Moving from a crib to a proper bed is a big step for any child. This can be an exciting time, but also a daunting one where the child has to adjust to no longer sleeping in their familiar crib.
You probably already know that a baby needs a very firm mattress to be safe and comfortable at night. However, now that your baby has grown into a toddler their needs are quite different. Their old firm mattress will no longer provide them with the comfort they need for a good night’s sleep. So, what is the best mattress firmness for a toddler? There’s no simple answer to this question, as this will depend on what feels comfortable to your individual child. To make the process of choosing a little easier, our experts have compiled a handy guide with everything you need to know about the best mattress firmness for a toddler.
Can I use a crib mattress for my toddler?
Many people wonder whether they can comply continue to use their child’s old crib mattress. In fact, many crib mattresses do fit inside toddler beds. These resemble adult twin beds but are smaller and closer to the ground. Many also come with safety features such as guard rails. A lot of parents and children like this as a way of making the transition from crib to mattress, as a smaller bed feels more contained and secure for a child used to a crib. They are also easier for small children to get in and out of, and are less dangerous should they fall out of bed in the night.
Most crib mattresses are either made of foam or have an innerspring construction. If your child’s crib mattress was designed for a baby, it will be very firm. This is safest form young babies as it reduces the risk of SIDS. Although SIDS is not a significant concern for toddlers, it’s perfectly safe to continue using the mattress if you are moving your toddler into a toddler bed. However, many toddlers find these mattresses too firm to be comfortable. In this case, you will need to buy a new, softer mattress for your toddler. Bear in mind that a crib mattress won’t fit if you’re moving your baby straight into a full sized single bed.
Which is the correct mattress firmness for a toddler?
So, if a firm mattress is often too hard for a toddler to sleep comfortably, what should you look for? In general, it’s best to choose a softer mattress for a child of this age. This is because soft mattresses are best able to conform to the shape of a toddler’s body, making them comfortable and supportive to sleep on. While a medium to firm mattress is able to conform to the shape of a heavier adult body, it’s important to keep a toddler’s light body weight in mind when you’re shopping.
Convertible mattresses for babies and toddlers
A good middle ground between having your toddler sleep on a mattress designed for a younger baby and buying a whole new mattress is to invest in a convertible crib mattress when your child is born. These mattresses can be flipped and have two different sides. One is extra firm to support a young baby safely while they sleep. The other is softer to suit the needs of a toddler. Some even come with memory foam on the toddler side to greater allow them to conform comfortably to their body. The major advantage of this is that you won’t need to purchase a new mattress until your child graduates into an adult sized twin bed, saving you money and the hassle of shopping for mattresses all over again!
Can I put my toddler straight into a twin bed?
Some parents ask whether it’s possible to transition a toddler from their crib straight into a twin sized bed. The answer is yes, although there are a few things you’ll need to bear in mind. The major drawback of putting a toddler in a twin bed is that the distance from the bed to the floor is much greater than if you use a toddler bed. Therefore, your child is more likely to injure themselves if they were to fall out of bed in the night. So, if you’re going for this option you should invest in a guard for the side of their bed to prevent this from happening. You could also place a thick safety mat on the floor next to their bed to prevent them hurting themselves if they do take a tumble.
However, a major advantage of putting your toddler straight into a twin bed is that you save money on purchasing a toddler bed and a suitable mattress to go with it. You’ll also save going through another transition when your toddler outgrows their toddler bed. Therefore, if you take sensible safety precautions, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular option with many parents.
Which type of mattress does a toddler need?
Most mattresses for toddlers are either foam or innerspring. As both types are good at conforming to the shape of a toddler’s body, either would make a suitable choice. In the end, it comes down to your own personal preference.
Foam mattresses have the advantage of being relatively cheap. They are also light, making bedding changes much quicker and easier. However, they do tend to sleep hot. For this reason, always check any foam mattress you buy is designed to be breathable so heat can escape.
