How to Choose the Best Mattress for Kids – 2020 Buying Guide


best mattress for kids little girl sleeping middle class dad

We all know sleep is one of the most important things for children when they are growing up. But learning how to choose the best mattress for kids can be confusing.

Here’s what I’ve learned with my 3 kids:

Look for a firmer mattress that provides greater support for growing bones, reducing fidgeting & restlessness, which can negatively impact sleep. When considering sprung mattresses, look for a higher coil count as that indicates a greater level of support. Avoid memory foam due to heavy chemical use in manufacturing.

But that’s just the beginning of the benefits of a good mattress for your kids.

Vitamin ZZZ helps your child avoid colds, fight obesity, to succeed in school and to be in an overall better mood. Children sleep more than any other age group because of continually growing both physically and mentally. At night is when your kid’s brain organizes everything it learned during the day and at that age that is a lot.

Everything in their bodies is continuously developing, turning them into the men and women they will one day become.

Once you notice that it is time for your child to move from a toddler bed to a regular bed, it’s essential to learn how to find the best mattress for kids.

Learning how to choose a mattress for a child is a significant decision and needs to be treated with the seriousness it merits.

So, we came up with a child mattress buying guide to help in deciding which one to buy.

Co-authored with Parenting expert Michael Nilles

The Crucial Points to be Aware of When Choosing the Best Mattress for Kids

All you parents out there know what it’s like when you let the little ones stay up just that little bit longer than usual as a treat. The next day is invariably a disaster full of temper tantrums and a sluggish demeanor.

Those little bodies are going through so much when growing up and much of it happens during the night.

Parents, like their kids, need a Great Mattress for Couples, as rest is important to everyone

A children’s mattress should:

  • provide a clean and healthy night’s sleep
  • promote a healthy posture
  • and support their constantly changing size

Also, know that the quality of the mattress directly affects the quality of the sleep. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Students (click to read on my site) is significant. To learn more I highly recommend you take a moment and review how that can impact your kids.

Help Your Child Recover from Their Day, Every Night

Make sure your child is sleeping on the best mattress.

Bear Mattress has been named the “Best Mattress for Athletes” by Sports Illustrated, Business Insider rated it the “Best Mattress for Back Pain” and Esquire named it the “Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers”.

Come see what the fuss is all about. 100-night sleep trial – if your sleep-deprived teen doesn’t love it, they’ll come to pick it up for a full refund.

Great prices all year, but they often have jaw-dropping sales throughout the year too. Check out all the options at Bear Mattress (click to see their website).

What is the best type of mattress for a child?

There are many different styles, offering all kinds of benefits depending on the type of sleeper involved.

The primary choices are:

  • Innerspring
  • Memory foam
  • Pocket-sprung (individual coil)
  • Latex foam

All children need the proper support when they sleep, keeping the spine and bones aligned.

The right support also influences rolling, fidgeting and general discomfort, allowing for a sounder sleep – every parent’s dream, right?

The best mattress for kids with the most support are the pocket-sprung, memory foam and latex varieties. However, each one has certain features that benefit some children more than others.

Pocket-sprung mattresses mainly feature tufted layers and each coil is independent of the others.

Latex foam mattresses are super breathable and ideal for a warm environment and for kids who have an aversion to hot temperatures. Also, this model is measured by density. Good quality mattresses have a higher density; the higher the number, the firmer the sleeping surface.

When choosing a spring mattress, it’s vital to check the height of the spring count and the coil gauge. A higher spring count equates to more support, while a lower gauge figure points to thicker coils and an overall firmer mattress.

What’s the difference between pocket sprung and coil spring mattresses?

Pocket sprung mattresses essentially have each spring in an individual pocket. This helps each spring move independently from the others. 

If you’ve ever set a glass of water on a spring mattress on one end and sat down on the other end only to watch the cup topple over, that’s the difference. 

Traditional spring mattresses have each coil connected. In doing that, if one spring moves, they all move. At least to a degree.

So generally speaking, most people prefer pocket sprung over a traditional coil spring mattress.

Is a memory foam mattress good for a child?

Probably not is the short answer; at least for a lot of folks.

On the plus side, memory foam mattresses are dense and body forming and reduce how often a restless child wakes up during the night. They are also hypo-allergenic and dust mites don’t like to live on or in them.

