Mattress Guides

Best Mattress for Kids (2018 Update)

By Jennifer Urania

Shopping for a mattress for your kids can feel more overwhelming—and more important—than you might have thought. On one hand, you want to ensure your child has a mattress that affords them the best sleep possible, so they wake up rested, refreshed, and ready to learn and grow.

On the other hand, kids are smaller and lighter than the average adult, so what kind of support, materials, and (let’s be frank) price is appropriate? Does your child even know if he or she is a back, side, or stomach sleeper? And how long is this mattress expected to last?

In this guide, we’ll give a rundown of the top factors that will help you choose the most comfortable, durable mattress at the best value for your child. Then, we’ll reveal our top mattress picks for kids.

Factors to consider when buying a mattress for a child

MATTRESS SIZE

When buying a mattress for a growing child, size is an important factor. And since a high-quality mattress can last from 8-12 years, you want to feel you’re making a lasting choice. Twin, twin XL, or full-size mattresses are typically the best choices for children.

The age of the child you’re purchasing for plays the greatest role in this decision. If you’re buying a 2-year-old child her first post-crib bed, for example, a twin mattress might feel more appropriate than it would if you were buying it for a 13-year-old who might move it into her first post-collegiate apartment.

Parents usually choose a twin mattress for younger children, as they’re a great fit for smaller bodies and are undeniably the most affordable option. Most children will not outgrow a twin mattress until they are into their teen years. Twin XL mattresses add a few extra inches in length, and since it’s the reigning mattress size of college dorm beds everywhere, your child would already be familiar with the fit. Keep in mind, however, that twin XL mattresses need twin XL sheets—regular twin sheets will not fit this size mattress.

If space and budget allow, consider a full-size mattress. It can make cuddling in bed with your child even more comfortable, and although it’s more expensive, it may take your child all the way to adulthood. Additionally, if you’re shopping for a toddler’s first bed, and have a “convertible” crib that converts to a full-size headboard and footboard, purchasing a full-size mattress makes sense.

MATTRESS SUPPORT AND COMFORT

Adults can get cranky when they don’t sleep well, and (as you’ve probably already noticed) so can kids. If your kid’s bed doesn’t feel comfortable, he or she won’t get the necessary, quality sleep―and the benefits of quality sleep are seen in better school performance, happier mood level, and a ton of other factors. It’s been proven in studies that sleep deprivation is directly related to decreased academic performance, even in children as young as 7 years old.

Additionally, poor sleep can contribute to other negative outcomes, including hyperactivity, over-emotionality, tantrums, and clumsiness. Clearly, a good night’s sleep is as paramount for children as it is for adults.

In a mattress, comfort and support work together to provide that foundation for a good night’s sleep. A supportive mattress is one that properly aligns your spine while you sleep (especially important to ensure your child’s optimal health and growth), and a comfortable mattress is one with an overall firmness and feel that allows you to relax and feel good. We look for mattresses that check the box on both of these things.

Including your kids in the process

As you look for the best mattress for your child, involve them in the process as well. Ask them, for example, if they like the way your bed feels, or about the feel in any other bed (at a grandparent’s, or a hotel) that they’ve slept in. Be sure that they use only one pillow so that their necks stay in alignment. And if your child already has a preferred sleeping position, let that guide you as well.

For example, stomach sleepers will feel swallowed up in a softer mattress, while side sleepers may find a very firm mattress is uncomfortable on pressure points. If your child does experience uncomfortable pressure around their legs while sleeping, let him or her know that drawing the legs up next to them while they sleep can make it feel better. Remember that each child is different, and to explore those different needs.

ALLERGIES AND OFF-GASSING

Studies have shown that dust mites in mattresses can trigger allergy symptoms, so if your child has allergies, there are additional things you should look for in a mattress. A mattress made with natural products, such as natural latex, is a great place to start—it’s difficult for bacteria and mold to grow on these types of products, and they can get rid of dust mites naturally.

As for that “new mattress smell,” it’s a common concern for both adult and younger mattress buyers. The smell, a chemical off-gassing, comes from the volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, contained in some of the mattress components and can cause headaches. It’s an especially common component in memory foam, but you may also recognize it from freshly-painted rooms or brand-new cars.

If you or your child is sensitive to this smell, a mattress containing products that are CertiPUR-US certified is your best bet. These mattresses will still have a low level of off-gassing, but will typically release all their VOCs within a few days. For best results, open the mattress in a well-ventilated room and let it fully expand a day or two before letting your child sleep on it.

