How to Choose the Right Mattress for Your Child

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Recently we found ourselves in need of new mattresses for both of our girls. My youngest Morgan, newly three-years-old, was ready to move out of her crib into her first big girl bed, and my six-year-old Emma, was ready to transition from her still toddler-ish room and old low-quality, twin mattress into a “going to be a 1st grader” room.

So when Serta contacted me about being a part of their blogger campaign for 2012, which included complimentary mattresses for review to help write about our experiences, the timing couldn’t have been better.

Now that my husband and are I sleeping on our Serta iComfort mattress (also complimentary provided by Serta) and KNOW firsthand the difference a quality mattress makes to your sleep, it just killed me every night to lay on Emma’s terrible mattress when reading her books before bed and feel the innersprings coming through the top of the mattress. She had no idea – but I did. Click here to read about the difference our new mattress has made to our lives.

To know that both of my girls were going to get to experience blissful sleep on a Serta mattress made me SO happy. But now we had a task at hand – and that was choosing the best mattress for our kids. As it turns out, there was a lot to think about!

I am sure many of you at some point will have to purchase a new mattress for your child so I wanted to provide some personal shopping tips that helped us, along with input from the experts at Serta.

How to Choose the Right Mattress for Your Child

The first thing to decide is what size do you want?  I immediately thought twin for both, because they are so little. Especially for my three-year-old, it seemed like a natural progression to go from a crib mattress to a twin.

But given the fact that we were going to be receiving high quality mattresses that will likely last them until they go off to college, possibly even longer, I had to think long term.

Even though my three-year-old might look small in a full size bed now, 10 years from now she will be 13, and who knows, she could be 5’8″ by then (I was!)

Some things to consider when selecting the mattress size:

1. How much space do you have in your child’s room? Could it fit a full size or larger?

2. Will you be “handing down” this mattress to a younger sibling at some point? Is there a chance it will it be moving rooms?

3. Will you want to consider bunk beds or will your kids share a room at some point?

4. Could you benefit from being able to use a larger bed or double up kids in a larger bed when guests visit to free up more sleeping space? How about for sleepovers?

5. Do you prefer to invest in a quality mattress so you don’t have to upgrade at some point if/when they outgrow it in a few years?

If you answered “yes” to questions #1 and #5, I would recommend to buy the biggest size mattress their room will accommodate that still makes sense space-wise.

Most children’s furniture stores now have great full size bed options and custom shops like Newport Cottages can also custom make a children’s style bed into a queen, even larger, if that is the direction you want to go.

This was Serta’s expert advice on choosing the size,

“A larger sleeping surface allows for more ‘room to stretch’ during sleep. For kids that are active sleepers, meaning they shift positions often, a larger mattress may help keep them more comfortable and help them stay asleep in the event they shift positions during sleep. The biggest benefit of a larger mattress for a child is longevity. A good mattress can stay with your child through childhood.” 

Once you decide on the size you want, next you have to decide on the type of mattress you want for your child.

The traditional innerspring, like the Serta Perfect Sleeper, is a popular choice for children. You can also consider the (now famous on my blog) iComfort memory foam mattress, or the iSeries, which is a hybrid of innerspring and memory foam.

No matter what kind of mattress you select, the most important thing to ask about is does it offer proper support? A mattress with a good support infrastructure will alleviate pressure point build-up which can cause tossing and turning and restless sleep.

From there, the level of firmness or plushness is totally personal preference.  I suggest having your children go into to the store and test them out themselves. Of course, it is helpful to narrow it down to a handful that fit in your budget before giving them free reign to chose!

We took both of my girls mattress shopping and it was quite an enjoyable event. The “rest test” was not so effective with my (then) 2 1/2 year old who thought the game of musical mattresses was one VERY fun game, but my six-year-old, after laying on probably 10 different beds, knew the one she thought was the “coziest” without a doubt.

I thought it was really interesting to see that she had a strong opinion of the exact mattress that felt best to her at such a young age.

Expert advice from Serta,

“Today’s mattresses combine advanced support systems with a varity of “comfort layers”, meaning that you can still get the support you need from a softer mattress. We suggest you look for a quality mattress with proper support, with comfort materials designed to provide pressure relief. This is important to help reduce tossing and turning which can disrupt sleep.”

So now that you have selected your new mattress, and maybe invested a little more, you want to make sure you get the most years you can out of your new bed.

Serta advises,

“The most important mattress care tip is this – use a liquid resistant mattress pad or cover.  This will keep the mattress cleaner and healthier and insure that your warranty remains in tact and prevent the comfort layers from being impacted.  There are many options out there made from breathable materials, so the mattress pad or cover won’t cause heat build up.”

Stay tuned for another post on the mattress we selected for our girls and how we came to the decision.

These new mattresses started a pretty big home project that entailed moving three of our bedrooms and a VERY fun redesign of them all. It was a project that we needed to do, and these mattresses were the perfect push to get us started. I can’t wait to show you the results.  Coming soon!!!

[Disclosure: We received complimentary Serta mattresses to help facilitate this review and I am a participant in the 2011 and 2012 Serta blogger program. It is a company I am very passionate about sharing as I have been thrilled with their products and the dreamy sleep they have brought to my family!]

 

9 Comments

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  1. 1
    Heather Thome says:

    Thanks for the great tips. Our 2 year old will probably move up next year but our 6 1/2 yr. old has been in a big girl bed since 2 1/2! I opted for good furniture and a full size bed so she could take it with her someday. I am a firm believer too in buying the very best mattress you can afford. We also have Serta’s and have been very happy.

    • 2
      Jen says:

      They say you spend something like a 1/3 of your life sleeping, so I am a firm believer now in the importance of a quality mattress. And when I thought about it, kids are really no different, and can also benefit from better sleep on a mattress with good support. My girls are so happy in their new beds.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  2. 3
    Rachel Kurek says:

    Great tips! I was clueless on how to choose a bed for my 4 year old son who has outgrown his toddler bed. He is my first and only child so I immediately took to the internet to find out information about beds. This was the best advice I found. Very helpful!!

  3. 4
    jen says:

    Rachel – you just made my day! Good luck! Let me know what you end up with!

  4. 5

    Thanks for the info. My daughter has been on a cheap foam mattress and I felt just terrible the other night when we were reading the princess and pea and she asked me if she would ever be able to sleep like a princess in a comfy bed… WOW – message received! We’ll be prioritizing this purchase

  5. 6
    Z says:

    Hey Jen! How can I see the post of which bed did you ended up choosing?

  6. 8
    kidsbathtub says:

    Thanks Jen, This post help me a lot to buy a best mattress for my baby.

  7. 9
    Chris says:

    Thanks Jen, very helpful post on choosing mattress for children, I want to buy a pure memory foam mattress for my children, because it’s very comfortable and can adapt to body shape. but I’m not sure if this is good for children, some body told me firm mattress is better for children, and we should choose innerspring mattress. Any feedback would be helpful, thanks!

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