Whether you’re redesigning your kid’s bedroom or simply looking to upgrade their mattress to something a little bigger, there are a few things to consider before you buy. Since the goal is for your child to use their mattress for several years, it’s important to choose a mattress that is high-quality, safe and comfortable. From mattress type to size to firmness, keep these considerations in mind when shopping for a new mattress for a child of any age.
Choosing the right size is the first thing to think about when picking out a kid’s mattress. If you’re shopping for a bed for a new baby, you might consider a convertible crib, which can be converted from a crib to a toddler bed and often to a twin headboard/footboard as your child grows. This will help you utilize your little one’s crib mattress for as long as possible, and save you the cost of buying a new bed frame for each stage.
Most toddlers are ready to transition from their crib to a “big kid bed” when they’re two or three years old. It’s a well-known fact that kids grow up fast, so you may wish to upgrade immediately to a twin XL or full mattress at this stage. Factors like the size of the bedroom and whether your child will be sharing a room with their sibling will help determine what kids mattress size is right for you.
While smaller mattresses, such as twin size, take up less floor space, your little one may outgrow them sooner; and though larger mattresses take up more room, they can accommodate older kids, teenagers and even adults. With luck—and if you choose a durable, high-quality mattress—your child can enjoy their mattress for years to come.
There are essentially three options when it comes to choosing a mattress type for your child: innerspring, memory foam and hybrid.
- Memory Foam: Memory foam mattresses are rising in popularity. They tend to be relatively inexpensive, they offer a reliable level of firmness for good spine support, and they don’t sag over time like spring coils might. For infants, an extra-firm foam mattress is an excellent choice from a safety standpoint, as firm mattresses reduce the risk of SIDS. A reversible mattress that features an extra-firm side for babies and a medium-firm side for toddlers is a great idea.
One potential downside of memory foam mattresses is that they don’t offer great edge support, so if your young child tends to sleep on the edge of the bed, you may want to add a bed rail to make sure they don’t fall off.
- Innerspring: Classic innerspring mattresses are common and generally quite durable, making them a good option for a kid’s bed. Their main benefit compared to memory foam is that a spring mattress features a reinforced edge lined with coils, meaning better edge support.
While coils—especially inexpensive open coils—can degrade and sag over time, it’s worth noting that this is less of an issue for a bed that only has to support the weight of a small child. As long as your child isn’t jumping on the bed, an innerspring mattress will likely last for years. Plus, if you invest in a pocketed coil mattress, which features individual coils, it will likely last longer and be more comfortable.
- Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses, as the name implies, are an innovative blend of memory foam and coil designs. They offer the benefits of each type of mattress, but can be more expensive.
The last thing to consider when shopping for the perfect kids mattress is the level of firmness your child needs in order to have a comfortable night’s sleep. Generally speaking, toddlers prefer the feeling of a firmer mattress (one that offers a similar level of support as their crib mattress), while older children usually like to sink into a plush or pillow-top mattress.
Mattress firmness is all about personal preference, but if your child is too young to express a preference, a medium-firm bed is a safe bet. If your kid tends to sleep on their stomach, a firm mattress will probably be more comfortable, while a softer mattress offers a little more “give” for side and back sleepers.
Finally, no matter what type of size of mattress you choose for your kid, there’s no doubt that a quality, waterproof mattress protector is a must. A mattress can be a big investment, and a mattress protector will ensure your child’s bed has a long life.