What is the best mattress for kids? Eager, curious, and responsible parents want to know. Children are different from adults in terms of needs. They’re still developing, so their age, size, and weight factor into the decision-making.
Invest in a mattress that can cater to growing-up changes. Some brands offer specialized models for your little ones. But any of the available mattresses you’d consider using yourself are also okay.
Looking for a mattress for your newborn, infant, or toddler? Check out our best crib mattress review instead.
Table of Contents
- Best Mattress for Kids
- Know Before You Buy
- The Verdict
Best Mattress for Kids
1. The Sleep System by 5 Little Monkeys
The company traces its origins from Hollywood Bed, an almost century-old family-owned bedding business. It is when the grandson of the founder took over that 5 Little Monkeys was born. The brand designed the Sleep System to target growing bodies–instead of grownups’. A few of the considerations made were body weight and proportions, changing body structure, body temperature regulation, nighttime accidents, and allergies.
What’s in the Sleep System? Triple layers of foam made from CertiPUR US-certified memory foam. The bed promotes even weight distribution for adaptive pressure relief. It uses Dual Phase Change technology for temperature regulation throughout the seasons. It comes with a toxin-free, allergy-proof, and waterproof mattress protector, as well as a cover that’s washable, stain-resistant, and OEKO-TEX certified.
No firmness level is indicated, but owners report that it’s soft on the surface. And then, as your child sinks a bit deeper, he or she can hit the soft memory foam before feeling the support of the high-density base foam. The mattress has an 8-inch low thickness profile, so it’s recommended for kids between 5 and 13. Teenagers may find this insufficient for their needs.
Now also available in queen, in addition to the twin and full sizes, it’s definitely a model customized for children. If yours grows tall quickly, you might find yourself looking at the largest Sleep System model to avoid replacing your mattress sooner than later. A queen bed set costs $949 (regular price).
2. Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Pressure Relief Mattress
With 15 years in the bedding business, Zinus has come up with multiple mattress collections. Its memory foam models are worth looking at if you like a good quality bed for an affordable price. The options are not specially designed for kids, but they give a great balance of soft surface and firm feel.
The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Pressure Relief Mattress sounds about right for children who have just hit puberty or have transitioned into the teenage stage. One thing to note about this model, and most Zinus models, is that it comes in several thickness options. A queen-sized bed can be 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches tall. That means you can pick the best size and weight combo for your child.
That also means firmness ranging from 5.9 to 6.6 (Queen). The starting materials for the 6-inch queen mattress are the top memory foam layer and high-density base foam layer. For the 8 and 10 inches, a core layer of pressure relief high-density foam is added. All 4 layers are enhanced by high-density support foam in between the pressure relief foam and base foam of the 12-inch version.
Also, Zinus infuses green tea with ActivCharcoal complex in the memory foam. Green tea is known for neutralizing odor, while ActivCharcoal is composed of moisture-absorbing, odor-removing purified charcoal particles. This model is based on the bed-in-a-box concept. A queen version retails at $156 to $344.
3. Nest Bedding BKB – Big Kid’s Bed
You’ve probably come across Nest Bedding when shopping for an adult mattress. The company carries brands like the Alexander Signature Select Mattresses. But you may not know it has an exclusive line for kids and young people. Well, here it is, the Nest Bedding BKB – Big Kid’s Bed. It’s a mattress that ships in a box, direct from the factory.
Two unique layers are found inside the BKB Mattress. First at the top is the 2.8-pound Energex foam that’s 2 inches thick. Energex features the well-loved elements of viscoelastic foam, conforming to the sleeper’s curves. But it responds faster than standard models. It recovers its shape as immediately as latex foam does.
This corresponds with the high-density edge support base foam that’s 5 inches thick. It’s this foundation that allows the bed to accommodate young to older kids. Once your child grows, his or her body will mold differently on the comfort/contouring layer. A durable, strong bottom layer makes the bed stable throughout those growing years.
A simple cover with non-chemical fire barrier material and the BKB logo serves as the finishing touch. Then, the mattress is compressed in a box and delivered to your doorstep. At 7 inches tall, this is a model made only for kids’ use. It’s ideal for back and stomach sleepers from all weight groups. But with a 7 to 7.5 firmness, it’s recommended for youngsters on the heavy side.
You can choose from twin, twin XL, and full sizes. It’s pretty affordable, too, at $499 for a full version.
4. Nectar Mattress
Nectar is relatively a new brand in the mattress industry. Yet, it has captured the attention of the online shopping market because of its irresistible perks: a 365-night trial period, free returns, a lifetime warranty, a bed in a box. The Nectar Mattress design definitely targets grownups, but it’s also a suitable candidate for growing children.
This all-foam mattress features 4 layers. Its quilted gel memory foam is in charge of loft and breathability. The second layer of memory foam contours and distributes body weight evenly and enhances cooling. This is followed by a recovery foam layer that’s highly adaptive, so your kid can feel the bounce, not the stuck-in-the-bed-please-send-help feel. The base layer is still made of foam, but it’s stable and conducive to airflow.
