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Sleep is extremely important for young children. They experience tremendous development early in life that impacts their body, brain, behavior, and emotions. It also sets them up for their continued growth up through and into their adolescence.

Therefore, it's normal for parents to want to ensure their kids are getting the quality sleep they require. And, one of the best ways of doing this is ensuring they're sleeping on the best mattress that's ideal for children.

Why Quality Sleep Is Important in Children

While all people benefit from getting quality sleep, kids in particular rely on sleep to fuel their learning and rapid growth. Children are constantly learning and growing throughout their baby years and childhood. Their patterns of sleep play a significant role in their development, too.

Kids tend to require more sleep than adults too. Young kids between three and five, typically need around 10 to 13 hours of sleep each night, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Kids between six and 12 years old require around nine to 12 hours of sleep each night regularly to promote optimal health.

How the Best Mattress for Kids Can Help With Sleep

Choosing the best mattress can help your child obtain a great night's sleep, and sleep more comfortably. A lot of the same mattress considerations that affect decisions for adult mattresses could play a role in deciding which mattress is ideal for your child. And, there are various factors to consider like firmness, durability, comfort, support, and more that could influence your choice in mattress.

Also, kids shouldn't be sleeping on a mattress containing harsh synthetic chemicals. Being exposed to certain types of chemicals could be detrimental for physical and brain development.

Important Features in Children's Mattresses

Some essential features to look into when choosing your child's mattress are:

  1. Size

A single sized mattress, known as a twin mattress, is the most popular mattress size for a kid's bed. Children are small, so they wouldn't need a bigger bed. Also, twin-sized mattresses leave more space in your child's room for them to:

  • Store books and toys
  • Play
  • Pursue hobbies, like music or crafts
  • Have a desk for coloring, doing puzzles, or performing school work

Of course, it's ultimately up to you, the parent, which mattress size you want to go with. Some kids show interest in bigger sized beds, but usually they are not realizing the amount of floor space a bigger bed would take up in their room.

  1. Firmness

A good mattress for kids should be one that's firm enough for providing adequate support for their joints and spine. Choosing an extra soft mattress would be a mistake for a growing child. While the mattress should be comfortable, it should be sufficiently firm.

  1. No Off-gassing

When you bring a new mattress into your home, you'll notice a strange odor when unpacking it. This odor is known as "off-gassing." This odor and its intensity can vary, and largely depends on the materials used in making the mattress. Even so, regardless of which materials you go with, you need to ensure that prior to unpacking the mattress, there's decent airflow in the room to prevent the potential of headaches. Ideally, you'll want to choose a mattress that produces no off-gassing.

  1. Density

When deciding on which mattress is best for your child, typically the denser the mattress is, the better. You can test the mattress's density by its firmness. You don't want the mattress to begin sagging and breaking down. Pressing your hands together at the mattress's sides is the best way of checking the density. If you can push it easily, this indicates it's not dense enough, and thereby likely won't last long.

  1. Breathability

A natural latex mattress has an open cell structure, making it the best mattress for children. Breathable mattresses are good in decreasing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is a common thing in young babies, according to a report in the American Academy of Pediatrics. A good structure, like an open cell structure, promotes continuous air circulation each time your child moves, offering a comfortable sleep temperature as well.

  1. Safety/Non-Toxicity

Parents want their children to be safe, regardless of whether they're sleeping or awake, but why not promote more safety by letting them sleep on an eco-friendly, green mattress? These types of mattresses don't contain the harsh chemicals, like:

  • VOCs
  • Polyurethane
  • Heavy metals
  • Flame retardants
  • Other types of chemicals and fumes

If you want to ensure your child is sleeping on an eco/green mattress, buy a mattress with CertiPUR-US certification. Ideally, it should also carry other purity certifications like GOTS certified organic cotton, and OEKO-TEX certified latex certifications.

  1. 100% Natural Wool Fire Barrier

Ideally the mattress you choose should use natural wool, which works as a fire barrier, but without the harsh fire-retardant chemicals. There are few all-natural materials with inherent fire-resistant properties, and wool is one of them. A mattress with a 100% natural wool fire barrier will comply with federal flammability regulations. It will exceed safety standards naturally, so there's no need for the use of any toxic chemicals.

  1. Comfort and Support

A natural latex mattress is the best mattress to provide comfort and support for kids, so they can obtain a relaxing sleep. It's important that children sleep on a responsive surface that adapts to the curves of their body. But, the mattress should also provide them with proper support in order to promote good posture and spinal alignment. A natural latex mattress's versatility is capable of meeting all of these requirements.

  1. Natural Materials

Because your child will be spending plenty of hours in their bed every night, you'll want to choose a mattress that won't be constructed with materials that could harm them. Purchasing a mattress constructed with natural and/or organic materials is essential for ensuring they'll be sleeping on a safe mattress. Not to mention, natural materials are antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, which latex is by nature.

  1. Durability

Your child's mattress will be exposed to a lot of wear and tear, more so than an adult's mattress. Ensure you buy a durable mattress that holds up to being jumped on, played on, spilled on, and so on. Latex fits the bill on this one. It's among the most extremely durable mattresses on the market these days. If you buy a latex mattress, ensure it comes with a removable and cleanable organic mattress cover.

