Best mattresses to help kids sleep in their own bedsby Simone Scully
A good night’s sleep is important for everyone, of course. But it’s particularly important for children. Not only does bad sleep make life more difficult for parents — hello temper tantrums — but poor sleep can also have a lasting impact on a kids’ long term health and well being. Studies have shown that kids who get enough sleep have better attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. In addition, for infants, unsafe sleep conditions can increase the risks of SIDS.
This means that for parents, choosing the right mattress for their little one is a very big deal. But how do you pick the right mattress for your child?
There are a few factors to consider:
To determine the right size mattress, you should consider your child’s age, size, and how long you plan to have them use the mattress. For newborns and infants sleeping in a crib, you’ll want to look at crib mattresses that fit snugly in your crib of choice, but once kids move into their “big kid beds,” you could get them a Twin, Twin XL, or Full mattress, depending on how long you plan for them to use this mattress.
Budget vs. Quality
Knowing how much you have to spend can narrow your search, but before you opt for the cheapest mattress you can find, make sure you’re considering quality too. Paying more upfront could save you money down the line because you won’t have to replace the mattress as often. After all, kids can be harder on mattresses than adults. (Think jumping on the bed, potty training accidents, and other mishaps) Plus, a cheap mattress might not be comfortable, leading to more late-night wake-ups.
Whatever mattress you choose, make sure it meets all the latest safety standards and, if you’re buying a crib mattress, that it has been certified as safe for infants.
This is especially important when you’re shopping for a newborn or young child. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a crib mattress should be firm — it should not indent when a baby rests on it.
If you plan to use your crib mattress as a toddler bed too, you might want to opt for a dual-firmness mattress: one side will be firm for infants, the other side will be softer for toddlers.
Once your child is over 18 months old, the firmness of a mattress is really a matter of preference, but you’ll still want to make sure that the mattress is designed for maximum spinal support and alignment.
This is obviously important if you live in a warm climate because no one likes waking up sweaty in the middle of the night. But breathability is also important for a baby’s safety because overheating can increase the risk of SIDS. When you’re looking for a crib for your little one, try to look for one that is breathable. Some mattresses also offer cooling technology.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. To make your search a little easier, we’ve rounded up our favorite mattresses for kids, which you can see below. One thing to note: we have focused our search on crib, twin, and full-sized mattresses only as these are the most common sizes for young kids. However, some of these mattress companies do offer larger mattress sizes as well.
Best for Babies and Toddlers
Image: newton baby The Good Breathable • No polyurethane foam, glue, adhesives or metal springs • Recyclable • Greenguard Gold Certified • 100% Washable The Bad Pricey The Bottom Line Breathable, washable, and comfy, this crib mattress is the perfect choice for parents looking for a safe option for their babies. 1. Newton Baby Crib Mattress Breathable, comfortable, and safe, Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress is a great all-around crib mattress that will last your little one until they’re ready for their big kid bed.
- Sizes: Standard Crib or Mini Crib
- Sleep Trial: 100 nights
$249.99 from Newton Baby We love the Newton Baby Crib Mattress because the core of this mattress is 90% free air and 10% food-grade polymer, making it a key winner if you’re looking for a breathable, temperature-controlled mattress for your baby. The wraparound fabric — featuring a cloud pattern and available in your choice of four colors — is breathable too and easy to unzip and remove for washing, though it’s worth noting that the whole mattress, not just the cover, is 100% washable so you’ll never have to worry about mold, bacteria, and allergens. You can also get it with a waterproof mattress cover if you’re worried about potty training time.
While the mattress is on the pricier side, especially for a crib mattress, it comes with a lot of perks: it contains no polyurethane foam, no adhesives or glue and no springs, making it non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and super comfy. It’s also recyclable, Greenguard gold certified, and verified by a CPSC accredited lab to reduce the risk of CO2 breathing and suffocation.
Reviewer Danielle L. writes:
“Worth every penny. My daughter LOVES this mattress. After a week of using it, she went from waking 1-2x a night to sleeping 12 straight hours!”