They also stink for doubling as a trampoline, so your kids aren’t likely to jump on it much.

But, that being said, not everyone thinks these are the best mattress for kids.

There are concerns about chemicals in the foam as well as the fact that the foam conforms to body shape and may not adapt as kids grow in size. You can, however, find ones that are GREENGUARD gold Certified which alleviates the chemical concern.

Sealy Posturpedic, possibly the world’s best-known mattress company, says “Innerspring mattresses, as opposed to pure foam mattresses, will provide the best skeletal support and conformance to the body while sleeping, and will not degrade with moisture”.

Are latex mattresses good for kids?

As I mentioned above, many parents and experts have concerns with memory foam due to the chemicals used in making the mattress.

The good news is that latex, being all-natural, solves that issue.

Also, like memory foam, latex is naturally resistant to mold and dust mites, both of which can really benefit your kid’s health. And latex is also hypo-allergenic.

Latex actually comes from the sap of rubber trees! It doesn’t get much more all-natural than that. Taking it even further, you can also find organic latex mattresses too. And from a sustainability standpoint, as with maple syrup, collecting the sap doesn’t kill the tree.

All that being said, while it is certainly a better choice than memory foam, it still has the same concerns about skeletal support. So at least for kids over 8, I would still prefer a spring mattress.

Is a firm mattress better for kids?

Yes, is the short answer.

Kid’s bodies are constantly growing and changing. Their bones are growing bigger and stronger. So they need a firm mattress to support that growth. Too soft of a mattress could easily hamper growth or cause improper growth.

Generally speaking, the younger the child, the firmer the mattress should be. So babies need a very firm mattress. But, even for toddlers, we don’t want a mattress that is so soft it could potentially smother their mouth.

Mattress firmness gets rated on a scale of 12 to 50. Anything over 36 indicates it is a firm mattress. 

A pillow-top mattress, however, can get you the best of both worlds; a firm mattress and a soft luxurious feel.

How thick should a child’s mattress be?

The thickness isn’t nearly as important as the firmness.

So in once sense, you can choose any mattress thickness from 5″ up to 11″. That being said, if we’re talking about toddlers in a crib or bed with rails, you don’t want a mattress that is so tall it encourages them to fall over the railing.

So in those cases, choose a 5″ thick mattress to help ensure they stay in their crib, toddler bed, or bed with rails.

Once they get to be age 8 or so, it’s much safer to go with thicker mattresses.

What is the best way to choose a baby mattress?

As we’ve mentioned, you want a firm mattress. That is BY FAR the most important factor, and the younger the child the firmer it needs to be.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has stated that “the risk of SIDS is significantly reduced by placing babies to sleep on their backs in a crib that meets current safety standards and has a firm, tight-fitting mattress and no soft bedding.”

We’ve also covered some of the dangers of the chemicals found in some types of memory foam, so avoid that kind of mattress too. Any kind of organic mattress will be free of those concerns.

But you can also find memory foam that is GREENGUARD gold Certified. This ensures it’s free of toxic chemicals.

Also, avoid a used mattress due to the possibility of mold, mildew, or fungus inside the mattress. Even if you can’t see it or smell it, it could be there. 

A firm, organic latex mattress can provide a great balance between firmness, mold-resistance, and being chemical-free and hypo-allergenic.

Want to know the #1 best-selling crib mattress on Amazon?

The Graco Premium GREENGUARD Gold Certified crib and toddle mattress (click to see on Amazon) is a fantastic mattress!

Here’s what it features:

  • It’s non-toxic
  • Breathable
  • Removable, washable, water-resistant outer cover

It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product with almost 3,000 near-perfect reviews and free shipping too!

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CURRENT PRICE ON AMAZON

What is the mattress size for a toddler bed?

The size of a toddler bed is typically 28″x55″ and even if your crib doesn’t convert you can still use the crib mattress (click to check price on Amazon) for your toddler bed.

Toddler beds typically sit low to the ground to prevent injury from falling out of bed.

They are usually about the same size as a crib and the best cribs sometimes convert to a toddler bed, such as the Stork Craft 4-in-1 Convertible Crib (click to see it on Amazon).

This amazing bed is a crib, a toddler bed, a daybed and even converts to a full-size bed (with additional options). It also comes with free shipping on Amazon and has almost all 5 stars and over 800 reviews; so you know this is a quality bed. The best part is it’s (currently) under $200!

