As a parent, you don’t sleep unless your kids do. Whether you’re upgrading an older child’s pillow or shopping for your toddler’s very first, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. The best pillow provides the right combination of comfort and support your child needs for a safe night of sleep.
Bed pillows are a dime a dozen, but if you’re shopping for a child then not just any pillow will do. A kids pillow should be appropriately sized for a child and firm enough to support your child’s head and neck. We’ve done the research about the topic and have compiled a shortlist of the best pillows for kids on the market. Check out our top picks below.
Kid Pillow Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving your child a pillow until they reach the age of two. At that point, it’s important to choose a pillow that is appropriately sized for your child and one that provides enough support for their head and neck.
Here are our top 5 recommendations for the best pillow for kids:
This memory foam pillow measures 13×18 inches, making it a perfect choice for children 2 years and older. Filled with shredded memory foam, this pillow contours to your child’s head and neck to deliver the ideal combination of comfort and support for your child’s developing spine. These memory foam materials don’t just offer contouring support, either, they also improve the breathability of the pillow. This, combined with the micro-vented cover, makes this a cooling pillow perfect for hot sleepers.
In addition to being comfortable and supportive, this pillow is allergy-friendly. The materials are CertiPUR-US Certified and made in the USA, plus every pillow is rolled and vacuum sealed to keep dirt, dust, and debris out during shipping and handling. To keep your child’s pillow clean and safe, this pillow is machine-washable in its entirety. Simply toss it in the washing machine to clean it and, as an added bonus, the machine will re-fluff the pillow back to like-new condition.Buy at Amazon
Approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this toddler pillow measures 14×18 inches and it is made from safe, non-toxic materials. This pillow has the right amount of filling to keep your child comfortable through the night without compromising on support. Reviewed and recommended by chiropractors, this pillow is ideal for children aged 2 to 5 years.
In addition to being suitably sized for children, this pillow comes with a kid-friendly butterfly and dragonfly pillowcase. Both the pillowcase and the pillow itself are machine-washable for easy cleaning as well. Simply machine wash on cold then tumble dry on a gentle, low-heat cycle. You may need to refluff the pillow to shape it after washing.Buy at Amazon
Brought to you by one of the leading online mattress stores, Purple, this kids pillow is made with the innovative Purple Grid. While Purple’s Harmony Pillow for adults features the honeycomb-patterned Purple Grid Hex, this pillow is made with a specially designed formulation of the Purple Grid. This pattern is smaller and lighter but still offers much-needed support for developing necks and spines.
The Kid Purple Pillow comes with a breathable mesh cover that promotes airflow, keeping your child cool and comfortable all night long. Choose from four different colors for this comfy cover (pink, white, blue, or grey) and stock up on Kid Sheets to match. Purple’s Kid Pillow comes with a 100-night risk-free trial and is covered by their 1-year warranty.Buy at Purple
Designed as a starter pillow for toddlers, this pillow measures 13×18 inches and comes in five different colors and patterns. It is front-stuffed to a height of 2.5 inches and behind-stuffed at 1.9 inches so you can choose which side for your child to use based on their age and size. Made with a 100% cotton shell and poly cluster fiber filling, this pillow is safe and comfortable for children.
In addition to being made with high-quality filling, this pillow comes with a breathable pillowcase to help keep your child cool. This pillowcase has an envelope design, so you don’t have to worry about the danger of zippers, and it is durable up to 200 washes. Simply gentle wash on the cool setting then tumble dry on low or no heat.Buy at Amazon
When Should Kids Start Using a Pillow?
Crib safety is essential for babies and toddlers and that includes knowing what is and isn’t safe for your child to sleep with. According to an article published in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ newsletter, children are generally ready to forgo their crib in favor of a toddler bed around 2 years of age. The best rule of thumb to follow is that when your child is tall enough to get a leg up onto the top rail of the crib, it’s best to switch to a bed so they don’t accidentally fall out.
When you’re ready to upgrade your child from crib to toddler bed, it’s also the right time to start thinking about introducing a pillow. Dr. George J. Cohen, author of Guide to Your Child’s Sleep, recommends keeping your toddler’s first pillow relatively small and firm.
Are Pillows for Kids Safe?
Safety is any parent’s number-1 concern for their child, especially during nighttime hours when direct supervision isn’t always possible. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a very real risk, even in seemingly healthy babies. Also known as crib death, SIDS causes the unexplained death of infants, usually during sleep. Experts don’t fully understand the cause, but it may have something to do with defects in the part of the child’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.
Though the underlying cause of SIDS is unknown, experts have determined that certain factors in the child’s sleep environment may increase the risk of unexplained death. Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep to avoid breathing difficulties and they shouldn’t sleep on a surface that is too soft. Removing pillows, blankets, and toys from the child’s crib reduces the risk for SIDS by up to 80%.
Keeping potential hazards out of a baby’s crib is a must, but most experts agree that once the child transitions out of the crib and onto a bed, it is safe to introduce bedding. When your toddler is old enough to sleep in their own bed (age 2 or older), they can sleep with pillows and other bedding.
What Size Pillow Should Kids Use?
While it may be safe to introduce pillows for your toddler after the age of 2, it isn’t safe to let them use an adult-sized pillow. These are too large and may be too soft which puts the child at risk for suffocation. A toddler’s pillow should be small, thin, and relatively firm. Firmness is important because your toddler’s neck and spine are still developing and need to be kept in proper alignment.
Here are some recommendations on pillow sizing for children:
- Toddlers (2-3 years) – 13×18 inches
- Child (4-5 years) – 16×22 inches
- Youth (6-12 years) – 18×24 inches
- Adolescent (13 and up) – 20×26 inches (standard)
When you first introduce a pillow, your child may take some time to get used to it. Don’t worry if they don’t use the pillow immediately. Once your child does get used to the pillow, however, you may find that they are less restless during the night.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of pillow is best for a child?
Children under the age of 2 should not use a pillow. When a toddler is old enough for a pillow, it should be small, thin, and relatively firm.
What pillow should a 4-year-old use?
A child between 4 and 5 years of age should be able to use a pillow that measures about 16×22 inches. It should still be relatively thin and firm because your child’s neck and spine are still developing and need to be supported during sleep.
What pillow should a 7-year-old use?
Once your child reaches about 6 or 7 years of age, they can graduate to a “youth” pillow versus a “child” pillow. These pillows measure around 18×24 inches, so they are still a little bit smaller than a standard pillow. It should still be relatively thin and firm because your child’s neck and spine are still developing and need to be supported during sleep.
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