  1. CertiPUR-US certification

Mattresses that come with CertiPUR-US certification mean they're:

  • Constructed without TDCPP, PBDEs or TCEP ("Tris") type flame retardants
  • Constructed without ozone depleters
  • Constructed without formaldehyde
  • Constructed without lead, mercury, and other heavy metals
  • Constructed without Consumer Product Safety Commission-regulated phthalates
  • Low VOC emissions (less than 0.5 parts per million) for indoor air quality

Different Types of Mattresses for Kids

The different types of mattresses for children are:

  1. Latex: A natural latex mattress is the best choice because it's incredibly durable, and will last for many years, some upwards of 20 years. This means it will continue supporting your child as they grow through their years in Elementary School well into their High School years as a teenager. Natural latex will help keep your child cool as they're sleeping at night, and won't retain body heat, unlike memory foam.
  2. Memory foam: A memory foam mattress is constructed with 100% foam. Memory foam mattresses don't have the innerspring component, therefore they're more portable. They often consist of foam layers with each layer being made for different purposes. Memory foam isn't washable, therefore it's mandatory you get a good cover. For kids, because they're typically lighter-weight than adults, a memory foam mattress can offer all the comfort and support they require while providing them with ideal pressure relief. Be sure the foam used, however, is non-toxic.
  3. Hybrid: With a hybrid mattress, you're getting the best of both worlds. High quality hybrid mattresses provide the durability and support of innerspring, but with the plush and comfort feeling of foam. Many hybrid mattresses feature an innerspring support core with foam comfort layers.
  4. Innerspring: One primary benefit of an innerspring mattress is it tends to last longer than foam. This is because it has coils made of steel. The primary purpose of coil use is to make sure the mattress can support the pressure over time. Therefore, if you're considering an innerspring mattress, look for one with a minimum of 150 coils. The lower number of coils the mattress has, the less time it will last.

What Types of Mattresses Aren’t Recommended for Children?

You should avoid buying any mattress constructed with harmful chemicals, such as VOCs, PBDEs, and others. They're not good for kids. Non-durable mattresses are also not recommended.

Mattresses Containing Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)

The U.S. Federal law requires mattresses use flame retardants. Unfortunately, most mattress manufacturers will use inexpensive flame retardants made with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

PBDEs are associated with a large range of health issues, that specifically impact children, including:

  • Memory impairments
  • Thyroid hormone disruption
  • Behavior problems
  • Learning impairments
  • Delayed onset of puberty
  • Hearing problems
  • Fetal malformations
  • Cancer
  • And more

Research shows kids might be more vulnerable to the effect of PBDEs at even lower exposure levels than adults, even when being exposed in the womb.

Mattresses Containing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are gasses that are emitted from liquids and solids in the home, and include furniture (like mattresses). Inside the household, they contribute to a whole range of indoor air quality problems, and they can have negative short- and long-term health consequences.

Non-Durable Mattresses

From spilling nighttime snacks to jumping on the bed, children are much harder on a mattress than adults. So, you'll want to either choose a mattress with wrapped steel coils, or quality thick foam, and go for a latex mattress, which is said to last longer than your average mattress.

What Type of Mattress Is Best for Kids?

So, learning all that you've just learned, which really is the best type of mattress for kids? These would include:

  1. A "Room to Grow" Mattress

You might be tempted to try and save some money, by opting for the smallest mattress for your growing child, but think about the bigger picture. Kids grow quickly, and the best mattress will be one that will adjust to their growing needs, and one with a long lifespan. To avoid having to go out and purchase another mattress in a couple years, your best bet is buying a high-quality, room-to-grow mattress.

  1. A Natural Latex Mattress

Why is natural latex great for children?

Natural latex mattresses are constructed from plant-derived latex instead of synthetic petroleum-based latex or chemicals. Latex for Less's 100% natural latex, for instance, is constructed from the Hevea brasiliensis rubber tree's sap, with no fillers or artificial chemicals.

A natural latex mattress also contains natural ingredients that are antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, and offer pressure-relieving properties and springiness that neither memory foam or synthetic latex can match.

On the other hand, some memory foam mattresses contain man-made chemicals, and tend to "off-gas", creating an unpleasant odor. Memory foam has also been said to sleep "hotter."

  1. A Mattress that's Certified for Low- or No-Chemical Emissions or VOCs

Selecting a mattress for your child that comes with certification for low chemical emissions and low VOCs is an essential first step toward buying a healthy mattress for your child. Purity certifications like GOTS and OEKO-TEX indicate the mattress has met the rigorous testing standards for chemical emissions.

What About the Latex for Less Mattress for Kids?

The Latex for Less mattress ticks all the boxes, including the below:

  • Natural and organic
  • No toxic chemicals
  • No off-gassing
  • Handcrafted to last
  • Comes in multiple sizes, including Twin (38 x 75) and Twin XL (38 x 80)
  • Containing a 100% natural wool fire barrier.

Plus it comes with a 100% organic cotton cover you can take off and wash, two firmness levels, affordable pricing, and more.

So, in your search for the best mattress for your child, you might want to consider looking at the Latex for Less Natural Latex Mattress.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates, LIVESTRONG.com, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report, Travels.com, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.