • Breathable organic cotton and wool cover facilitates airflow
  • Lifetime warranty
Nolah Nurture 10

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Nolah Sleep mattresses

The Nolah Nurture 10 is a dual-sided latex hybrid made from organic materials. Eco-minded parents looking for two firmnesses in one mattress may want to consider the Nolah.

What It’s Made of

A cover made from GOTS-certified organic cotton encases the mattress. Cotton’s natural breathability keeps the surface cool to the touch. Next is a breathable wool layer that acts as a natural fire retardant. The comfort system features 2 inches of Talalay latex, which provides slight contouring to relieve pressure buildup. Talalay’s natural responsiveness means that the surface does not conform as closely to the body, thus trapping less heat. The support core is made from 6-inch pocketed coils, which are strategically zoned to support the hips and shoulders. A layer of firmer Talalay latex rests under the coils for extra stability and durability.

How It Performed

The Nolah has a flippable design — one side has a soft (3) feel and the other has a firm (7) feel. Those under 130 pounds may prefer the softer side, while sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds may find the firmer side more comfortable. Across weight categories, side and back sleepers benefit from the Nolah’s pressure-relieving latex comfort layers and zoned coil design. Latex’s natural responsiveness also prevents a back sleeper’s hips from sagging and misaligning the spine. Hot sleepers should appreciate the reduced heat retention on the surface, enhanced airflow through the coil support core, and breathable materials.

Nolah offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. and a 120-night sleep trial. Nurture 10 purchases come with a generous lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Nolah Nurture 10 has a flippable design, which lets children use it as they grow. Hot sleepers on our team stayed fairly cool on this bed.”

Leesa Kids Mattress

Best for Young Kids

Leesa Kids Mattress

Leesa Kids Mattress
Price Range: $499 - $599
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Full
Who it's best for:
  • Children who are at least 4 years old
  • Kids who sleep in bunk beds
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Three-layer all-foam design provides cushioning and even contouring for growing bodies
  • Breathable open-cell comfort layer is designed to resist uncomfortable heat buildup
  • 7-inch profile makes the mattress safely compatible with many bunk beds
Leesa Kids Mattress

Up to $500 off mattresses + 2 free down alternative pillows

Young children often need a mattress that cushions and supports their bodies equally. This helps ensure proper growth and development, as well as night-to-night comfort after they have transitioned from their toddler bed. The Leesa Kids Mattress is designed specifically for kids who are 4 years or older. The medium firm (6) feel limits sinkage and keeps the child’s body on an even plane. A low 7-inch profile also allows the mattress to rest safely in most bunk beds at least 5 inches below the side rails, per current safety guidelines.

What It’s Made of

The Kids Mattress features a three-layer design that begins with a top layer of open-cell memory foam. This material features small air capsules engineered to promote circulation and prevent bothersome heat absorption. The transitional and support layers are both composed of polyfoam. The base layer is much denser to provide adequate reinforcement for growing bodies. A knit polyester cover encases the entire mattress.

How It Performed

During our tests, the Leesa Kids Mattress performed very well with temperature control – an area where many all-foam models tend to earn subpar ratings. The open-cell memory foam coupled with a breathable cover allows heat to dissipate rather than build up along the surface. The balanced medium firm feel should also prevent young kids from sinking too much or feeling trapped by the mattress.

The Leesa Kids Mattress is available in twin and full sizes, which are reasonably priced. Shipping is also free of charge to customers in all 50 states. Your order includes a sleep trial that allows your child to test the mattress for up to 100 nights and decide if it’s right for them. Should you decide to keep it, you’ll also receive a 10-year warranty against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Leesa Kids Mattress has a lot of qualities that make it suitable for kids in the post-toddler stage. It has a moderately firm feel with gentle cushioning, a low profile, and a fairly breathable surface that won’t trap heat.”

Brooklyn Bedding Chill

Best Cooling

Brooklyn Bedding Chill

Brooklyn Bedding Chill
Price Range: $274 - $699
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Firm (7), Medium Firm (6), Medium Firm (6), Medium (5), Medium Soft (4)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Custom Sizes
Who it's best for:
  • Children who sleep in bunk beds
  • Kids who prefer a balance of conforming and support
  • Parents with limited budgets
Highlights:
  • Choose from five profiles ranging from 6 to 14 inches
  • Foam conforms evenly without hugging too tightly
  • Wide size selection, including several RV- and bunk-friendly options
Brooklyn Bedding Chill

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklyn Bedding mattresses

The Brooklyn Bedding Chill is one of the most versatile kid-friendly mattresses on the market today. A gel infusion in the memory foam is intended to draw heat away from the sleeper’s body, allowing the mattress to sleep relatively cool compared to other foam models.

