How to Choose a Mattress for a Child

April 21, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team

If you’re a new parent or find yourself buying bigger shoes for your youngster almost every week, chances are you only want the best for your kid. Knowing how to choose the right mattress for a child is one thing you can do to help your child’s sleeping habits and promote healthy growth.

Continue reading to learn the right size and firmness you should look for in a mattress for your child and when you should start shopping around for a new one. 

What to Look For When Choosing a Mattress for Your Child

Similar to picking out your own mattress, there are specific things you should look for when choosing a mattress for your child. Knowing what warranties are available, the right size, and how easy the material is to clean can make a difference in your child’s sleep patterns and your sanity. 

If you find yourself having to remove pee out of your child’s mattress often, you’ll want to find a sturdy mattress that will stand the test of time (and bodily fluids). Similarly, no matter your child’s sleeping habits, you’ll want to find one that’s as toxin-free as possible to protect your child’s health. 

What is the Best Mattress for a Child?

The best mattress for a child depends on a variety of factors, including age and sleeping habits. If your child still wets the bed at night, opt for a mattress that’s extra durable and consider purchasing a mattress protector for added preservation. 

In general, children are light enough that a firmer mattress will suit their needs instead of one that’s too soft. For children going through large growth spurts and puberty, you may want to consider purchasing a larger mattress and alter the firmness based on your child’s go-to sleeping positions

How Firm Should a Child’s Mattress Be?

Because most children are fairly light, they typically won’t need an extra firm mattress. Instead, a medium or medium firm mattress will be just fine in helping to support their spinal alignment as they grow. As your child gets older and starts heading into their pre-teen and teenage years, consider a mattress that’s more firm or soft depending on their weight and normal sleeping positions. 

Child Mattress Size

Although every child is different, there are some mattress sizes that are standard for certain ages. Knowing these sizes can get you one step closer to also knowing how to choose the right mattress for your child. 

Below, you’ll find mattress dimensions that can help you determine what might be best for your child. However, if your child is considered tall for their age — and you expect they will continue growing — you may want to consider moving them into a larger mattress than what’s recommended for their age group. 

Mattress Size for Babies

Standard crib mattresses for newborns to age three are typically 52 inches long by 28 inches wide and fit in a variety of cribs. To ensure your baby’s mattress won’t be too hard, purchase a mattress that’s thicker than two of your fingers rotated horizontally. 

Mattress Size for Toddlers 

A twin-size mattress is typically the right size for toddlers and young children and measures 75 inches long and 38 inches wide. Additionally, young children from about three to eight years old are still likely to benefit from a more firm mattress to support their growing bodies. 

Mattress Size for Older Children

You may still be wondering how to choose a mattress for a child as they get older. While you can keep them in a regular twin foam mattress, you may want to purchase a mattress that provides more comfort as they grow. 

Twin XL mattresses are one way to do this without taking up too much space in your child’s bedroom. They measure 80 inches long and 38 inches wide, so they only occupy five more inches than a regular twin mattress would. 

Alternatively, if you feel your child needs a larger bed they can continue growing into throughout their teenage years, consider purchasing a full sized mattress. A standard full  mattress measures 75 inches long and 53 inches wide, so they take up more space than a typical twin mattress would. 


What’s the Best Type of Mattress for a Child?

A medium-firm hybrid or memory foam mattress is best for older children starting at age 5. The memory foam doesn’t allow for jumping, which can elongate the mattress’ lifespan, while the firmness can provide spinal support as your child grows. However, memory foam can be dangerous for younger children and babies as the risk of suffocation is greater.  

Do Kids Need Firm or Soft Mattresses?

A medium-firm or firm mattress is best for children to help support their spinal alignment while growing.

Can a One-Year-Old Sleep on a Memory Foam Mattress?

One-year-olds should sleep on a firm crib mattress to minimize any risk of suffocation. 

Is a Crib Mattress the Same as a Toddler Mattress?

Crib mattresses are often the same size as toddler mattresses but typically differ in firmness and shape. 

How Long Are You Supposed to Keep a Mattress?

Knowing how to choose a mattress for a child includes knowing when it’s time to say goodbye to their old mattress and welcome the new. If their mattress has seen better days  — and those days were anywhere from seven to 10 years ago — it might be time to find a new sleep haven. 

If it’s time to look for a new mattress, browse any of Casper’s mattresses below to ensure your kids get the best sleep possible (so you can too).