Best Pillows for Kids of 2023 - Toddler to Teen

By Sheryl Grassie

Apr 24th, 2023

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From that first toddler pillow to a full-sized adult version, children depend on their pillow to make them comfortable and help stay relaxed and asleep. But children aren’t adults, and their proportions are different. You might just assume they can transition from a crib with no pillow to a bed with an adult pillow, but not necessarily. The biggest concern is misalignment of the shoulders, neck, and head that can result in poor sleep and poor posture as they are still growing.

The best pillows help keep our spines aligned while we sleep and thus our blood flow even, our breathing regulated, and our spinal nerves free from pinching. For this to be the case with little ones, the pillow needs to be proportionate.

Best Pillows for Kids: Our Top Picks

Lagoon The Fox Pillow

Lagoon Fox Pillow

Best Overall Pillow for Kids

  • Price: $119.99 queen, $139.99 king
  • Size: 20″ x 30″ queen, 20″ x 36″ king
  • Rating: 4.7/5, 41 reviews

For tweens and teens looking to upgrade their sleep experience, Lagoon’s best-selling Fox pillow has a lot to offer. It’s fully adjustable, with pieces of shredded memory foam so that you can add and subtract until the height and firmness are just right. This versatility makes it a great choice for any sleeping position.


The Fox pillow is also designed for breathability, thanks in part to a bamboo/polyester cover. If your young sleeper has allergies or sensitive skin, you’ll be happy to note that the Fox is both hypoallergenic and made with eco-friendly materials.


Read our full Lagoon Fox Pillow review.



  • Cover, fill, and liner are machine-washable
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 5-year warranty


  • Free shipping available only for the contiguous U.S.
  • Prices over $100
TEMPUR-Cloud® Pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Best Memory Foam Pillow for Kids

  • Price: $89
  • Size: 24″ x 15¾”
  • Rating: 4.5/5, 5,850 reviews

The signature feature of this Tempur-Pedic pillow is the company’s version of memory foam, called Tempur Material. The TEMPUR-Cloud’s block of extra-soft foam is designed to contour to the shape of the sleeper’s head and neck while providing great pressure relief.


The TEMPUR-Cloud fits standard or queen-size pillowcases, and its low profile (5″) matches up best with back sleepers and stomach sleepers. It’s also easily compressed for travel, so your young sleeper can take it along on vacations and sleepovers. The polyester knit cover is hypoallergenic and machine-washable (cold wash and cool dry settings recommended).


Read our full Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow review.



  • Price below $100
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Hypoallergenic cover


  • Side sleepers might need higher loft
  • Tempur Material foam isn’t machine-washable
Nest Easy Breather Pillow

Nest Easy Breather Pillow

Best Cooling Pillow for Kids

  • Price: $107 – $131
  • Sizes: Standard, queen, king, and side sleeper
  • Rating: 4.5/5, 14,755 reviews

Nest’s Easy Breather Pillow is built to sleep cool, inside and out. The cover material uses Nest’s proprietary Icecore cooling fabric, designed to disperse body heat. The shredded memory foam filler promotes good airflow, and the inner pouch that holds the foam is breathable 100% cotton. It’s a great choice for hot sleepers of any age.


The Nest Easy Breather Pillow is available in four sizes, but we recommend the Standard (24″ x 16″) for children. Remember, your child can add or remove foam shreds until the pillow meets their preferences for height and firmness.


Read our full Nest Easy Breather Pillow review.



  • 30-night sleep trial
  • 2-year warranty
  • Uses CertiPUR-US certified foam


  • Price over $100
  • Foam filler isn’t machine-washable
Nolah Squishy Pillow

Nolah Squishy Pillow

Best Bamboo Pillow for Kids

  • Price: $198 for 2-pack
  • Size: Queen (18″ x 24″)
  • Rating: 4.8/5

The Nolah Squishy Pillow is a prime example of harnessing the natural qualities of bamboo to deliver a cooler and cleaner sleep experience—for adults and kids alike. The cover is made of a bamboo blend fabric that offers the breathability and hypoallergenic properties of bamboo fibers, helping the Squishy pillow protect against both night sweats and allergic reactions.


