Children’s Mattress Buying Guide

You can’t beat a good night’s sleep.  It is essential that children get the right amount of sleep quality and quantity because it is crucial for their health and well-being.
Mattress Buying Guide

Anne Davies

Mum of a tweenager and owner of Room to Grow. Anne works with the world’s leading manufacturers to source the best bunk beds, high beds, mid sleepers and low beds in all varieties. She knows as a parent how tricky it can be choosing the right bed that gives the optimum storage, study and sleep space without compromising on style. An expert in helping parents find the right bed for their child and creating a dream bedroom.

In this mattress buying guide, we look at the key points you need to consider when choosing to purchase a kids mattress.

How To Choose A Mattress

The foundation of a good night’s sleep starts with a sturdy bed frame and comfortable mattress and because we spend a third of our lives in bed, it is important that you make the right choice.

We have hand-picked a collection of mattresses which we recommend to suit all budgets and requirements. From a sprung coil mattress to a foam mattress; and those with fantastic airflow and cooling technology… it can be confusing trying to select the right mattress for your child but we’re here to help. 

What Are The Different Mattress Types

Children’s mattresses come in open-coil, pocket-sprung, latex foam and memory foam.  Each design offers different qualities and benefits.

Mattress technology and manufacturing techniques have developed substantially over the last decade, therefore, the traditional open coil sprung mattresses that you probably had as a child are less popular than the more modern, advanced mattress specifications.  Nowadays, it is very common for a mattress to be vacuum packed in plastic, straight off the production line and rolled up ready for delivery, regardless of it being a foam or pocket sprung foam mattress.

The springs within a mattress give your child the ‘core’ support they need. Therefore, the spring type, thickness of the gauge (wire), the total number of coils and, height of each spring will alter the tension of the mattress.  The mattress cover and fillings will also affect the ‘feel’ of mattress.  When looking for a sprung mattress it’s good to keep in mind that the higher the spring count, the better the support.  Coil gauge is another one to look for… a lower gauge number means thicker coils and will therefore make the mattress firmer as a result.

What Is A Good Mattress?

There is no industry standard to compare how comfortable or firm a mattress is but the information we have given on the product pages are what the manufacturer have rated their own mattresses. Basically, our mattress buying guide understands that mattress comfort is very subjective to each individual and can feel different depending on weight distribution, but most manufacturers offer their mattresses in soft, medium or firm options.

Foam mattresses are used for their cushioning effect and are usually made up from layers or different foam densities to achieve the correct levels of zoned comfort.

The mattress cover (sometimes known as the ticking) can also vary.  Some covers may be quilted, super soft, zipped and removable, whereas, a more traditional mattress will be tufted and stitched. Covered in high quality woven or knitted viscose or cotton yarns or made from polypropylene or polyester, there are various covers to choose from.

Memory foam and mattresses with special qualities such as anti-dust mite, anti-allergy, anti-bacterial, breathable, absorbent, temperature regulating and fire retardant, are now widely incorporated into mattress specifications and come highly rated for children if they are sensitive and have allergies and asthma. Foam mattresses that include latex and memory foam are measured by density.  The higher the number, the firmer the mattress will be.

Which Type Of Mattress Is Best For My Bed?

We have a wide selection of mattress depths, but please note that for a raised bed such as a mid sleeper, some cabin beds, top bunk, high sleeper and loft beds that a low profile mattress is recommended and this is usually around a maximum height allowance of 15cm, due to safety reasons.  Check the product information before you buy.

Also, look out for the NBF Mark of Approval. This logo gives you the reassurance that the mattress manufacturer follows the strict procedures of The National Bed Federation to ensure that they comply with health, hygiene, flammability and trade descriptions regulations. 

How Long Does A Mattress Last?

A good quality, supportive mattress should last around 7-10 years, so it’s always worth investing in a smarter mattress from the outset as it will be more supportive and last longer in the long run.

Important information

Choosing the best mattress for your child is so very important to give them the best quality and the right quantity of sleep each and every night. 

Here is some important information to give you some useful guidance before you buy.

  • Once you have removed your mattress from the plastic it cannot be returned, for hygiene reasons. Please check the mattress is the correct size for the bed frame before unpacking.
  • You may notice that your mattress has a strong odour – this is very normal and a necessary manufacturing process. The initial smell comes from the fire retardant because it is packaged in airtight plastic wrap immediately after it is manufactured to ensure it is sterile, dry and clean.  The odour will dissipate with time if it is kept in an environment with plenty of fresh air circulating. You can rotate the mattress each day so the opposite side is on top getting more fresh air. 
  • Mattresses that include a high density, moulding foam are not recommended for children under 3 years as younger children cannot regulate their body temperature as easily as older children.  The higher the foam density the greater the potential to retain heat.
  • If your child suffers with an allergy or asthma, regular cleaning and airing of the mattress will help to reduce irritants. Some mattresses come with hypoallergenic features, but always check the product information for details of the mattress construction and materials.
  • Always check your mattress periodically to ensure that it is in good order and rotate as the manufacturer’s instructions advise.  
  • Body shaped impressions are normal as this shows that the mattress is adjusting to your child’s body shape. This will be minimised with regular turning.
  • Always use a mattress protector to prolong the life of the mattress.
  • Please do not try to bend or roll the mattress as this could damage the mattress core.
  • If you find that your mattress is not the same size as your bed base, then do not worry, this is normal.  When a mattress is manufactured there is a tolerance in length and width so the manufacturing process can reduce the mattress size by up to 2 cm. Not only that but once the mattress is in place in the bed frame, there should be a little extra tolerance to allow for changing bedding and tucking in the duvet if required.  If you find there’s an extra gap, then its always a good idea to sit cuddly toys or cushions.
  • If you opt for a rolled mattress then occasionally, they can take a little while to settle and fully expand.  Once the mattress is being used, then this should naturally happen over time. 
  • Please remember that the maximum mattress height for use on a raised bed such as a mid sleeper, cabin bed, top bunk, high sleeper or loft bed is 15 cm due to safety reasons.  It’s always worthwhile checking your existing mattress to see if it will meet the safety requirements if you’re not planning on updating your existing mattress.
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