Help your family sleep tight with our pick of the best mattresses for your growing children
Buying the best mattress for your child is more complicated than you might think. Sleep is vitally important for children’s growth and development, so it’s important that their mattress gives them the right support and enough comfort to let them snooze for up to 14 hours a night.
Your child’s age will help determine the type and size of mattress to go for, of course. Experts advise that you move your toddler from a cot mattress to a children’s mattress at around the age of 18-36 months. Factors such as allergies and fidgeting should also be taken into account, and it’s worth remembering that top bunk mattresses need to meet certain legal requirements for weight and thickness. Whatever type of mattress is best for your child, try not to buy the cheapest mattress available. Bargain basement mattresses are a false economy and they won’t provide the support, comfort or longevity you’ll need.
For more info about these and other things to consider when shopping for a new mattress, read on for our detailed buying guide. Or if you want to go straight to our roundup of the best mattresses for kids, skip down the page to our top picks.
Best mattresses for children: At a glance
- Best children’s mattress under £200: Stompa S Flex Airflow Mattress
- Best no-turn kids’ mattress: John Lewis Hampshire Wool Pocket-Spring Mattress
- Best bed-in-a-box mattress for kids: Eve Lighter mattress
- Best luxury mattress suitable for children: Sealy ActivSleep 1800
- Best for a bunk bed: Silentnight Rolled Foam Junior Bunk Bed Mattress
How to buy the best mattress for your children
When should my baby move from a cot bed mattress to a child’s mattress?
It depends on how quickly your child grows as well as how comfortable and safe they feel in their cot, but any time between 18 and 36 months is considered normal.
Should you be looking for a mattress for your baby, we also recommend you check out our separate roundup of the best cot bed mattresses.
Do I need to buy a mattress that’s made specifically for children?
Not necessarily, but your child needs a mattress that supports their bones as they grow, that promotes good posture and, crucially, that they find comfortable. After all, a good night’s sleep is essential for children’s physical and emotional development. While that usually means buying a mattress made exclusively for children, some more expensive mattresses work well for both adults and kids.
What type of children’s mattresses are there?
- Open coil – these mattresses are purse-friendly and provide decent support but are sometimes less comfortable than other mattresses and can wear out and sag quicker.
- Continuous coil – made from a single looped wire, these mattresses are also inexpensive but share the same disadvantages as open-coil varieties.
- Pocket sprung – these more expensive mattresses, which use springs sewn into fabric pockets, are far superior when it comes to movement and comfort.
- Memory foam – these don’t have the bounce of pocket-sprung mattresses, but they mould around your child’s body, which makes them supremely comfortable. As such, children tend to fidget less on them.
- Latex – these mattresses are hypoallergenic and breathable, which makes them great for kids with allergies and those who get hot and clammy at night.
- Hybrid – increasingly, mattresses use a combination of pocket springs and foam.
For a more in-depth look into the different types of mattresses available, see our buying guide here.
What features should I look for?
- Weight and thickness – if you’re buying a mattress for a bunk or cabin bed, the mattress must be approved for use on these higher beds.
- Hypoallergenic – important if your child suffers from allergies.
- Natural fillings – if you’re keen to avoid chemicals, look for a mattress with all-natural fillings.
- Cover – is it removable or even replaceable? Particularly important if your child is prone to accidents.
How much do I need to spend?
You can get a really good children’s mattress from around £150 and don’t need to spend more than about £600. The difference in price mainly depends on the way the mattress is made.
At the cheapest end of the spectrum is open-coil sprung mattresses, while at the most expensive end there are pocket-sprung mattresses with all-natural fillings like wool, cashmere and horsehair. Somewhere in between are the foam mattresses. Remember that buying a more expensive mattress for your child could save you money in the long-term, as you should get more use out of it.
The best children’s mattresses
1. Stompa S Flex Airflow Mattress: Best children’s mattress under £200
Price: £180 | Buy now from John Lewis
As with most things, it pays to use a specialist and Stompa’s raison d’etre is children’s furniture. Its mattresses, which provide medium to firm support, are made in England and have years of research behind them, and it shows.
The top layer of the Stompa S Flex is a comfy knitted fabric. Below this, there’s a springy hypoallergenic foam with eggshell shaping followed by a base layer of supportive foam.
It’s made to see your kids through from toddler to teenage years, so there’s a washable, replaceable cover. Best of all, it’s all breathable to stop kids getting clammy at night.
Key specs – Type: Memory foam; Depth: 150mm; Tension: Medium firm; Sizes available: Single, continental single; Warranty: 5 years
2. Little home at John Lewis Hampshire Wool Pocket-Spring Mattress: Best no-turn children’s mattress
Price: £299 | Buy now from John Lewis
Made from a Hampshire wool and cashmere mix, this John Lewis mattress won’t make your child hot and sticky and should their body temperature begin to rise, its fibres will help to bring it back down. And despite this, it’s still warm and snug in the depths of winter.