PRICE

You may think to yourself, “Do I need to spend as much on a mattress for my child as I do for myself?” Our answer: much as you would with your own mattress, you’ll need to spend a little more for a higher-quality product with components that will stand the test of time. Does this mean you’ll be spending $500 or more for it? Not necessarily. We’ve provided reviews of mattresses that cover a range of price points. Luckily, a smaller size mattress costs less than one you might buy for yourself. And if you consider how important a good mattress is to your kid’s overall health, you’ll find it’s worth the investment.


The best mattresses for kids at a glance

Below we’ve highlighted our top mattress picks for kids. If you want to read more about a particular mattress brand, we’ve got you covered in the next section.

Every child is different, with his or her own needs, and each parent is considering different price brackets for the best mattress possible. So take a look at things like the materials, rating, reviews, and price to help you decide. The “best choice” is the one that makes sense for your family.

And remember—seeing (and feeling) is believing. That’s why we’re only reviewing mattresses here that have a trial period of at least 100 nights. And free returns, since hassles are a pain in the neck (and you probably already have enough of that).

The best mattresses for kids: 

  1. The BKB (My Big Kid’s Bed) by Nest (Editor’s Pick)
  2. Casper Essential
  3. Bear
  4. Solay

1. The BKB (My Big Kid’s Bed) by Nest

The BKB

Editor's Pick
  • The BKB mattress is specially made for kids and young people up to 120 lbs and 15 years of age (not recommended for adults).
  • The top layer of Energex foam delivers the best characteristics of latex and memory foam—great response, kid-friendly bounce, and cooling, while still delivering that cozy “hug” feel.
  • Its low-profile, 7” height means it works great atop a trundle bed as well.

Our daughter is 2.5 and loves her big kid bed!"

Lloyd R.
Customer Rating
4.9 / 5
MA Score
/ 10
Firmness

2.5-3 out of 10

Trial Period

100 days

Word on the street

  • “Our daughter is 2.5 and loves her big kid bed! We often lay down beside her at night and end up falling asleep beside her because it is really comfortable.” -Lloyd R.
  • “We bought this bed for our 3-year-old after deciding to skip to the to skip a toddler bed. Almost went with a cheaper option on Amazon but happy we didn’t. This one had no strong chemical-like smells. Firm enough for a little body but still really comfortable.” -Brittney D.
  • “My son has ADHD and has always had trouble falling asleep as well as staying asleep. He always complained about his mattresses (too soft, too hard, too lumpy, etc…) but he LOVES his BKB! The first night he slept on it he fell right to sleep and slept an hour longer than usual! When he woke up he said it was the most comfortable bed he had ever slept on. As a mom, that just thrilled me! He has had it about 6 months now and is still sleeping better and longer, he still loves his BKB!” -Cindy F.

The 411

  • BKB Sizes for Kids:
    • Twin
    • Twin XL
    • Full
  • Delivery: Mattress ships free within the US, and typically arrives within 7 days.
  • Setup: The BKB mattress comes compressed and rolled in a box. You will simply unbox the mattress, unroll it on your foundation, and wait for it to expand.
  • Foundation: This mattress works on a boxspring, bunkie board, platform, floor, or even on a bunk bed.
  • Return policy: The BKB Kids bed carries a 100-night comfort guarantee. Returns are for comfort issues only during the initial 100 nights trial period. Refund will be issued upon receipt of mattress donation or pickup by a local charity; if there is no donation center in your area, nest bedding will pick up the mattress at no expense to you, and refund you your original purchase price. Stains on the mattress will void the return privilege.
See best price for the BKB

Read our full BKB review here


2. Casper Essential

Casper Essential

  • Casper’s streamlined, budget-friendly mattress.
  • Made with 3 different foam layers – the first two are borrowed from Casper’s signature model.
  • Provides a comfortable sleeping surface at a reasonable price point.

We bought this for our young son and we all fight over who gets to lay with him."

Lilly
Customer Rating
4.4 / 5
MA Score
8.4 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

100 days

Word on the street

  • “Unboxing was super easy. Impressed at how well it was packed and how quickly it arrived. Bed was for my 4 yr old and she is sleeping great. I’m jealous of her bed, in fact! It’s super soft and comfy.” – Nikki
  • “We bought this for our daughter’s room for a twin bed and it came perfectly intact and was a great addition to the room. It’s so comfortable and we are thinking of buying on for our room!” – Amanda
  • “An amazing mattress. We bought this for our young son, and his two older brothers, my husband, and I all fight over who gets to lay with him in bed because we all love it. Hard to imagine how much better their other lines can be, because their basic “Essential” model is better than anything I’ve ever slept on.” – Lily

