We want the best for our kids.
And when it comes to sleep, the task of finding the best becomes even more important.
While there are different bed options you can consider, you need to know exactly what to look for. To help you with that, I’ve compiled all the important considerations and expert recommendations you might need to find the best mattress for your toddler. Here you go!
How to Pick the Best Toddler Mattress
Without further ado, let me start with the key criteria that define the best mattress for toddlers:
- Support. It’s a well-known fact that proper support is crucial when it comes to sleep. And no matter how old your baby is, they definitely need a supportive bed. Stay away from overly plush models that allow too much sinkage and cannot guarantee proper spinal alignment.
- Materials safety. When looking for a toddler bed, check the safety certifications. CertiPUR-US and Greenguard are the most common third-party certifications that prove the mattress does not contain harmful components.
- Thickness. Depending on the layers and the construction, mattresses for kids come in different thickness levels. You need to decide which one would be comfortable for your baby to get on and off. Typically, parents prefer mattresses under 12 inches tall for younger children and toddlers.
- Firmness level. Softer beds, as I have mentioned above, often can’t provide decent support, while firmer mattresses might fail to cradle the pressure points properly, which can lead to extra curves in the spine. So, when it comes to mattresses for kids, the best option is medium-firm. Some models come with different comfort levels on two sides, so you can flip the mattress and test how comfortable each side is for your child.
- Off-gassing. Common for foam beds, off-gassing is not that dangerous. However, in some models, it may linger for weeks, which can be an issue for smell-sensitive kids. Try to read mattress reviews to see whether the model you are considering comes with a strong odor or not.
- Durability. This one is quite contradictory. You see, because toddlers grow up fast, many parents prefer buying cheaper mattresses that don’t last that long anyway. But you need to remember one thing: even though your kid will soon grow out of his or her small mattress, they might use it quite actively. I mean jumping on it and moving around a lot. So, you still want a rather durable bed, something that can withstand active children.
- Temperature regulation. This aspect is important for all sleepers, including kids. Keep in mind that foam mattresses tend to sleep hot the most, while innerspring and latex beds are generally considered temperature-neutral.
- Anti-bounce. This one is extremely important for toddler mattresses. You see, your kid might jump on the bed while playing. And when the bed has too much bounce, there’s a danger of falling down on the floor and getting hurt. That’s why many parents prefer kid beds that absorb movement nicely, like latex or foam.
- Allergies or asthma. If your child suffers from any of these conditions, you need to make sure the mattress is odorless and made with safe, non-toxic materials.
A Word on Toddler Mattress Sizes
When trying to pick a good mattress for a child, many parents can’t decide with the size. If you are one of them, let me give you a couple of pointers:
- Crib. Measuring 28 x 52 inches, crib mattresses work fine for toddlers. However, keep in mind that such mattresses tend to be rather firm and may be uncomfortable for your kid. You can look for a flippable crib mattress, the one where one side is softer than the other.
- Twin. Twin mattresses measure 38 x 75 inches. They are a popular choice for toddlers since they can be used for most children and don’t cost that much.
- Twin XL. Being 38 x 80 inches, these mattresses can serve your kid even when he or she grows up. Twin XL models can accommodate even teenagers. This means your kid can use this mattress for years to come.
- Full (Double). Full mattresses measure 54 x 75 inches. They are ideal for restless sleepers or two kids that share one bed. It’s also a great option for parents who lay down with their children when putting them to sleep. Just like Twin, a Full bed can be used when your toddler grows up.
“If you are considering a non-waterproof toddler mattress, you can buy a mattress protector. Many of them are breathable but keep liquids and dust away from the mattress, prolonging its life.”
How to Choose the Best Materials for Toddler Beds
Looking for the best bed for your toddler means familiarizing yourself with different material options. Let’s look at the most common ones and what you can expect from them.
Memory foam or polyfoam
- Close conforming;
- Good pressure relief;
- Tends to sleep hot;
- Off-gassing that may linger for weeks.
Important note: If you decide to get a polyfoam or memory foam mattress for your toddler, make sure the materials are CertiPUR-US or Greenguard Gold certified (or both). This will ensure minimal chances of off-gassing and safety of the materials.
- Very supportive;
- Breathable and doesn’t sleep hot;
- No off-gassing.
