A good night’s sleep is critical at all ages. Children’s rapid brain growth and physical development mean that their little bodies need the right amount of quality sleep every night. Getting that sleep begins with choosing the right mattress. Here are several factors to keep in mind when shopping for the right mattress for your child.
There are several safety factors to keep in mind when choosing a mattress for your child. You may want to avoid mattresses with polyurethane, VOCs, phthalates or chemical flame retardants. Those chemicals off-gas, releasing strong odors and potentially harmful compounds into the air in your child’s bedroom. Mattresses with the CertiPUR-US certification are free of those chemicals. If your child moves around in their sleep, check the bounce of the mattress. Active sleepers might bounce themselves off the mattress and onto the floor.
Ease of Cleaning
Children of all ages can have accidents in bed. A stomach bug or bed-wetting episode necessitates cleaning of the mattress. Be sure to choose a mattress that can be washed. This means that you can spot-clean, sanitize and vacuum the mattress without damaging it. A waterproof mattress is a good option because it doesn’t allow fluids to penetrate the inner foam. The waterproof encasement
also prevents dust mites from living on the mattress. If your child has allergies, a hypoallergenic, waterproof mattress is the way to go.
Mattresses are available in many different materials. When shopping for a mattress for growing children, you might want to choose natural or organic materials with the CertiPUR-US certification. This certification gives you peace of mind that the mattress won’t release chemicals. Mattresses with the CertiPUR-US certification are also environmentally friendly.
Consider a natural wool or cotton outer covering for the mattress. You could also choose a separate removable mattress topper. These toppers add more support for kids who are experiencing rapid growth during their tween and teen years. A durable material is more likely to handle a child’s spills, accidents, and activity level.
For babies, a firm mattress is the best choice because it lowers their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Once a child has moved past the SIDS age risk group, a medium-firm mattress is fine. Medium-firm mattresses offer support for growing bodies and take the pressure off of the hips and shoulders.
They also promote the natural curve of the spine. As children get older and enter their teen years, a softer mattress is appropriate. Check the mattress’s load indentation deflection level. A firmer mattress usually lasts longer, which is important for rambunctious children who might bounce or jump on the bed.
If your child is an active sleeper or spreads into a starfish pose while sleeping, a bigger bed is a good choice. Growing teens may benefit from an extended-length bed, such as a twin XL. The extended-length beds are six inches longer than the standard twin mattress. This is the size of college dorm mattresses. If two of your children sleep together, a bigger mattress is also a good choice. Consider a mattress that has coils for reducing motion transfer. This will reduce the chances that one child moving in their sleep will awaken the other child.
My kids have graduated from crib to twin, and now to full-size mattresses. Along the way, we have tried organic mattresses and used disposable mattress pads under the sheets in case of accidents. And, in terms of mattress comfort, we let our kids pick out their own mattresses after lying down on the beds at the store. There is much argument as to whose mattress is the most comfortable, but as their mom, I’ve fallen asleep in all their beds!