The 411

  • Casper Essential Sizes for Kids:
    • Twin
    • Twin XL
    • Full
  • Delivery: The mattress ships free and should arrive at your doorstep within 2-7 business days of ordering. White Glove Delivery is available nationwide for $100*.
  • Setup: The Casper Essential comes compressed and rolled in a box. You will simply unbox the mattress, unroll it on your foundation, and wait for it to expand.
  • Foundation: The Casper Essential can be used with a slatted foundation (with slats less than 4” apart), a platform bed, or an adjustable base.
  • Return policy: If you decide the Casper Essential is not for you within the 100-day trial period, Casper will remove the mattress from your home and donate it to a local charity at no cost.
See best price for the Casper Essential

Read our full Casper Essential review here


3. Bear

Bear

  • The Bear mattress provides comfort, support, and is known to aid in muscle recovery—and since muscle pain can cause kids to lose valuable sleep, you really want your kid to have a bed that helps him or her feel good.
  • Celliant technology woven into the cover helps the body efficiently process the buildup of lactic acid that leads to aches and pains for active kids.

Our athlete daughter is finally on her way to recovery with the help of the Bear."

Jim B.
Customer Rating
4.8 / 5
MA Score
8.6 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

100 days

Word on the street

  • “After months of back problems and insomnia, our athlete daughter is finally on her way to recovery with the help of the Bear. We tried out and researched several kinds of mattresses before pulling the trigger with Bear. From the very first night, she slept 10 hours straight, something she has not done in years! The advertising is not false and we are so thrilled with the results. We will be purchasing one for our son in the near future.” – Jim B.
  • “We bought one for us and our two boys. Best mattresses we’ve bought!” -Alex C.
  • “I initially purchased the Bear Mattress, because it was listed as the number 2 for best mattresses for athletes. I had previously owned a Tempur-pedic and I was happy with my purchase at first then the Tempur started giving me back problems. I was also not getting the rest I needed to recover. After purchasing this mattress and trying it for a few days I noticed I’d fall asleep faster!” -Aurora P.

The 411

  • Bear Sizes for Kids:
    • Twin
    • Twin XL
    • Full
  • Delivery: Estimated delivery in 4-7 business days. Free shipping to the lower 48 states, but a charge for products shipped to Hawaii and Alaska. Canadian customers can visit www.bearmattress.ca.
  • Setup: The Bear mattress comes compressed and rolled in a box. You will simply unbox the mattress, unroll it on your foundation, and wait for it to expand.
  • Foundation: Bear offers a heavy-duty, easy-assembly BearFrame ($150 for twin; $185 for full) and a solid-wood slatted BearFoundation ($225 for twin or twin XL; $250 for full). You can also use your Bear on a platform bed, adjustable bed, bunkie board, or the floor.
  • Return policy: Bear Mattress asks that you try it for 30 nights before requesting a return and a full refund. Returns are accepted between 30 and 100 nights of owning the mattress. Bear will arrange to pick up your mattress, with no restocking or process fees. Mattresses are typically removed to a local charitable organization, rather than hauled away to a landfill.
See best price for the Bear

Read our full Bear review here


4. Solay

Solay

  • The Solay is a 5-layer hybrid mattress made of foam and individually wrapped spring coils.
  • The Solay boasts superior temperature control, motion isolation, and edge support.
  • For every mattress sold, Solay donates one bed and one box spring a child in need through their partnership with Charlotte, NC-based non-profit, Beds for Kids.

We have it for my daughter, and she’s been sleeping so well."

Kristina W.
Customer Rating
4.9 / 5
MA Score
8.9 / 10
Firmness

Medium-firm

Trial Period

101 days

Word on the street

  • “Love this mattress. We have it for my daughter, and she’s been sleeping so well. I definitely need one for us next!” – Kristina W.
  • “It is firm but not to firm. I have been sleeping on it for about 2 weeks and haven’t woken up once in the middle of the night due to discomfort.” – Chris C.

The 411

  • Solay Sizes for Kids:
    • Twin
    • Twin XL
    • Full
  • Delivery: The Solay mattress ships free and should arrive at your doorstep within 3-7 business days.
  • Setup: The Solay mattress comes compressed and rolled up on a box. You will simply unbox the mattress and place the roll at the end of your bed frame, remove the vacuum-sealed packaging and watch it spring to life.
  • Foundation: Your Solay can be used on most traditional mattress foundations, like box springs, platform bed frames, slatted frames and adjustable bases.
  • Return policy: If you’re not happy with your Solay mattress, you can return it for a full refund within your 101-night trial period. Solay will arrange for a representative to come to your home to pick up your mattress and donate it to a local charity.
See best price for the Solay

Read our full Solay review here

Best Mattresses for Kids (Runners-Up)


Your kids deserve to get the best night’s sleep that their new mattress can provide. A good mattress that suits your kid’s needs gives them the best shot at a good night’s sleep possible—and gives you solid peace of mind.

If you have any questions about any of our picks or other mattresses, drop us a line. We’ll do our best to answer your questions.

By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.

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