Are you waving goodbye to the bleary-eyed baby days and lusting after a more restful routine? Well, in order to bank some more ZZZs for everyone involved, you’ll want to give your child’s mattress some thought.
"Your child does most of their growing whilst asleep so it is important that the mattress is of sufficient quality to support them properly," recommends Simon Williams, spokesperson for the National Bed Federation.
But what kind of filling works best for a child’s mattress? "Most types of sprung or foam mattresses are suitable for children," advises Williams. "Although foam ones with removable, washable covers are a good practical choice. If parents are concerned about chemicals used in foam production, then opt for a sprung mattress with layers of natural fillings such as wool and cotton." Companies are also moving away from traditional memory foam and using environmentally friendly alternatives.
Ready to shop now? Our current best buy is the Stompa S flex airflow pocket mattress (£229, Stompa.com)
When it comes to costs, ensure you weigh up your options. "As with most things in life, you get what you pay for," he adds. "Buy the best quality you can comfortably afford whilst remembering that your child grows very quickly and their body shape and weight will change."
In terms of safety, if you’re buying for a cabin or bunk bed, the top of the mattress needs to be at least 16cm below the top of the side/end rails to prevent rolling out of bed. Equally, as with all mattresses check it displays the BS 7177 label for flammability standards.
We are bringing ten of the best to your attention. When testing (alongside top five-year-old and 12-year-old snoozers) first and foremost we were looking for comfort, which meant we took a close look at breathability, durability and quality of materials.
We were looking for standout features such as zoned pressure point areas and washable covers too. While mattresses should be seen as an investment we also considered those that were best value for money.
The best kids mattresses for children 2021:
- Best overall – Stompa S flex airflow pocket mattress: £229, Stompa.com
- Best for safety – The Simba hybrid kids mattress: £259.35, Simbasleep.com
- Best for bunkbeds – Stompa S flex airflow mattress: £179, Stompa.com
- Best for cot transition – Little Green Sheep natural junior mattress single 90x190cm: £345.95, Thelittlegreensheep.co.uk
- Best for older kids – Natural mat the teen spring mattress 90 x 190cm: £740, Naturalmat.co.uk
- Best sustainable mattress – Jay-be corekids IR energy E2 memory mattress: £269.99, Made-to-last.co.uk
- Best for depth – Emma original: £246.95, Emma-mattress.co.uk
- Best waterproof mattress – SnuzSurface max junior mattress 90x190cm: £249.95, Snuz.co.uk
- Best for keeping its shape – Little Folks Furniture open coil single bed mattress: £232.75, Littlefolksfurniture.co.uk
- Best for posture – Silentnight imagine mirapocket 600 mattress: £239, Silentnight.co.uk
Stompa S flex airflow pocket mattress
Stompa, a family run business in West Yorkshire, is purely focused on a child’s bedroom, from the cabin bed to the mattress they sleep on, gaining them a strong reputation amongst parents. And for good reason; Stompa’s purse-friendly layered mattresses are tested on kids aged three to teen. Little sleepers will benefit from six layers with the S Flex Airflow Pocket Mattress, all playing important roles in contributing to a supportive yet comfortable child’s mattress. The standout features for us (and our five year old tester), has to be the mega four-inch 1000-count pocket springs, which are well covered by a springy, comfort layer that contours the body, optimises airflow, keeps nasty bug beds at bay, and also happens to give a good level of bounce!
At 15.5cm deep it can be used on any UK or continental-sized bunkbed, which offers flexibility as your family grow, particularly given the durability which will see this mattress stand the test of time. The brand has also recently introduced a CertiPUR approved free foam, which is better for the planet with no added TCPP (toxic fire retardant) and can be 100 per cent recycled. It also ensures you won’t get that industrial-like smell when you unroll it!
Unlike some kids mattresses, this one comes with a zip off base cover which can be washed at 30 degrees (but not to be tumble dried). It’ll help keep this mattress in tip-top condition and useful for bed spillages, leakages or whatever else is thrown at it. With change from £250, this is a high-quality mattress that’s cool, comfortable and supports growing bones.
The Simba hybrid kids mattress
Best: For safety
Simba has become the go-to brand for hybrid-in-a-box mattresses, but you may be asking what this means? Hybrids are multi-layered mattress combining foam, latex or gel with an innerspring system – giving you the best of both worlds. At 19cm deep, this mattress is packed with comfort technology, boasting five layers which all have different roles to play in producing the ultimate place to rest a sleepy child. The result? A super comfortable mattress that will support your growing child aged three upwards.
