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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. 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.
What to Look For in a Kids Pillow
That said, the right pillow fit and size helps you create a safe sleeping environment for your little one. This includes suitable material, stuffing and support for their small heads, developing spine and growing bodies. We curated this list of features to get it just right.
Ideal stuffing is neither super plush nor too stiff. The material should adapt to the shape of their head and contour to the neck and spine. Memory foam’s breathability and airflow feature a cooling effect, so it’s perfect for hot little sleepers who toss and turn. It also retains its shape throughout the night, so the neck and spine are in alignment. Memory foam pillows are naturally hypoallergenic. Combined with the micro-vented cover, they reduce the risk of allergies. Down is also a good option for growing children. It provides lightweight, fluffy support, while memory foam cradles the neck, shoulders, and head.
The distance between their shoulders and base of the neck determine the ideal pillow height. Pillow height should follow the ergonomics of the neck. Wrong height can result in strain and tension. A pillow that is too high causes improper back posture and neck stiffness. Too low makes the kid’s head sink too deep into the pillow, creating pressure on the neck and shoulders.
Spacious sleep surface prevents the head from curving in unnatural positions. The average pillow size for a kid is around 13” by 18″. This is an optimal size for supporting proper sleeping postures. Standard adult pillows are usually around 5-7″ deep, which is too big and bulky for a kid. Kid pillows have a depth of 3-4″, not too overwhelming for their tiny heads.
Make sure the pillowcases are a fabric that is as natural as possible. This means no synthetic fabrics inside which could potentially be toxic. As the pillow cover comes directly in contact with your kids’ skin and hair, opt for natural protein fiber, such as real silk that doesn’t catch fire like synthetic fibers can. Keep your kids’ pillows in zippered, dust-, and mite-proof covers to stop allergens and dust mites from going inside the pillow.
Is there anything more annoying than hand-washing your pillows? Kids’ pillows need frequent washes because they easily get soiled. Look for pillows and pillowcases that can be tossed into the washing machine to make them safe and clean in a snap. The pillow should stay true to its form and texture, without clumping up, even after drying and fluffing it afterwards. Always read the label for more info on washing.
Best Pillows for Kids
This memory foam pillow measures 13×18 inches, making it a perfect choice for children two 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.
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 two to five 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 re-fluff the pillow to shape it after washing.
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.
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.
Give your toddler a good night’s sleep with the Toddler Memory Foam Pillow from Beautyrest. This pillow is uniquely sized to cradle your child’s head, delivering much-needed support for the head and neck without compromising on comfort. The pillow is covered in a soft quilted cover that is easily removable and washable for your convenience.
Not only is this pillow tailored for your child’s comfort and support, but it is made with Greenguard Gold Certified materials for the utmost safety. These materials are breathable to promote airflow through the pillow to keep your child cool without harboring dust mites and other allergens. The high-performance ThermoCool cover keeps your child cool while the inner cover protects against stains and spills.
Other Products We Considered
The Pillow Insider editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
- Baby First Toddler Pillow with Pillowcase
- BeautyRest Toddler Pillow
- Utopia Bedding Baby Pillows for Sleeping
- KeaBabies Toddler Pillows for Sleeping
- Aloudy Memory Foam Toddler Pillow
- Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow
- Moonsea Print Toddler Pillow
- Biloban Store Toddler Pillow for Sleeping
- Milliard Toddler Kids Pillow
- Coop Home Goods Toddler Bed Pillows for Sleeping