What It’s made of

Each thickness has a different corresponding firmness level, with options ranging from medium soft (4) to firm (8). The mattress contains two to three foam layers, depending on the selected profile. The comfort layer is composed of adaptive memory foam that molds to the body and evenly distributes your child’s weight. The base layer or layers are made of high-density foam to reinforce the sleep surface and prevent uncomfortable sinkage during the night. The surface has a Nano Stain Terminator finish to protect against spills and liquid damage.

How It Performed

Kids who need a firmer, more supportive surface will likely feel most comfortable on the 6- or 8-inch models, and the same is true for children who sleep in bunk beds. Those who enjoy close body-contouring may enjoy the 12- or 14-inch mattresses instead, and the 10-inch option is a balanced, middle-of-the-road option.

You can choose from a profile of 6, 8, 10, 12, or 14 inches, depending on which type of bed your child uses and how tall or short they prefer their mattresses to be. The mattress is available in 22 different sizes. These include the six standard sizes, several RV-friendly dimensions, and hard-to-find options such as full XL, Olympic queen, and short king.

Regardless of which size you choose, the mattress is very reasonably priced and shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“With five different designs, any child should be able to find a comfortable Brooklyn Bedding Chill no matter what their preferred firmness level is. The lower-profile ones are a good fit for younger kids who use bunk beds.”

Nest Bedding Lark

Best Firm

Nest Bedding Lark

Nest Bedding Lark
Price Range: $1,199 - $1,449
Mattress Type: Latex
Firmness: Firm (8)
Trial length: 30 nights
Trial length: 30 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Warranty: Lifetime
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
Who it's best for:
  • Kids who prefer an extra firm mattress
  • Hot sleepers
  • Parents looking for mattresses made from CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX-certified materials
Highlights:
  • Proprietary polyfoam-quilted cover gives the surface a plush feel
  • Durable Dunlop latex support core prevents uncomfortable sagging
  • Lifetime warranty
Nest Bedding Lark

SleepFoundation readers get 10% OFF sitewide with coupon code: SLEEPNEST

Nest Bedding is one of the first brands to create mattress in a box options designed for children. The Nest Bedding Lark has an extra-firm feel to support a child’s growth, and it boasts several certifications for organic and non-toxic materials.

What It’s Made of

Proprietary Eco-Flex polyfoam is quilted into the organic knit cotton and Joma wool cover. Cotton and wool’s natural breathability keeps the surface cool to the touch, and the CertiPUR-US-certified polyfoam creates a plush feel. OEKO-TEX-certified Dunlop latex makes up the support core. Dunlop has a dense feel and natural responsiveness that lifts the body and prevents sagging.

How It Performed

The Lark has a firm (8) feel specifically designed to support growing bodies. Kids who prefer a firmer mattress should find the Lark comfortable. Since Dunlop latex does not contour to the body as closely, hot sleepers should find the mattress traps very little heat. The mattress has a lower profile than many other kid mattresses on the market, measuring 7 inches thick. This profile should easily fit on most bunk beds.

Nest Bedding ships free to the contiguous U.S., and it offers a generous 365-night sleep trial. All Nest mattress purchases, including the Lark, come with a lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Nest Bedding Lark’s extra firm feel supports a child’s growing body. It also holds several certifications ensuring the materials are non-toxic and safe for your kid.”

Why You Can Trust Us

To choose the top picks above, our team of dedicated sleep experts personally tested dozens of mattresses. In order to create the most inclusive list, we considered mattresses that are specifically designed for children as well as models that cater to sleepers of all ages.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

Although children don’t take part in our testing process, we evaluate each mattress by focusing on factors that tend to affect how kids sleep. These include how firm and bouncy the mattress feels, how well it regulates temperature, and whether it provides adequate support for growing bodies. We also took kid-friendly features into consideration, such as waterproof covers intended to protect the mattress during bedwetting episodes and lower profiles to make getting in and out of bed easier for young children.