The cover is made of Tencel fabric which advances breathability. Being an all-foam model, Nectar isolates motion significantly. It’s actually great for siblings of average weight who share a bed. It’s got dust mite protection to keep your kids safe and sound (don’t let the bed bugs bite!). Plus, it fits any type of bed frame or foundation. Firmness is between 5.5 and 7.5 (universal comfort). You can buy a queen version for $799.
5. Signature Sleep Contour 10-Inch Reversible Independently Encased Coil Mattress
Signature Sleep is a division of Canadian company Dorel Home Products. It focuses on offering mattresses and other sleep products. Backed by 50+ years in the business, it has expanded its line of mattresses featuring multiple technologies. The independently encased coil is one of them.
The Signature Sleep Contour 10-Inch Reversible Independently Encased Coil Mattress is one of the models from this collection. The promoted coil system makes up the base, providing edge-to-edge support and increased durability. Encased/pocketed coils are also known for conducting airflow, allowing the mattress to breathe. A pressure relief memory foam lies above it. Then, a plush top layer and a cover using moisture-wicking fabric bring things home.
Further, the mattress is reversible. Designed to last for years, it can be flipped to even out the wear. It can even be a hand-me-down for your younger kids! The materials in this model are certified by CertiPUR US. It’s tested and found to be free from PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants, ozone depleters, mercury, formaldehyde, lead, and heavy metals. It’s low-emission and does not harm indoor environments.
Aside from great contouring and support, its other strengths are edge support and motion isolation. Solo sleepers and sharers alike can benefit from this bed. It comes in 3 thickness options: 8, 10, and 12 inches. And it’s available in Twin, Full, Queen, and King. Prices start at around $180. It’s budget-friendly and best for families who want to invest in a durable mattress for each kid.
6. Linenspa 10-Inch Hybrid Latex Mattress
Linenspa has been providing sleep products since 2003. Having years of experience does not always equate to expertise if you haven’t used that time to perfect the craft. Good thing Linenspa does not rest on its laurels. It started with mattresses, now it has lines of accessories to deliver a complete snooze experience.
The Linenspa Hybrid Latex Mattress is the second hybrid model on this list. We want you to have diverse options, but this one relates to serving siblings who share one bed. You can imagine the plush top and buoyant body to engage kids in a jumping spree. But will it stand other tests such as contouring, cooling, support, and motion isolation?
When it comes to response and bounce, the blend of latex and innerspring makes this one a top contender. Latex is known to conform to the body well while also recovering its shape fast. Sagging and sinking won’t be a problem for your tots. Individually encased coils make up the bottom layer. This coil system lends the bed its bouncy feel. Don’t worry, it’s sturdy enough to withstand the jumping.
The 10-inch profile has a universal comfort feel (medium-firm). Firmness preferences vary. But kids of average to heavyweight can use this mattress. It’s also great at reducing motion transfer. Prices start at $199.99. Our only regret is that the company does not mention certification of its foam materials. Perhaps Linenspa can take this into consideration and add more details to its product pages.
Know Before You Buy
Age & Size
There’s a period when boys and girls don’t seem so little anymore. Watch out for the growth spurt as the kids can easily outgrow their bed around this time. You would want to invest in a bed they can use until you send them off to college (hopefully!). Puberty usually starts early among girls, occurring between 8 and 13 years. With boys, it’s typically 9.5 to 14 years.
Do take note that changes in boys may come later, but they’re also more dramatic. Long limbs, some hair, and muscles, even a heavier build right before the growth spurt strikes. On average, little guys can grow 4 inches (10 cm) per year and end up 5 inches taller (13 cm) than girls. Genetics plays a key role in kids’ physical development. Your own childhood may provide a clue.
Related to this factor is the size of the child. During pre-adolescence, maybe until during middle school, you can fit them in a twin bed without worries. During puberty, you might want to consider a twin XL mattress. It’s never too early to buy a full one, of course, to leave enough room for a growth spurt or sharing with siblings.
Does your kid sleep with limbs spread like starfish? Tummy first, hands raised on either side of the head? For natural back sleepers, a firm bed can provide the support their spine needs. That feeling of being lifted, instead of sinking, is also ideal. Yet, if your child has an underlying condition, such as sleep apnea, lying flat on the back may worsen their symptoms, such as snoring.
How about side sleepers? Well, they need something that will cradle their neck, shoulders, and hips. A bed that lets the spine align naturally will also help a lot. Be careful about going too firm, as their body will bear the effects of pressure. Find something plush–i.e. the sink-in feel is present and undeniable–and move the slider from there.
Stomach sleepers can snooze comfortably on top of a medium to a medium firm mattress. Super soft will only make them feel like they’re stuck in the mud. A memory foam model that’s conforming and soft at the same time can leave the kids with body aches the next morning. They can sink too much, it hurts. Lastly, combo sleepers may need a bed that balances contouring and support.