Plus, you can remove or add pieces of the shredded foam filler to customize firmness and height, which means it’s also adjustable for different sleeping positions (high loft for side sleepers, low loft for back sleepers and stomach sleepers).



  • Breathable, hypoallergenic cover
  • Adjustable height and firmness
  • Oeko-Tex certified


  • Available only in queen size
  • Sold only in 2-packs
My Little North Star Toddler Pillow

My Little North Star Toddler Pillow

Best Pillow for Toddlers

  • Price: $24.97
  • Size: 18″ x 13″
  • Rating: 4.6/5, 2,946reviews

The My Little North Star Toddler Pillow, has a 100% organic cotton cover. The filling is made from shredded polyester, but it is hypoallergenic and free of all toxic chemicals including flame retardants, mold and mildew chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides.


If there is ever a time to get a non-toxic pillow, it is when your child is young to help keep them healthy. This pillow does a wonderful job of eliminating chemicals commonly used in pillows.


The My Little North Star is recommended for ages 2-5, is very soft and supportive, and ergonomic. It is easy to take for overnights or on extended travel. Machine wash and dry.



  • Price below $25, pillowcase included
  • Mold, mildew, and dust mite resistant
  • 5-year warranty


  • Not recommended for children under 2 years of age
  • Polyester filling isn’t organic

Why Do Kids Need a Good Pillow?

As your child grows, there will come a time when they will need a pillow to remain comfortable through the night. Finding the right pillow will ensure both your little one — and you — sleep well through the night.

The best pillows for kids should be soft enough to be comfortable yet firm enough to provide optimal support for your little one’s developing body, says Kim West, a.k.a. The Sleep Lady, and author of “Good Night, Sleep Tight.”

Do size and support really matter? Absolutely. A regular size pillow is designed to support the head and neck of adults. Children’s bodies are proportioned differently. Sleeping with a regular pillow may put unnecessary strain on their necks and shoulders, disrupting their sleep and leading to discomfort and poor posture when they’re awake. Smaller pillows also help young children learn to toss and turn less at night in order to keep their heads on the pillow.

The bottom line — a comfortable pillow is key to your child getting a good night’s sleep, so they wake refreshed for the day ahead.

When Should Kids Start Sleeping with a Pillow?

Just like moving out of the crib or toilet training, you can plan the timing of changes in your child’s life or wait and take your cues from them. There is no exact time to introduce a pillow; however, the average age is around 18 months. Babies should not use a pillow; toddlers can go either way, but by the age of 2 or 3 they need one for good sleep.

Related: Best mattress for kids

There are circumstances and preferences that might push your timeline in one direction or another, like needing to prevent flat head syndrome, which could necessitate a crib pillow or noticing your child always bunches something and puts in under their head for sleep. If you have a particularly verbal child, they may tell you directly that they want or don’t want a pillow for sleep.

At whatever age you introduce a pillow, it is good to start thinking about what material is best for your child. Do they want a fluffy down pillow, a cradling memory foam pillow, or a structured cotton pillow? Pillows are generally made from only a few different materials that have their pros and cons. Below is a list of common pillow fillings and things to consider.

Pillow Materials Pros Cons
Feathers & Down
  • Soft and pliable
  • Organic and natural
  • Easy to wash
  • Can be an allergy trigger
  • Too soft for some and not enough support
  • Can be expensive
Buckwheat Hulls
  • Crunchy texture kids really like
  • Good sensory input
  • Holds shape and won’t flatten
  • Natural and organic
  • Good airflow and sleeps cool
  • Can be a choking hazard if pillow breaks open
  • More expensive
  • Not washer friendly
Memory Foam
  • Molds to the shape of your child’s head for great support
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Won’t flatten
  • Long lasting
  • Can be hot
  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t bend easily
  • Toxic off gassing
  • Only spot cleaning
  • Natural and organic
  • Sustainable crop – rubber trees
  • Long lasting
  • Naturally fire retardant
  • Mold and offers firm support
  • More expensive
Synthetic Fill
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Easy care washing
  • Can get lumpy
  • Short lifespan
  • Not very malleable or supportive
  • Can contain toxic chemicals
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Natural and organic
  • Washable
  • Low profile and firm
  • More expensive
  • Can become hard
  • Holds moisture and needs an extended dry time
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cool in summer, warm in winter
  • Organic and natural
  • Good airflow for moisture
  • Flattens over time
  • No natural buoyancy