We’ve put this down to the marriage of the titanium Aerocoil pocket springs that move side-to-side and back-to-front allowing the weight to be well distributed with the two layers of comfortable foam. The foam isn’t just there for comfort either, as one of the two is aresponsive support foam that features clever edge support to help prevent kids from rolling off the bed. Every Simba mattress uses Simba-Pure, a purer foam that is free from pesky chemicals including TCPP.
It’s a versatile choice too, as this mattress can be used safely on shallow bunk beds. We also found that it performs well in the heat, as while the foam hugs the body, it simultaneously filters the heat off through the graphite particles, plus there’s a breathable surface on the top. We’d love to see the Simba hybrid kids mattress come with a built-in mattress protector, the brand does offer a superlative one but it’ll cost you an extra £90.
Stompa S flex airflow mattress
Best: For bunkbeds
For £50 less than the S flex airflow pocket mattress (£229, Stompa.com), only small steps behind is the S flex airflow mattress. To the naked eye, you get best bits of the higher-end mattress, with the only real difference being the removal of the pocket spring unit, hence the price reflection. Made in Yorkshire, this is the cheapest of all the mattresses we tested, but it’s low price point isn’t reflected in the product. Just a smidge thinner, this mattress is also bunkbed friendly and benefits from five plush layers of comfort. It’ll arrive cleverly vacuum packed and can be used from three years.
Little Green Sheep natural junior mattress single 90x190cm
Best: For cot transition
There’ll be no pulling the wool over parents’ eyes with this Natural Junior Mattress from Little Green Sheep. If you want to offer a pure sleeping space for your child then this is the mattress for you. Little Green Sheep specialises in natural, handmade mattresses for babies and children – all organic, premium quality without a nasty toxin or chemical in sight.
In fact, when you strip the mattress down it uses just four ingredients – wool, coconut fibre, natural latex and cotton. The brand believes that natural sleep isn’t just for babies, so its junior mattress offers all the same green qualities that the cot mattresses are known for. A layer of natural latex mimics the support of memory foam, working with the thousands of Coconut fibres to provide support and reduce pressure points. The addition of wool means it breathable, hypoallergenic, temperature regulating, anti-dust mite and a natural fire retardant, and lastly the cotton Herringbone cover provides durability, breathability and to hold everything in place and feels soft against delicate skin.
Designed for use from 12 months to 12 years this mattress makes a perfect transition from cot to the first bed and can also be used on a UK bunk bed. While it is the thinnest mattress of the bunch (13cm deep), it provides plenty of support and comfort particularly for pre-schoolers and under sevens (we couldn’t convince our 12-year-old tester on this one). The brand recommends purchasing a mattress protector which are available from them and highly regarded. It’ll keep your mattress in good health, particularly if any overnight accidents occur so it’s worth the extra £45.
The teen spring mattress 90 x 190cm
Best: For older kids
While just shy of teenager status, our 12 year old tester was lucky enough to sleep on this luxurious mattress from Naturalmat. The most expensive of all the mattresses we tested, as you’d expect it has a real hotel quality to it which has seen our young tester rather infatuated by it.
We can’t blame her, this mattress is bursting with quality, from the hand nested springs in cotton pockets and breathable coconut husk used in the filling, to the soft organic lambswool top layer. Not too soft, not too hard, the medium support still has a nice bounce to it. Finished with Greenfirst the cotton mattress is a great choice for allergy sufferers protecting against bed bugs, dust mites, mosquitoes and moths. Made by hand to order in Devon, using wool from local farms, there’s a whole host of sizes to choose from including the option to have a bespoke made to measure mattress.
Jay-be corekids IR energy E2 memory mattress
Best: For sustainability
It’s hard to believe that this mattress in part is made from 100 per cent recyclable plastic bottles, but that’s just a small nod to what this brand is doing to create more sustainable mattresses. The COREKIDSIR-energy E2 memory mattress uses 90 per cent less Co2 emissions, 99 per cent less water usage, and 99 per cent reduction on land space, and this is mainly thanks to the use of award-winning e-Fibre which is a more environmentally friendly alternative to memory foam, yet offers the same pressure-relieving support. Jay-Be’s mattresses are all 100 per cent foam-free, meaning there are no nasty chemicals.