- Noise potential;
- Somewhat limited durability (compared to other types).
Important note: Innerspring mattresses offer bouncy support and may seem too firm for some children. You might want to consider a model that has a good amount of padding on top of the spring core (wool or cotton fiber, for example).
- Good pressure relief and support;
- Doesn’t sleep hot;
- Adsorbs movement;
- On the expensive side;
- Not suitable for people who are allergic to latex;
- Potential rubbery smell upon arrival.
Important note: Many manufacturers offer 100% organic latex mattresses, which are dangerous for people with latex allergy. But there also are mattresses that feature a blend of natural and synthetic latex. They usually carry low allergy risks.
- Combines optimal support and cradling;
- Long lifespan;
- Doesn’t usually sleep hot.
- Noise potential from the coils;
- Odor potential from the memory foam comfort layers;
- On the expensive side.
Important note: Some hybrid beds use the combination of latex comfort layers and supportive coil cores. So, if your kid is sensitive to odors, you might want to try this option instead of the one with memory foam comfort layers.
- Adjustable firmness (to some extent);
- Very cheap;
- Good pressure relieving properties.
- Noise potential;
- Can be punctured.
Important note: Kids should not sleep on airbeds on a regular basis. Getting an air mattress for a toddler is recommended only as a temporary solution or as an option for sleeping when away from home.
“It’s helpful to consider your child’s sleeping position. Side sleepers need more cushioning, while back and stomach sleepers require firmer mattresses. If your baby is a restless sleeper and tends to change positions during the night, you might want to try hybrid beds that offer the combination of different materials.”
Our Top Picks
Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed
This little mattress has a dual-side construction. Its crib side is very firm and supportive, while the toddler side is a little softer, like medium-firm.
This model offers an impressive combination of comfort, support, safety, and good value. The core is made from the special patented Wovenaire material. It’s 10% food-grade polymer and 90% air. It feels like the combination of foam and latex: cradling but supportive and responsive. The mattress is washable, breathable, and safe. It is Greenguard Gold certified and does not contain any chemicals.
The cover is water-resistant, which is a necessity when it comes to small kids, and removable for easy cleaning. Also, it is made from polyester and features a special 3D spacer design that involves quilted parts creating softer air pillows underneath.
What makes this mattress stand out from the competitors is its value for money. Being quite affordable, it has dual firmness, uses safe materials, and simply feels comfortable.
Lullaby Earth Breeze 2-Stage Crib Mattress
This is another crib mattress that offers dual-side comfort levels. One side is firmer for babies and the other one is plushier for toddlers.
Now, this mattress uses the combination of polyurethane foam (41%) and polyester fiber (59%). The cover is 94% polyester with 6% of waterproof polyurethane lining (food-grade). It has a mesh design. Such a smart construction allows for improved airflow and helps with temperature regulation. The mattress is Greenguard Gold tested and certified, which means it is safe for your child. It doesn’t even contain chemical flame barriers.
What makes this mattress worth your attention is its quality. Lullaby Earth makes their products in the US. The materials are carefully picked, and the build quality is impressive. The mattress comes with a lifetime warranty, which only proves it’s a high-grade product.
“If you plan to buy a regular Twin mattress for your toddler, consider buying from a company that offers a sleep trial. This way, you will be able to return the mattress for a full refund if your kid doesn’t find it comfortable enough.”
Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress by Sleep on Latex
I’ve added the Pure Green here as the best Twin mattress for toddlers and a great natural option. And yes, it does cost more than the previous two mattresses, but it’s definitely worth the price.
This is a regular mattress, not a crib one. But the Twin size works great for toddlers, as we’ve discussed before. Being made of 100% natural latex, it would be perfect for any child (unless they have a latex allergy). Plus, this model is medium-firm, which is ideal for toddlers.
The Pure Green is Greenguard Gold, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and ECO Institute tested and certified. Apart from natural latex, it has wool lining and an organic cotton cover. Its latex core also features small airways all across the surface, which improves air circulation and makes latex more breathable.
Such a combination of comfort and safe materials really makes this mattress one of the best options for young kids.
What do you think? Which mattress would be perfect for your kid? And do you plan to get a larger size to serve for the years to come? Let us know in the comments down below!