Best Budget Crib Mattress
Image: target The Good Affordable • Firm • Washable Cover • Water Resistant cover The Bad Best if unboxed 2 weeks before use The Bottom Line Safe, breathable, comfortable, and (best of all) affordable, this crib mattress is a great choice for parents on a budget. 2. Graco Deluxe Foam Crib and Toddler Bed Mattress This high-quality crib mattress in a box is a great, safe choice for parents on a budget.
- Sizes: Crib
- Sleep trial: None
$69.99 from Target Lightweight and breathable thanks to its foam core, the Graco Deluxe Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress is a solid choice for its price point. It is Greenguard Gold Certified and made of non-toxic materials and it’s backed by a 6-year limited warranty, so parents can rest easy knowing it’s a safe choice for their little one. Parents will appreciate that the mattress comes with a water-resistant, removable cover that is machine-washable too.
Target reviewer Frugal_Mommy2 writes:
“We purchased this mattress almost 4 years ago and just this month our toddler grew out of it. It’s definitely a comfortable medium firm and good thickness for little ones… It’s gone through a lot the last 2 years with potty training and still in great shape, plus it’s easy to clean. I totally recommend it to friends who are expecting their 1st baby as it’s a fantastic price, has a decent warranty and quality is great.”
It does come rolled up in a box and expands once you unpack it. This means that for optimal use, it’s best to unroll it at least two weeks before the baby uses it for the first time. That way it will have time to expand properly and adjust to the nursery’s temperature.
Best First Big Kid Bed Mattress
Image: nest bedding The Good Affordable • Non-toxic • Lifetime warranty • Works well with bunk beds The Bad On the thinner side • Best for sleepers under 120 lbs The Bottom Line While thinner than adult mattresses, this high quality mattress is designed specifically to keep little sleepers comfortable. 3. Nest BKB (Big Kid's Bed) This mattress is designed specifically to keep little sleepers comfortable.
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
- Sleep trial: 100 nights
$299 from Nest Bedding Transitioning from a toddler bed to a “big kid bed” is a huge milestone. That’s why that first bed deserves a good, comfortable mattress and Nest was the first online company to make a bed-in-a-box model specifically designed with kids in mind.
Only 7 inches thick, it’s thinner than an adult mattress, but it’s also more affordable than most adult mattresses and it doesn’t skimp on the quality. Plus, the narrower width makes it a good choice for bunk beds. The multi-layer memory foam mattress is designed to be responsive while conforming to little kid bodies, helping relieve pressure points. It’s also built to last and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Nest reviewer Heather W. writes:
“Perfect for my four year old. This mattress fit the loft we bought for my son like it was made for it. If he falls asleep in there, he’s out for the night. Comfortable for me to lay on it too.”
And another reviewer, Gladys A. writes:
“Went straight to this for my toddler from her crib and it’s absolutely heavenly. She loves it — sleeps great in it. When my husband and I lay in there with her for story time it makes us doze off almost because it’s so comfortable! We made the perfect decision in getting this."
Best For Growing Kids
Image: Saatva The Good Hypoallergenic cotton cover • Water-resistant • Dual sided to grow with kids • Eco-friendly materials The Bad The Bottom Line As a dual-sided innerspring mattress, this mattress is the ideal “big kid bed” because it adapts to kids’ needs as they grow. 4. Saatva Youth Mattress This mattress adapts as children grow, making it the perfect “big kid bed” mattress choice.
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
- Sleep trial: 120 Nights
$699 from Saatva Saatva’s Youth Mattress is a high-quality, luxury hybrid support mattress that ships free to your home. As a dual-sided innerspring mattress, it adapts to your growing kid. One side is softer and designed for smaller kids ages 3-7 and the other side is slightly firmer, thanks to denser foam, to offer more support to children ages 8-12.
The mattress is covered in organic, hypoallergenic, and antimicrobial cotton and it has a water-resistant finish to help protect the mattress core from accidents during potty training time. It is also made with CertiPUR-US certified foam, though because of its inner spring, it’s good for kids who sleep in all different positions, whether that's on their backs, sides, or stomachs.