Innerspring mattresses are often a little more expensive. However, they are very supportive and extremely breathable due to the airspaces in their construction. The downside is that they tend to be heavier, so think carefully about whether you will be able to tackle bedding changes if you don’t have someone to help you.
Should I use an organic mattress and bedding for my toddler?
Nowadays, parents wishing to buy organic mattresses or bedding for their children are spoilt for choice. A major advantage of organic bedding is that you can be sure it’s been made without any harmful chemicals that could pose a risk to your little one’s health. Many consumers are also swayed by the environmentally friendly status of these products.
When you’re shopping for organic toddler mattresses and bedding, you could try looking for items with the Oeko-Tex label. This is awarded by the International Oeko-Tex Association, which assures you that the product has been rigorously tested to ensure it doesn’t contain any hazardous chemicals.
You may also look for mattresses and other bedding products carrying the GOTS label. This means Global Organic Textiles Standards. However, this is not used as commonly, and some popular manufacturers are yet to adopt it for their products.
How do I choose a mattress for my toddler?
No matter what type of mattress you ultimately go for, there are certain features that are an absolute must for any good toddler mattress. Apart from being soft, make sure any product you purchase features the following:
• Supportive: A growing toddler needs a good level of support from their mattress. Not only is this important in terms of comfort, but it ensures their bones, muscles and joints have the support they need to grow in a healthy way. Support is the number one feature you should check for in any product reviews
• Adaptable: The mattress should have the ability to conform to the shape of your toddler’s body while they sleep. This is the reason they need a soft mattress, as they have a significantly lower body weight than adults
• Water resistant: Just like babies, toddlers will sometimes leak urine or spill drinks onto their mattress. For this reason, you’ll want a mattress with a water resistant cover. Preferably it should also be removable and machine washable for easy cleaning
• Breathable: During the night, heat can build up inside a mattress. This can make sleeping on it uncomfortably hot and can cause young children to overheat. For this reason, it’s important to look for a breathable mattress. This means that air can circulate inside it, helping excess heat to escape and keeping it at a safe and comfortable temperature
• Certifications: Of course, you will want to know your toddler’s bed is a safe and healthy place for them to sleep every night. For this reason, it’s important to know that their mattress won’t release any harmful toxins into the air they breathe. This is especially important for children with respiratory conditions such as asthma. For peace of mind, look out for products with the Certi-Pur or GREENGUARD Gold certifications. These show that the mattress has been extensively tested to ensure it emits very low levels of toxins. Alternatively, you could opt for an organic product
• Hypoallergenic: Many children suffer from allergies triggered by bedding products. For this reason, it’s a good idea to purchase hypoallergenic mattresses for toddlers
• Made in the USA: It’s a good idea to purchase a mattress that has been manufactured exclusively in the USA. This is because bedding produced in the USA has to meet strict safety guidelines which are there to protect consumers. This is especially important when you are shopping for a toddler or young child. Mattresses made in Canada are also a safe bet as they have to meet similar standards. While you can buy very cheap mattresses from overseas, they may not be manufactured to the same high safety standards
• Sleep trial: If you’re shopping for a toddler mattress online, always make sure it comes with a sleep trip. This means that you can return it at any time during the trial period for a full refund for any reason. This is especially important if you haven’t had a chance to try the mattress out before you buy so that you don’t find yourself stuck with a mattress your toddler doesn’t like and out of pocket
Where should I buy a toddler mattress?
Now that you know what makes a good toddler mattress, it’s important to know the best place to make your purchase. You have two choices: either buy it in person at a bricks-and-mortar store or buy online.
Some people prefer to buy instore as it means you can test and inspect the mattress before you commit to a purchase. This is a major advantage and means you can be sure you’re getting the product you want. However, bear in mind that you will have limited choice if you buy in a mattress store. You may also find yourself under pressure from the sales assistant to make a purchase then and there.
Buying online comes with the risk that you may be disappointed with your purchase once it arrives. However, you will have access to the whole of the market, giving you the widest range of choice possible. It’s also far easier to make comparisons online, especially if you buy through a retailer like Amazon, and there won’t be any pressure on you to commit to a