How to Choose the Best Pillow for Kids

There are several factors to consider when choosing a pillow for your child: 

  • Material: Pillows are made with a variety of materials including memory foam, synthetic filling, down, latex, cotton, and even buckwheat hulls. Consider the pros and cons from our list to determine the best options for your child.
  • Safety: Pillows can pose suffocation hazards for toddlers if they are not developmentally ready for one. Be sure your child is at least 2 years of age before you introduce a pillow for sleeping. 
  • Durability: You’ll want your toddler’s pillow to last. Be sure your toddler’s pillow is made with quality materials that can stand the test of time. 
  • Easy to clean: Your toddler’s pillow cradles your sweet one’s head, but it is exposed to a bunch of unpleasantness like saliva and sweat. You’ll want to keep your child safe from bacteria and illness-causing germs by regularly washing their pillow. Pillows that are machine washable are much lower maintenance than ones that require hand-washing or other special care. 
  • Compatibility with sleeping position: Your child may toss and turn a lot, but generally, children fall a specific sleeping position. If they settle in as a side sleeper (as most adults do), a thicker pillow will help keep their spines aligned. Stomach and back sleepers fare better with a flatter pillow. Combination sleepers do best with a pillow they can scrunch into different heights. 
  • Size: Standard size pillows are designed for adults. But children have different proportions. Toddler pillows are designed especially for little ones. They’re smaller (13” x 18”) and have a lower loft than standard pillows.
  • Special features: (cooling, hypoallergenic, easy for travel, etc.) Many pillows offer added features for specific needs. For example, some have cooling technology for hot sleepers, hypoallergenic materials for sensitive sleepers, or tension-relieving qualities for those who need extra relaxation at night. 


What is the best pillow for a 4-year-old? 

Toddler sized pillows (13” x 18”) are best for children ages 2 and 3. By age 4, your child can transition to a child pillow (16” x 22”), which is slightly larger than a toddler pillow. If you cannot find a child pillow, stick with the toddler pillow.

What is the best pillow for a 5-year-old? 

By age 5, you can begin to transition your child to a youth pillow (18” x 24”), which is slightly smaller than a standard pillow. If you cannot find a youth pillow and are not using a youth pillow, you can size up to a standard pillow (20” x 24”).

What age should a child have a pillow?

The best age to introduce a pillow to your child is between 2 and 3, when they are transitioning from a crib to a “big kid” bed. 

What is the difference between a toddler pillow and a regular pillow? 

Toddler pillows are 13 inches by 18 inches and designed to fit the smaller proportions of a developing toddler’s body. Regular pillows (also called standard pillows) are designed for adults and are 20 inches by 26 inches.

Recap: Our Best Pillows for Kids

Compare the best pillows for kids below:

Pillow Award Customer Rating
Lagoon Fox Pillow Best Overall 4.7/5
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Best Memory Foam Pillow 4.5/5
Nest Easy Breather Pillow Best Cooling Pillow 4.5/5
Nolah Squishy Pillow Best Bamboo Pillow 4.8/5
My Little North Star Toddler Pillow Best Pillow for Toddlers 4.6/5

Pillows are an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. Kids don’t generally start using one until around 18 months and sometimes later. There are numerous materials that pillows are made from, so let your little one help decide what is most comfortable for them. Also consider something with a non-toxic certification to insure a healthy sleep environment for your child.