How to Find the Right Mattress for a Child

Designer Leta Austin Foster

Because there are several factors to keep in mind when selecting the right mattress for your child, deciding which one to buy can be somewhat challenging. Unlike a bicycle or a pair of tennis shoes, a mattress is something that your child should be able to use for many years--so careful consideration should be taken to select one that will provide your child with countless nights of peaceful sleep. If your child needs a new mattress, here are some important things to keep in mind while you look for the perfect one.

Size

A mattress for a child should be able to accommodate and endure a number of growth spurts, so be sure to look for one that your child can grow into. Although a twin bed, especially an extra-long one, is usually adequate for most kids--a larger size such as a full or queen might be more comfortable as your child gets older. The size of your child's bedroom is also something that you need to consider because a small bedroom may not be able to accommodate too large a mattress. Since the mattress you choose should fit both your child and the room it will occupy, pay close attention to the mattress measurements as you look at all of your options.

Type

There are several types of mattresses to choose from, and while one type might be right for one child--it may not be the best option for another. The most common type of mattress purchased for children is an innerspring mattress. Innerspring mattresses depend on coils and layers of filling for support, and they are by far usually the most economical option. Innerspring mattresses vary in quality and level of support they can offer, as well as how many years of use you can expect to get out of them. This is due largely in part to the type of coils they contain. Go for the highest quality innerspring mattress you can afford if that's the type you end up choosing.

Memory foam mattresses are typically more expensive than innerspring mattresses. A memory foam mattress will contour to your child based on his or her body temperature--a unique feature that can be quite comfortable.

Latex foam is another type of mattress that is growing in popularity. If you opt to buy a latex foam mattress, though, it's best to choose one made out of natural latex instead of synthetic. Most natural latex mattresses offer excellent support because they mold themselves around the body to give just the right level of firmness.

If your child needs extra support, an air mattress might be an option worth considering. Air mattresses can adjust to fit a variety of sleep needs, including level of support. Because of this fact, they are usually much more expensive than other types of mattresses.

Support

To ensure proper bone development and decent support for the body as a whole, opt for a firm mattress instead of a soft one for your child. A mattress that sinks under the weight of your child is one that won't last long--and they probably won't sleep well on it, either. If you have questions about your child's sleep needs, ask his or her pediatrician for some advice before you purchase a new mattress. You can also consult with a sales associate while you shop to find out which mattresses will provide the most support for your child. In addition to professional opinions, take your child along when you shop and let them test out all of the options. Their input is the most important when it comes to making a final decision.

Materials

Mattresses are made from a variety of materials, so pay attention and ask questions to find out what they're made of before you make a purchase. It may surprise you to learn that many mattress fillings contain harsh chemicals, and those chemicals release dangerous gases into the very air that your child breathes while asleep. Read mattress tags to find out what's really inside, and so some research if you have any doubts. More and more mattresses are being made out of natural, organic materials such as cotton and wool in an effort to go green--and these materials are just as safe for your child as they are for the environment. Also, if your child suffers from asthma or allergies, be sure to look for materials that won't agitate their particular health condition.

Price

When you're looking for a mattress for your child, price can be a big factor if you're on a tight budget. If you find a mattress that's perfect for your child, take note of the brand and type--then find out if you can find it cheaper somewhere else. Take advantage of sales and rebates if they're offered so that you can get a great mattress at a price you can afford.

Knowing what to look for is the key to finding the right mattress for your child, so consider the all of the above factors while you shop. The time and effort put into finding a great mattress will result in many years of sweet dreams and restful sleep for your growing child.

Guest post from Bailey Harris.

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