While this brand may be active on greener manufacturing, how does the mattress fare? Arriving vacuum packed, the medium firmness was just right for our five-year-old tester, who can wriggle on this pocket sprung mattress without making a sound which is great for light sleepers. At 19cm deep, these mattresses are packed with comfort technology. One of which is a unique layer infused with bamboo charcoal to help naturally reflect some of this lost infrared energy back into the body. It is said to encourage blood flow, improve temperature regulation and increase metabolism, and while it’s hard to attest that over a two-week trial, it performed really well on particularly hot evenings and our young tester gave it two big thumbs up.
Best: For depth
Proud to be the UK’s most awarded mattress, the team at Emma are sure to be doing something right. While the brand doesn’t currently have a dedicated children design, the Emma original mattress’s features suit those aged three years and up, so it would be remiss of us not to test out this UK-made mattress.
First things first, our five-year-old tester was obsessed with the inflating process. Arriving in a neat cardboard box (which is impressive with a 25cm deep mattress), they use a special vacuuming process to gently compress and roll its products. Once removed from the box she loved watching it “grow”, while we praised this for being a more sustainable choice in terms of delivery. After a couple of hours it was ready for action, or shall we say slumber being an instant hit. Firmer than we anticipated, originally we were hesitant that the three-layer memory foam might mean our little tester would sink into the mattress too much, but it supports and conforms to the body instantly.
It was one of the most breathable too, as the open-cell core materials provide a self-contained ventilation system, keeping the mattress, and those sleeping on it, aerated. That, combined with an elastic cover made from special fibres that regulate humidity and keep moisture away, will keep kids cool. It’s also a doddle to remove and wash, keeping mattress maintenance at an all-time low.
SnuzSurface max junior mattress 90x190cm
Best: Waterproof mattress
You may have formed a relationship with British brand Snuz from your baby days with the renowned SnuzPod. Now that you’re moving through childhood, you’ll be pleased to hear that for 2021 the brand has released a next generation mattresses. With four mattresses in the SnuzSurface range, there’s a mattress for baby’s first sleep through to 13 years old. We tested out the SnuzSurface max junior mattress, designed for those aged four to 13.
Arriving vacuum packed, you’ll need to unroll and leave the mattress to rest for seven days for it to reach its full size (choose from 90x190cm or European single 90x200cm, both 17cm deep), worth bearing in mind if you’re in urgent need. After a week we put it to the real test... sleep. Our tester took no time to snuggle down (and bounce) on this mattress. The pocket springs are sandwiched by a firm foam layer, topped by a 3D breathable mesh cover that is waterproof, fully removable and washable, and all these elements contribute to a comfy sleep environment for a growing child.
Little Folks Furniture open coil single bed mattress
Best: For keeping its shape
The clue is in the title with Wiltshire-based Little Folks Furniture, and the outcome of a child-focused brand is a company you can trust to provide good quality kid products. And that’s certainly demonstrated in the Open coil single bed mattress, it’s one of the deepest we tested at just over 20cm, which is plumply filled with an open coil sprung unit consisting of 192 springs, fear not though you won’t feel the support as it’s covered by a comfort barrier, but it’s more obvious than a pocket-sprung mattress, particularly when changing sleep positions.
Other things in its favour are the hand tufting and sewn fluted side, which keeps all the layers in place and preserve its shape, and is finished off with a 100 per cent cotton cover which we found to be particularly breathable. We love that all its mattresses are handcrafted in Wiltshire.
Silentnight imagine mirapocket 600 mattress
Best: For posture
Measuring at 23.5cm deep, this is the deepest child-specific mattress we tested. But did that make an impact on the comfort it provided our 12-year-old tester?
With 600 individual Mirapocket springs (Silentnight’s own take on pocket springs) this mattress is targeted towards healthy growth, particularly important given kids do the majority of their growing during sleep. The Mirapocket springs have been placed in specific zones to offer reactive support to the areas that need it the most, such as the shoulders and hips, helping to align the spine and improve posture. This feature was welcomed by our injury-prone and sporty reviewer who commented on how supported she felt on this mattress.
Other standout features are that you won’t find any fire retardant chemicals, nor will you find any foam as this mattress is made using eco comfort fibres, which are made from 100 per cent recyclable plastic bottles. While doing its bit for the planet, it’ll also ensure your child stays cool thanks to the extra-breathable comfort layer.
The verdict: Children’s mattresses
The Stompa S flex airflow mattress isn’t the most expensive in our round-up, but it still gets the biggest thumbs up because it’s so well suited to growing kids. We also think the Little Folks Furniture high bed pocket sprung mattress should get a special mention for being so comfy and well made.
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