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Sleep hygiene is important for everyone, but it’s especially essential that children and toddlers get quality sleep since their bodies are growing quickly. Furthermore, if your toddler gets a good night’s rest, the odds are that you will too. You may have already done your mattress and bedframe research, but choosing the right pillow is also essential to your toddler’s comfort and safety.
Though the timeframe does vary, many children over 18 months are ready for the additional comfort a pillow provides. Introducing a pillow to your toddler does come with some caveats, however, as there are important safety requirements to consider. Although infants are more at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation, toddlers may still be susceptible to a similar risk, sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC), with improper pillow use.
We outline the most important features to look for in a toddler pillow, such as filling, support, size, and material quality. We’ll also highlight our top picks and explain what aspects set them apart from other models so you can more confidently select the right fit for your child.
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Ergonomically designed in consultation with a children’s chiropractor, the KeaBabies Toddler Pillow has been specially crafted for children between ages 2 and 5. It has been tested on children of different ages to find a balance of softness and loft that’s suitable for most kids regardless of their sleep positions.
The KeaBabies Toddler Pillow is made from a plush cotton ball fiber filling with a 220 thread count cotton shell. A cotton pillowcase is also included with purchase. This composition provides softness, cushioning, and breathability. Both the pillow and the cover are entirely machine-washable to make it easier to keep the surface fresh and clean. The pillow should maintain its fluff after multiple launderings when washed with cold water and air-dried.
Eight style options are available, including plain white and seven distinct prints. At 13 by 18 inches, it is a standard toddler pillow size. OEKO-TEX certification verifies that the pillow has passed independent tests for an array of potentially harmful substances.
The KeaBabies Toddler Pillow is backed by a 365-day warranty that protects against potential manufacturing defects. Orders through Amazon may be eligible for Amazon’s 30-day return policy.
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Designed for children over two, the Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow is a strong choice for those on a budget due to its combination of quality and affordability.
Made with a dense but plush fiber, the pillow contains less filling than other models, which is intended to better support a toddler’s neck. Its 14- by 19-inch size is slightly larger than many toddler pillows but still compact enough to transport to daycare or vacation.
Made from a polyester and cotton blend, both the pillow and pillowcase are hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mildew. This design is also low maintenance, as the poly/cotton blend means that both the pillow and case can be machine washed and dried.
Shoppers can select between white, pink polka dots, and blue dinosaurs. The pillow is made in the U.S. by a small family-owned and operated business and comes with a money-back guarantee.
Best Memory Foam Toddler Pillow
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The Coop Home Goods Toddler Pillow’s shredded memory foam and microfiber fill balance support and conforming for lasting comfort.
Designed for children age 2 to 8, the Coop Home Goods Toddler Pillow is CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified to be free of harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and excessive volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The pillow is also hypoallergenic, making it suitable for children with allergies and environmental sensitivities.
The fill consists of cross-cut memory foam and microfiber to provide medium firm support while also maximizing comfort. The supportive design encourages spinal alignment and adjusts to your child’s size and individual sleeping style. To adjust to a child’s changing needs and preferences, owners can add or remove fill to change the loft and firmness.
A flexible and lightweight polyester liner lets the pillow bend and move to fit the child’s shape. The case is made from extremely breathable Lulltra fabric to allow heat to escape. This fabric is a blend of polyester and bamboo-derived viscose rayon. The entire pillow is machine-washable and may be dried on a low setting, but Coop Home Goods does not recommend washing the pillow more than once a year.
The Coop Home Goods Toddler Pillow is made in the United States and is cruelty-free. It is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty for additional peace of mind.
Best Wool Toddler Pillow
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The eco-friendly Woolino Toddler Pillow is filled with natural Australian wool, which is a renewable and sustainable resource. OEKO-TEX 100 certified and naturally hypoallergenic, the pillow is verified free of harmful chemicals, phthalates, and heavy metals.
This pillow contains just the right amount of wool fill in order to provide spinal, neck, and head support. It is an excellent option for children who tend to sleep hot because wool is extremely breathable, moisture-wicking, and temperature-regulating to reduce excessive heat buildup while staying cozy in colder months. The 300 thread count sateen cotton shell also allows airflow to help your toddler stay comfortable and dry regardless of the season.
The Woolino Toddler Pillow is machine-washable. When purchased through Amazon, it may be eligible for a 30-day return policy.
Best Customer Experience
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Made in the U.S. by a family-run company, this pillow is backed by a “love the fluff” guarantee to give customers extra confidence. For the first 90 nights, you can exchange it for a different fill level if your child doesn’t sleep comfortably.
Designed for kids age 2 and older, the Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow is a convenient yet comfortable 13 by 18 inches. The pillow uses a hypoallergenic design with polyester cluster fiber fill and a cotton shell. It is crafted for ergonomic support to promote healthy spinal alignment for growing bodies.