It’s also pocket sprung, making it instantly comfortable, supportive, and robust enough to keep going for years. It has medium-tension springs, so it’s a great all rounder in terms of softness.
There’s no need to turn it, although John Lewis does recommend rotating it from head to toe. Note there’s a polyester layer and it has a flame resistant treated mattress cover, so unlike The Woolroom mattress further below, it isn’t completely natural or free from chemicals.
Key specs – Type: Pocket sprung; Depth: 200mm; Tension: Medium; Sizes available: Single; Warranty: 7 years
3. Silentnight Rolled Foam Junior Bunk Bed Mattress: Best children’s mattress for a bunk bed
Price: £150 | Buy now from John Lewis
Bunk, cabin and raised beds often have a little less room than you’d need for a standard single mattress, so this fantastic buy from Silentnight is less thick than what you may be used to from adult mattresses. But at 14cm, it fits these types of beds perfectly.
The memory foam mattress is a great deal more substantial than it looks, with a wonderfully comfortable medium-tension support. It comes rolled, and then expands when unpacked, so make sure your kids are there to enjoy watching it “grow” to full size. It will give off that characteristic memory foam pong for the first few days, but be assured, the chemical smell is not dangerous, and fades quickly.
Key specs – Type: Memory foam; Depth: 140mm; Tension: Medium; Sizes available: Single (90 x 190cm); Warranty: 5 years
4. Eve Lighter mattress: Best bed-in-a-box mattress for kids
Price: From £348 (single) | Buy now from Eve
This budget alternative to Eve’s flagship Original is a great option for foam first-timers. Its two-layered construction, one layer fewer than the Eve Original, helps to keep its weight and price down but does mean it may lack stability for adults and couples. No such problem for kids, who’ll find it amply supportive, even on a slatted bed base. It’s also light enough to turn very easily, which you should do each month for the first year.
Like all bed-in-a-box mattresses the Eve Lighter mattress gives off a faint chemical smell when you first unroll it, but it’s milder than with some rival mattresses and doesn’t last long. The foams used by Eve are all independently tested to ensure they contain no harmful chemicals.
One more thing to bear in mind is the Lighter mattress feels warmer than a traditional pocket-sprung surface. Some children may find it uncomfortably warm – while others will welcome the cosiness in the colder months.
Read our full length review of the Eve Lighter mattress here
Key specs – Type: Memory foam; Depth: 190mm; Tension: Medium/firm; Sizes available: Single, double, king, super king; Warranty: 10 years
5. Silentnight Healthy Growth: Best firm mattress for growing children
Price: From £189 (single) | Buy now from Mattress Online
Silentnight is a well-known mattress brand that has created some innovative children’s mattresses over the years. One such mattress is the competitively priced Healthy Growth, which is open sprung and doesn’t sag.
Available in single, small double or double, it’s on the firm side but is comfy and offers all the support little ones need when growing. The fibre filling should please eco-warriors, because it’s made from recycled bottles that help to keep it breathable. The mattress is also free of chemicals and hypoallergenic, so a good option for kids with allergies.
Key specs – Type: Open coil; Depth: 250mm; Tension: Medium/firm; Sizes available: Single, small double, double; Warranty: 5 years
6. Sealy Activsleep 1800 Pocket Sprung Memory Single Mattress: Best luxury mattress suitable for children
Price: From £500 | Buy now from Mattress Online
Sealy Activsleep mattresses don’t come cheap and they’re not made specifically for children. They’re also on the firm side of medium. But their extra layer of memory foam adds a pillow-like feel that makes it supremely comfortable for little sleepers.
The airflow is superb, despite the memory foam layer, which means your children won’t wake up dripping in sweat – a common problem for some children, who tend to get hotter at night than adults. And it ticks plenty of other boxes too: it’s hypoallergenic, doesn’t need turning, and offers support in all the right places. If you’re torn between pocket sprung and memory foam or latex, this hybrid mattress is worth the high price, but do check the chunky depth is suitable for your child’s bed.
Key specs – Type: Pocket sprung with memory foam layer; Depth: 270mm; Tension: Medium; Sizes available: Single, double, king; Warranty: 5 years
7. Woolroom Junior Mattress: Best mattress to keep children warm in winter and cool in summer
Price: £419 | Buy now from Woolroom
Wool is a miracle fibre when it comes to mattresses because it has excellent temperature and humidity control and is hypoallergenic, naturally flame resistant (chemical-free), renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
The Junior Mattress from Woolroom is designed as a child’s first mattress but will last up until they’re 12 years old. It should stay really comfy during this time, too, thanks to its pocket-sprung core, coir support pad and those all-important wool layers. Don’t forget to turn it, though – you should do so once a week for the first few months until the fillings have settled evenly. After that, it can be done once every few months.
Key specs – Type: Pocket sprung; Depth: 180mm; Tension: Medium; Sizes available: Single, single XL; Warranty: 5 years