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Is a Memory Foam Mattress Good for a Child? 

 December 1, 2020

By  Marc Laurance

Memory foam is one of the most popular choices for mattresses. However, many parents wonder if it’s the right mattress for children.

Memory foam mattresses are good for children aged 5 and above. They support good posture and are hypoallergenic, making them suitable for kids who are prone to allergies while supporting their growing spine.

Having said that, not all memory foam mattresses are made equal. To be sure that you’re selecting the right one for your child’s needs, read on to find out what else to consider.

There are many kinds of mattresses out there, though many parents prefer that their child use a memory foam mattress because it has so many benefits:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Supports spine growth
  • Prevents growth of dust mites

Aside from that, memory foam can last up to 10 years as long as it’s properly maintained.

How to Choose the Right Memory Foam Mattress for Your Child

Here’s what you should look for when shopping for a memory foam mattress for your child:

Size

A twin (38” x 75”), short twin (34” x 75”), or twin XL (38” x 80”) is ideal for kids. Since children continue growing, what may be the right size for him or her, may not fit in the future.

Kind of memory foam

The most popular kind of memory foam is traditional and it also has the widest choice of variety. Traditional memory foam reacts to the sleeper’s body heat, forms to their unique shape in order to reduce pressure points while giving you restful sleep. However, if your child tends to get hot during their sleep or you live in warmer climates, gel memory foam is recommended. A high-density traditional memory foam is the most hypoallergenic option.

Gel memory foam is made with gel beads that encourage air flow plus all the other benefits of traditional memory foam. It also has a higher resistance to dust mites. Latex memory foam is another good alternative for those who don’t have a latex allergy; it’s also an eco-friendly option and is considered the most hypoallergenic mattress among all kinds.

Density

Lower density memory foam is recommended for children since they are light and don’t put excessive weight on its surface. Low density foam means less foam is used in the mattress. It’s more affordable and also means that it’s much softer than high density options. The downside to low density is that their lifespan is shorter than others. If your child is older or weighs more, you may want to opt for medium density.

Another consideration is how a child sleeps. Those who sleep on the side will be more comfortable with a less dense mattress since it adjusts better to the curve of the shoulders and hips. On the other hand, those who sleep on the back or stomach will be more comfortable with medium density foam.

Thickness

Memory foam is naturally supportive, and sleepers usually only feel the first 3 to 4 inches. If you have chosen low density foam, it’s best to go with a thicker option to avoid sinking in. 

Standardized testing certifications

Some memory foam mattresses are simply better than others. You can tell by the presence (or lack thereof) any standardized testing certifications. Those that are certified by Certipur-US are considered superior in the mattress industry so you can be sure your child is sleeping on only the best. The benefits of a Centipur-US certification include:

  • They are manufactured without the use of harmful phthalates
  • No lead, mercury, or other heavy metals
  • No formaldehyde
  • No flame retardants
  • Low volatile organic compounds

It’s always best to check for any chemicals that go into the manufacture of the bed before buying one for your child. You can’t go wrong selecting environmentally-friendly and plant-based memory foam options which are both safe and healthy.

However, memory foam products in general have been known to retain body heat. This may cause the sleeper to be uncomfortable during the warmer months. To combat this, simply adjust the blanket or thermostat based on the season for the comfort of your child. New memory foam tends to off gas, which is when it releases an unpleasant chemical odor. Though there are no side effects, off gassing can be avoided by airing out the mattress for at least 24 hours before placing sheets on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a memory foam mattress not suitable for kids?

Memory foam mattresses aren’t suitable for infants and toddlers. Infants need to sleep on a cool surface since they are still unable to regulate their own body temperatures and memory foam is too hot. Additionally, memory foam can pose a serious risk for infants and toddlers since these mattresses can create pockets that may cause suffocation. To stay on the safe side, be sure your child is at least 5 years of age or older in order to use this mattress type.  

Memory foam is also more sensitive to weight, so it isn’t ideal for 2 kids who are sharing the same bed unless they are of the same weight. The difference in weight will mean that whenever one person moves during their sleep, they could wake up the other.

It is also not ideal for kids who are extremely sensitive to temperatures since the material absorbs heat from the body. For this case, look out for memory foam that is already equipped with an air exchange system.

How firm should a memory foam mattress be for a child?

Medium-soft is the recommended firmness for children. This is determined by a mattress’s indentation load deflection (IDL), a metric in the mattress industry that tells you how soft or firm it is. A truly medium memory foam has an ILD value between 24 and 26, and it also happens to be the industry standard for the most supportive and embracing firmness preferred by a majority of people.

How should a memory foam mattress be maintained for a child?

Memory foam mattresses require some maintenance for it to be kept in good condition for your growing child. The first thing that should be done upon purchase is to air the mattress out for at least 24 hours to get rid of the chemical odor.

It should be rotated regularly from heat to foot. The recommended rotation schedule is every three months since this averts depressions from forming in areas that experience the most pressure from a child. Make sure that it doesn’t get wet: when memory foam mattresses absorb fluid, this causes it to deteriorate quickly. If your child bed wets, keep the mattress protected by using a mattress cover, pad, flat sheet, or under pad.

A good bed base also helps keep the mattress in top condition. Ideally, the bed base is sturdy and without any major gaps. If the base has slats, it should be between 10-15cm in width and the gaps shouldn’t be over 5cm. If the mattress is placed in a bed base with a large gap, uneven support will cause quicker deterioration.

Since memory foam is extra sensitive to heat, avoid placing it near strong sources of heat. Hot water bottles and electric blankets shouldn’t be used with it because these heat sources will affect the performance of the foam and could even damage it. A washable mattress cover is a quick and simple way to keep memory foam mattresses in good condition as well.

Our Recommended Memory Foam Mattresses for Children

There are many high-quality memory foam mattresses in the market that are ideal for children. These are some popular models, and they are all available on Amazon as well:

-   Lucid 5 Inch Gel Memory Foam With Bamboo Charcoal Mattress
-   Bubble Bear Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress
-   Amerisleep AS1
-   Sweetnight Full Size 10 Inch Mattress

Marc Laurance


Hi, I'm Marc. I'm the staff writer for Bedzine. I have a passion for interior design, especially bedroom aesthetic - and I hope to inspire you with new bedroom ideas each week.

Marc Laurance
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