There are three different fill options to suit your child’s sleep style and comfort preference: classic fill, less fill, and more fill. If your child is a stomach sleeper, then opt for less fill. If they are a side or back sleeper, then the classic or more fill should be most comfortable. The cover is made from soft, breathable 200 thread count cotton. Since the pillow conforms to your toddler’s unique shape with each use, it should provide a comfortable, personalized fit as your child grows.
For added convenience, the Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow is machine-washable and dryable. When purchased through Amazon, this pillow may be eligible for a 30-day return policy in addition to the guarantee. Pillowcases are sold separately and available through Little Sleepy Head.
Best Travel Toddler Pillow
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With a thin, flat design, the Biloban Toddler Pillow is specially built for toddlers just adjusting to using a pillow. It should not lift their heads too high, but it adds subtle cushioning. This combination and the pillow’s compact design may make it ideal for travel.
The Biloban Toddler Pillow consists of a polyester cluster fiber filling with an extremely soft cotton shell. Thanks to its precise stitching, the pillow is very durable and should hold up well to regular use.
The pillowcase’s envelope closure minimizes bunching without using a zipper that could poke the child. The pillow is 13 by 18 inches with a stuffed height of 2.5 inches and a pressed thickness of 1 inch. Lab tests have demonstrated that the pillow can be washed over 200 times on a delicate cycle and still maintain its structural integrity.
The Biloban Toddler Pillow is backed by a lifetime guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied with the pillow, then you may be eligible for a replacement or refund with no questions asked. Customers purchasing through Amazon may also qualify for a 30-day return policy of unused items.
Good sleep hygiene is essential to a toddler’s wellbeing. Introducing a pillow at the right time can enhance your toddler’s comfort and sleep quality. Adding a pillow often coincides with a milestone in growth development as well as the transition from a crib to a bed, but there are still certain safety requirements to consider. We’ll discuss the most important factors to weigh when purchasing a toddler pillow, such as material quality, size, and firmness.
The best toddler should have just the right amount of fill so that a toddler’s spine, neck, and head are at an optimal angle. Size, support, firmness, and material quality are a few critical factors to consider when making your purchase. Given this accident-prone age, washability is also an important feature to keep in mind. Not only can it make your life easier, but it can also help you keep your toddler clean and comfortable.
You want to make sure that your child’s neck and head are at the correct angle to encourage proper spinal alignment, as this is beneficial to a toddler’s comfort and growth. The quantity of fill is therefore important since it determines lift. Fill for toddler pillows can range from natural materials, like cotton and fiber, to synthetic, like foam and polyester. The type of material will also determine whether or not the pillow itself can be washed.
Toddler pillows are smaller than adult models, with an average size of 13 by 18 inches. A pillow that is too large may overwhelm your toddler and could potentially cause entrapment. The more compact size also makes the pillow travel-friendly for preschool, daycare, and car or plane trips.
This factor is very important to consider when shopping for a toddler pillow, as the right amount of support will promote good sleep posture. One that is too firm will be uncomfortable and force the head upwards, but a very soft pillow may not be supportive enough for a toddler’s growing neck and spine.
A pillow’s firmness level directly relates to its aforementioned support. Since toddlers have typically slept without pillows and aren’t accustomed to a lot of cushioning, they usually rest more comfortably on firmer options that retain their shape and lift for consistent spinal support.
A toddler’s skin is more sensitive, and itchiness and allergic reactions could keep your child up at night. Parents often prefer to look for a pillow made with skin-safe, hypoallergenic materials, which will reduce your child’s exposure to environmental triggers like bacteria, mold, and dust. Regular washings can also limit the buildup of allergens on the pillow.
Considering how much time your toddler will be spending with the pillow, it’s a good idea to verify that it won’t expose your child to harmful substances. Certifications like CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD Gold, and OEKO-TEX ensure that the pillow is free of certain potentially harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and other substances.
Leaks, spills, and accidents are inevitable at this age, so finding a pillow with easy maintenance can save parents time and effort. Sometimes the entire pillow will be machine-washable, while in other cases only the cover can be tossed in. In either scenario, be sure to follow the recommended washing instructions carefully, as this will help ensure the pillow’s longevity.
This refers to whether the owner can alter the firmness or loft of the pillow. Some toddler pillows can be unzipped so that you can add or remove fill to make adjustments. Since children’s needs and preferences change as they grow, adjustability can be a bonus that allows you to better customize the pillow for more optimal comfort and support.
Pricing typically depends on the pillow’s composition. Models made from organic materials usually command a higher price due to the added expense for manufacturers. With that said, there are many high-quality toddler pillows on the market for less than $30.
Given that the toddler years are a crucial stage of growth and development, it’s important to exercise due diligence when shopping for your toddler’s pillow. The timeline for introducing a pillow varies, but experts generally recommend waiting until a child is at least 18 months old. However, you should also take into account your child’s stage of development and speak to their doctor to make sure they’re ready for this change.