Stork Craft Tuscany 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, Espresso best mattress for kids Middle Class Dad

Do you need a box spring for a toddler?

In most cases, no.

With a good convertible crib like the Stork mentioned above, no box spring is needed.

Most stand-alone toddler beds use a standard crib mattress with no box spring needed.


Want to know the best-selling toddler beds on Amazon Prime?

There’s the Nick Jr. PAW Patrol

Delta Children Plastic Toddler Bed, Nick Jr. PAW Patrol best mattress for kids Middle Class Dad

and the Disney Minnie Mouse both from Delta Children.

Delta Children Interactive Wood Toddler Bed, Disney Minnie Mouse best mattress for kids Middle Class Dad

Both come with free shipping, free returns and both have 4.5 stars and hundreds of reviews, so these are the best of the best!

Make sure to get the #1 crib mattress on Amazon to go with it!


What is off-gassing in a mattress?

When you first take a new mattress out of its plastic wrap it’s not uncommon to smell a chemical smell.

This is known as off-gassing.

Off-gassing happens when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) break down. These VOCs can be found in 1000’s of household items, from cleaners to paint or when you dry-clean your clothes.

Usually, the VOCs in foam and adhesive are the most typical ones to off-gas in memory foam mattresses.

Some of the chemicals include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methylene chloride, formaldehyde, benzene, and several others.

All mattresses are required to be flame retardant, thus VOCs are used to aid with that also.

Experts say that the low emission levels of these compounds make it OK for us to breathe in each day. But you may still want to air the new mattress out in a garage for a day or two before letting your little one sleep on it.

Are a toddler bed and a twin bed the same size?

No. As we covered above in our child mattress buying guide, generally a crib and a toddler bed are the same sizes whereas a twin bed is 38″ wide by 75″ long.

Thus a twin bed is typically both longer and wider. As long as it’s not high off the ground though, there’s no reason you couldn’t use a twin bed and skip the toddler bed stage.


One of the best twin beds on Amazon with free shipping that’s perfect for toddlers through tweens is the Canopy Bed from DHP(click to see current price on Amazon).

DHP Canopy Bed with Sturdy Bed Frame, Metal, Twin Size - Pink best mattress for kids Middle Class Dad

It has an all-metal frame, decorative side rails and is easy to put together.

The canopy bed also has 4.5 stars and hundreds of reviews. This is also the bed that my (Jeff) middle daughter (almost age 12) had in her bedroom for years and she loved it!

It comes in pink only, so if that’s not quite right for your child, consider the Metal Loft Bed also from DHP. Just click that link to see it on Amazon.

DHP Junior Twin Metal Loft Bed with Storage Steps, Space-Saving Solution, Multifunctional, Black with Blue Steps best mattress for kids Middle Class Dad

It features side rails, storage compartments in the steps and lots of play or storage space underneath.

Either way, don’t forget the Modway Aveline 8″ Gel Infused Memory Foam Twin Mattress (click to see on Amazon). It’s Green Foam Certified, an Amazon’s Choice product and also got over 4 stars and over 2,200 reviews and comes with free shipping on Amazon. 

CertiPUR US certified so you can be sure it’s made without formaldehyde, heavy metals, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants, and is low on VOC.

CLICK HERE TO SEE CURRENT PRICE ON AMAZON

Did we cover everything you wanted to know about how to choose the best mattress for kids?

In this ultimate child mattress buying guide, we took an in-depth look into the world of beds and mattresses for kids.

We know proper sleep is important for our children’s mental & physical health as well as brain development. But finding the best mattress for kids can be confusing!

So we answered all the top questions, we reviewed the top choices on Amazon Prime all to help you get the information you need to make the best choice for your child.

So, it’s safe to say that there is a lot out there.

Too many choices sometimes make deciding the best mattress for kids more difficult, but when it comes to your cherished little ones’ well-being, a little research can go along way.


About the co-author of this post.

Michael Nilles is a part-time blogger who loves to share parenting tips he has discovered over the years.


Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.


best mattress for kids Jeff Campbell Middle Class Dad bio

Some of the images used in this post were acquired from the web and are considered “fair use” under US Copyright law given this post is for the purposes of reviewing these products. That being said if the original photographer prefers us to not use their photo, we will happily swap them out upon being contacted.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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