For a more complete look at how our team discusses and evaluates mattresses for kids, take a look at our product research methodology below:

  • Motion Isolation: This refers to the amount of movement a mattress absorbs and prevents from spreading elsewhere. Motion isolation is most relevant to couples, small children who sleep with a sibling, and others who share their bed with someone else.
  • Temperature Control: This refers to how well a mattress promotes airflow and releases body heat in order to maintain a comfortable sleep surface. The best mattresses for temperature control sleep neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Pressure Relief: Mattresses can reduce pressure by evenly distributing your weight, aligning the spine, and alleviating soreness in sensitive areas like the shoulders and hips. A bed’s pressure-relieving abilities are often tied to how closely its top layers contour to your body.
  • Off-Gassing: New mattresses often emit off-gassing odors. The smells eventually dissipate, but some mattresses produce stronger, harsher odors than others and may be difficult to sleep on for some people.
  • Ease of Movement: This criteria looks at how well a mattress facilitates movement across the surface without sinking too much. Springy mattresses tend to promote easier movement than models with surfaces that respond slowly to the body.
  • Edge Support: On a mattress with strong perimeter support, you’ll notice minimal sinkage when you sleep close to the edges or get in and out of bed. Some mattresses lack edge support and force sleepers to lie closer to the center.
  • Body Weight: How much a sleeper weighs plays a major role in which mattresses they find most comfortable. Generally speaking, the more a person weighs, the more firmness and support they need from a mattress.

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’ 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, king mattresses 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’ 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’ 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, with foam providing the deepest cradling. Hybrids with deep contouring provide a hugging sensation that could comfort some children. Because they have a coil core, hybrid mattresses have better edge support than many 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 or who expect their child to quickly outgrow the bed 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’ 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. Some children may find comfort in this hugging sensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What mattress types are best for kids?

    Foam and innerspring mattresses are some of the most popular choices for children because parents can purchase high-quality models at an affordable price. Hybrid beds can also be good for kids since they combine the pressure relief and comfort of foam with a coil support core’s support. However, a mattress’s type is no guarantee that it will work well for your child. The best mattress for a kid depends less on its construction type and more on its firmness, support, pressure relief, and ability to grow with them. The best way to decide on a kid’s mattress is to consider their weight, preferred sleeping position, and individual preferences before comparison shopping and reading independent reviews.

  • How much should you spend on a mattress for your child?

    Mattresses for children vary significantly in price depending on their construction, but you should expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for a mattress that will offer your child support and comfort over the years. Although children will eventually grow out of their mattress, it is possible your child will be able to use it across the bed’s entire lifespan. If they do grow out of it while the bed is still in good condition, it can be repurposed for a younger sibling or as a guest bed. The most expensive mattress is not necessarily the best choice, but very low-priced models are unlikely to fulfill a child’s sleep needs for very long.

  • What is the ideal firmness for a child's mattress?

    Deciding on how firm your child’s mattress should be can be difficult, but a medium firm mattress with good pressure relief tends to be the best choice in the long term. Since children weigh less than adults, mattresses feel firmer to them and soft beds are more comfortable. As they grow, however, they will require a firmer mattress that can offer them support. Most children will still be comfortable on a medium mattress by their teenage years, allowing them to use their mattress for longer. Pressure relief — usually provided by memory foam or polyfoam comfort layers — can make the bed much more comfortable when they are younger without sacrificing this longevity.

  • How thick of a mattress does a child need?

    Some kids prefer mattresses with low profiles that allow them to get in and out of bed with ease. However, thickness is less important than firmness and construction when selecting a mattress for your child. Ultimately, the mattress should provide adequate support for your child’s growing body without feeling too stiff or firm. Since kids weigh less than adults, they may not need as thick of a mattress to feel sufficiently supported.

    However, there is one important consideration for children who sleep in bunk beds. In order to prevent an accident, your child’s mattress should sit at least 5 inches lower than the guard rails of their bunk. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued bunk bed safety guidelines for manufacturers to follow.

    A new mattress can measure anywhere from less than 6 inches thick to more than 20 inches, but most fall in the range of 10 to 13 inches. Many mattresses designed specifically for kids (including some of our top picks above) are on the thinner side.

  • Can kids use adult mattresses?

    Most adult mattresses are perfectly suitable and safe for children. Whether a mattress is designed for kids or adults, it must pass the same material and safety inspections in order to be sold to the public.

    That said, mattresses made with kids in mind are typically a better fit for children. Many of these models come equipped with features not found on adult mattresses, such as waterproof barriers to protect the internal components from damage during bedwetting episodes. Some of the leading mattresses for kids have reversible designs with a firmer surface to promote healthy development for younger children, and a softer side to accommodate their evolving comfort preferences as they age.

    Sizing is another consideration. Queen, king, and California king mattresses are probably overkill for a child, as these sizes are geared toward couples and offer a lot of surface area. A twin, twin XL, or full size should provide adequate space for a child of any age. This is particularly true for kids who sleep in bunk beds, as most bunk models are only compatible with these three smaller sizes.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

About Our Editorial Team

author
Lauren Fountain

Certified Sleep Coach

Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.