To ensure your child’s safety and comfort, pay attention to a pillow’s size, firmness, material content, and recommended age range in order to reduce the risk of entrapment and promote healthy neck and spinal alignment. Parents should also make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Pillows pose too many hazards for infants, so experts recommend waiting until at least 18 months or even age 2 before introducing a pillow. Even if your toddler has already transitioned to a bed, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is ready for a pillow. Some toddlers still do quite well sleeping on a flat surface, but if you notice your child is bunching up blankets or stuffed animals to prop their head up, then it’s a pretty strong indicator that they may benefit from a pillow.
It’s helpful to keep in mind that pillows are for comfort, and young children don’t have the same comfort needs as adults. If your child is still sleeping soundly on a flat surface, then you probably don’t have to introduce a pillow just yet.
If your child seems to have especially weak neck muscles, then it also may be best to delay adding a pillow. They are accustomed to sleeping pillowless, so going without one for a little while longer might actually help your toddler transition more seamlessly from a crib to a bed. If your child is older than 2 and begins to toss and turn, then he or she might be seeking extra comfort and be ready for a pillow.
Material safety is a top concern when it comes to toddler pillows. A toddler is at a much lower risk of suffocation and entrapment when compared to an infant, but certain pillow materials still pose hazards for even older children.
Avoid any pillow made with tiny pellets or pieces, as this presents a choking risk if the pillow were to tear and leak. Your child might also have allergies you don’t know about yet, so it’s usually best to err on the side of caution and opt for a model made with hypoallergenic materials.
Most parents avoid down and other natural feather pillows for their toddlers because they are possible allergy triggers. Toddlers are also more vulnerable to toxins than adults, so it’s important to look for fill and cover materials that haven’t been treated with potentially harmful chemicals. For this reason, many parents prefer organic materials.
Instead of just taking a brand’s safety and quality control claims at face value, it’s a good idea to look for certifications. Certifications typically use third-party testing to ensure a product meets established standards.
This certification indicates that foam is free from specific components thought to be harmful, such as heavy metals, formaldehyde, flame retardants, and ozone depleters. It also verifies that the foam measures low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
GREENGUARD Gold certification verifies that a product has low chemical emissions according to established testing methods. This program has especially strict guidelines for total VOC emissions, which means that off-gassing should be limited.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
This standard certifies that textiles are made according to organic guidelines, from raw material through processing. GOTS also includes standards for the fair treatment of workers.
OEKO-TEX tests for the presence of 100 substances that can present health and/or environmental risks. It is one of the world’s best-known certifications and ensures high product safety.
Though toddlers are more robust than infants, there are still a number of sleep safety considerations to keep in mind. We’ll outline the most critical factors to address when shopping for a toddler pillow.
Pillow Size & Firmness
Most toddler pillows are on the smaller side for a reason, as a large pillow could pose more of a suffocation risk. The average toddler pillow is around 13 by 18 inches, which is spacious enough to be comfortable without overwhelming their small heads.
The pillow should also be reasonably firm, as one that is too soft and doesn’t retain its shape could pose a greater suffocation risk. Toddlers still have relatively weak necks, so a firmer design will give them the support needed to promote proper spinal alignment. Your toddler might reject a pillow that is too firm, however, because it may be uncomfortable.
If your toddler hasn’t transitioned to a bed, it’s especially important to avoid overly thick and large pillows. Toddlers might get creative and use them as props to climb out of the crib, posing an obvious safety risk. The same goes for large stuffed animals and toys, which are best left out of the crib.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Children younger than 18 months should not sleep with pillows, blankets, or bumper pads in the crib since this increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which typically occurs during sleep. Improper pillow use can potentially block an infant’s airway, leading to suffocation. Though more of a risk for infants than toddlers, the latter may still be vulnerable to sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) if a pillow is the wrong size, thickness, or firmness.
It’s normal to have some lingering questions as you shop for the best toddler pillow. We will address the most commonly asked questions about toddler pillows, such as cost, appropriate crib use, size, and cleaning.
The average toddler pillow costs between $15 to $50. The price-point typically depends on the type of materials used. Cotton and polyester fill pillows tend to be more economical, whereas memory foam, wool, and organic materials will command a higher price tag.
Pillows are never advisable for infant use, but if your toddler still sleeps in a crib, you could use a pillow if it meets the above safety requirements. However, you may want to talk to your doctor to confirm that your child is ready for this step. If your toddler is sleeping soundly, then you needn’t rush to introduce a pillow, regardless of whether they sleep in a crib or bed.
The average toddler pillow size is 13 by 18 inches, which makes it both safer and easier to transport than conventional bed pillows.
Experts do not recommend the use of a normal pillow for toddlers since it will be too large and may contain unsafe materials. A standard adult pillow is also unlikely to have the right firmness and loft to support a toddler’s more vulnerable neck and head.
Washing instructions will vary based on the brand, and owners should follow these guidelines in order to maintain the pillow’s integrity. While some designs are fully machine-washable, others use washable covers with cores that cannot be as easily cleaned. Unless the instructions specify otherwise, it’s usually best to use a gentle cycle with cold water and either air dry or tumble dry on low.
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