Construction & Materials
The types that work for adults may also work for youngsters. Although, considering the sizes, the smaller ones (e.g. twin, twin XL, full) may have fewer layers compared to those contained in a queen, king, or Cal king. It is important, then, to know what goes into the creation of your child’s mattress. How thick is it? How many layers does it have? All that jazz.
Usually, the cooling and comfort foams are placed on top. They should be followed by another set of foams–more comfort layers boosted by the power of body contouring. Responsiveness and firmness are further determined at the core. At the base, a high-density foam layer or two are designed to reinforce support, enhance durability, and increase motion isolation and perimeter stability. In hybrids, polyfoam is replaced by pocketed or non-pocketed coils.
One more important thing: check the label. Brands and models are proud of their certifications. Their credibility rises when their materials are shown to have passed the tests and standards of third-party checkers.
- CertifPUR US – checks for chemicals that can hurt the ozone; chemicals that can harm people, such as mercury, lead, and formaldehyde; and phthalates that can harm people’s health
- GREENGUARD Gold – tests for low chemical emissions
- eco-INSTITUT – certifies natural latex content in products
- OEKO-TEX – usually applies to outer layers of mattresses, particularly the cover
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) – gives credence to products using organic textiles through stringent testing
- GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) – provides a seal of approval to brands declaring natural, organic latex as a material
You may or may not think of kids sleeping as akin to angels drifting off on clouds. This notion may lead to some parents or guardians buying a soft, bouncy bed. But just as adults have preferences, so do children. In other words, bring your kids with you when you shop. Or talk them through the firmness options available for their dream beds and ask them what they like.
This requires some understanding of the firmness scale on your end. We discuss this in every review we write, so we can recommend a few articles to you now:
Read our full review of the Sealy Mattress, which contains a brand-specific firmness level legend.
And for a quick summary, here are the ratings on the standard firmness scale used in the mattress industry.
1 is soft, 10 is firm
Ultra Soft – 1-2
Soft – 3-4
Medium – 5-6
Firm – 7-8
Ultra Firm – 9-10
Sometimes, brands use their own terms or understanding of users’ firmness preferences to determine the rating. This is okay. We also observed that the types and thickness of layers can cause some bed to feel plush to the touch but firm and supportive when laid on.
You may think: “So, how do I know now?” We advise you to use the legend above as your baseline. Then move the slider lower or higher based on what the reviews say.
There are 3 ways we can look at how support can affect a child’s sleep. First, of course, is the impact of the support/layers of the mattress. In our individual reviews earlier, we mentioned whether a bed is supportive enough of the spine, the lower back, shoulders, hips, etc.
For instance, some foams can be too soft/have a lot of giving that they tend to sink very closely to the bed base. This usually happens when they’re carrying sleepers on the heavy side. Clearly, there is a mismatch. But you can also think of support as perimeter support. Consider this well if you have a young child who rolls over to the edge during sleep.
The third kind of support is found at the base. The bottom or near-bottom layers are usually made of innerspring systems and/or high-density foam to accommodate the weight of sleepers. They are also heavy-duty so as to ensure the durability of the product. Sinkage is a common sign of a bed with a poor surface, edge, and base support.
Read our full review of the best online mattresses in 2020 for a variety of firmness levels to choose from.
Does your child sleep hot? You might want to avoid traditional memory foam options. From our examples earlier, your kid would fare better when they snooze in cooling memory foam. But if we’re conservative about this issue, we would recommend going straight for innerspring or hybrids. That’s because some owners report that gel-infused and such memory foam models still tend to sleep warm.
For hybrids, their thick foam layers at the top may cause some children to sleep warm. Choose one with thinner foam layers if your little one is prone to excessive sweating at night. It may also help to keep the kid’s room well-ventilated and the air-conditioning on at night. In some cases, you need to visit the doctor to check if perspiring profusely is a symptom of something else.
It can also be hyperhidrosis, which is treatable. Nevertheless, mattress composition has a big role to play in regulating skin temperature during sleep time.
Innerspring mattresses invite kids to jump on them. It’s kids being kids. However, as a parent, you’re probably more concerned about the danger posed by this activity. We can’t tell you how to parent your kid, but we can definitely say that some beds have good bounce, others don’t.
You don’t need to buy them a bouncy bed if you think that they’re not old enough to understand the consequences of falling over to the floor. But a latex or memory foam is your best bet when you just want to let the kids be without worrying about their safety.
Read our full review of the best firm mattresses in 2020.
Little off-gassing may occur when the bed is new. Compressed models tend to give off strong odors which can disappear in a few days. But when the smells stay, this can be a sign of bad construction or worse, unhealthy processing of the materials in your mattress.
If the off-gassing doesn’t go away, it can cause headaches, skin irritations, coughing, dizziness, and congestion. It can even lead to asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and forgetfulness. To avoid this kind of situation, look for CertiPUR US certification and/or OEKO-TEX Standard 100, class 1 certification in the label.
We hope we’ve made your decision-making easier by recommending 6 brands/models. And that the buying guide we shared has proved to be useful. Don’t hesitate to share this with your friends, family, and fellow parents. Also, let us know in the comments how we can enhance the experience of shopping mattresses for you.