The Saatva’s Youth Mattress comes with a 15-year warranty and a 120 day trial, though if you decide to return it, you will have to pay a $99 return fee.
Best Value Mattress
Image: nectar The Good Year-long home trial • Cooling • Affordable Price • Forever Warranty • Free returns • Breathable The Bad You have to set it up yourself The Bottom Line For a breathable, comfortable, and affordable mattress that ships right to your home, you can’t find better. 5. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress The Nectar is breathable, affordable, and comes with a year-long trial period.
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full (and more)
- Sleep trial: 365 Nights
$499 from Nectar Nectar is a popular mattress brand for a reason: With 5-layer foam construction and a tencel long staple fiber removable cooling cover, the mattress is built to keep you cool and comfortable all night long. It’s also incredibly comfortable as a medium-firm memory foam mattress and it is designed to minimize motion transfer. It comes with a cover designed to keep out dust mites, as well as a 365-night trial period. Best of all: it does this for a pretty affordable price.
Nectar reviewer Alyssa C. writes:
“Got this mattress for our daughter with the cover and it’s great! Very comfortable for us if we fall asleep with her and the cover has been great for preventing any accidents from ruining the mattress.”
Best Eco-Friendly Choice
Image: The Good Certified organic • Vegan option • Good for back and stomach sleepers • Firm and comfortable The Bad Pricey • Firmness is not as good for side-sleepers The Bottom Line Whether you’re looking for a crib mattress or a twin, Avocado offers comfortable, organic (and even vegan) mattresses to help your little one get a great night's sleep. 6. Avocado Mattress If you’re looking for something organic or vegan, Avocado mattresses are the ones for you.
- Sizes: Crib, Twin, Twin XL, Full (and more)
- Sleep trial: 100 Nights
$299 from Avocado Green Mattress If you’re looking for an eco-friendly (or even vegan) mattress for your little ones, then Avocado is a great place to shop. They offer two organic crib mattresses for baby, as well as Twin, Twin XL, or Full green or vegan mattress for older kiddos, both of which feature the option to add a permanently attached pillow-top with two additional inches of plush organic latex for an extra $300 dollars.
All the mattresses, except their vegan one, are made of organic latex, organic cotton, pocketed support coils, and organic wool. (The Avocado vegan mattress replaces the wool with cotton). The crib mattresses also feature dual-sided designs — one for infants and one for toddlers. And none of them use any polyester, polyurethane foams, or toxic fire retardants.
Reviewer Erin L. writes about the crib mattress:
“This mattress was purchased for our first baby. The mattress is so soft!”
And reviewer Sara D. writes:
“We love that it is all natural, no nasty chemical smell and that it is super comfy!”
Best Cooling Mattress
Image: Tuft & Needle The Good Cooling • Free returns • 10 Year Warranty • CertiPUR-US certified The Bad Spot clean only • No removable cover The Bottom Line Thanks to open cell foam with added graphite and cooling gel, this mattress will keep your child comfy and cool all night long. 7. Tuft & Needle Original Mattress Made of two layers of open-cell foam with added graphite and cooling gel, T&N’s original mattress is a great cooling mattress for your child.
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full (and more)
- Sleep trial: 100 Nights
$315 from Tuft & Needle If you live in a warm climate, you know how important a cooling mattress is so your child doesn’t wake up sweaty (and smelly). That’s why we love the T&N Original Mattress. Its core is made of two layers of open-cell foam to keep the mattress breathable and the foam has added graphite and cooling gel to help absorb and wick away body heat and moisture.
In addition, the mattress is durable and firm to keep your little one’s spine supported and weight evenly distributed for a comfortable sleep. The foam also means that the mattress is comfortable for back, side, or tummy sleepers — a perk since kids sleeping patterns have a tendency to change as they grow.
T&N reviewer Derin writes:
“Got this for my 7 yo son. The mattress feels soft and firm at the same time! Hugs and supports the body! Love it!”