Just as with adults, a mattress is one of the most important purchases you will ever make for your child. A supportive and comfortable one will guarantee a good night’s rest as your little darling grows – which hopefully means the whole house will sleep more soundly.
First up, you’ll need a safe, quality mattress for your baby’s cot. The Lullaby Trust advises that babies should ideally sleep on a brand new mattress and this should always comply with the current British Standards. It should be firm and flat and protected with a waterproof cover. Trust us, that’s non-negotiable.
Once your child moves into a bigger bed at age three or four, remember they are likely to use the same mattress for several years so it needs to support their growing weight. Mattresses can be sprung or foam, with pocket sprung options usually the most expensive. If you plan to use it on a cabin or bunk bed, be sure to choose one at least 16cm below the top of the rails for safety too.
If your child has allergies, go straight for a hypoallergenic mattress to help them snooze undisturbed or if you’d prefer to avoid chemicals regardless, plump for one with natural fillings like wool or cotton. A removable or washable cover is always a good idea to keep the mattress as good as new even when accidents happen.
We considered support, practicality, breathability and cost when finding our favourite mattresses and roped in junior testers to judge the all-important cosy factor.
Best kids mattresses
Woolroom Junior Mattress
Eco-conscious parents will love this all-natural mattress that our youngest tester loved so much he didn’t even grumble when it was time for bed. Well, not much anyway.
It’s not cheap but has a traditional pocket sprung core with a whopping 1000 springs and is made of wool and alpaca fibres that naturally regulate your child’s temperature. All fibres are sourced and made within 35 miles of Manchester to minimise the mattress’ carbon footprint and the cover is made with 100 per cent organic cotton woven in Lancashire. Hypoallergenic and naturally flame retardant, we loved the fact this was a healthier alternative to synthetic mattresses and were really wowed by its plush, supportive feel which seemed to really help our often-disturbed mini-tester sleep more deeply (and even – gasp! – a little longer). It comes in various sizes too including extra-large single, cot and cot bed. Bear in mind the single we tested is only recommended up to the age of 12, so we’d advise buying as soon as the big bed beckons to get maximum value for money.
Simba Hybrid Kids Mattress
It’s hard to believe just how comfy this mattress can be when you see how slender it is on arrival - vacuum packed for easy lifting to the room of your choice. Once properly opened, it’s still super slimline so can be safely used on bunk beds but packs in a dreamy five layers of scientific innovation to guarantee silent nights. These include a zoned base layer of thermoregulating foam, a high-definition foam layer with intelligent edge support to prevent accidental rolling off the bed and titanium Aerocoil pocket springs to distribute body weight and regulate heat. There’s an extra foam layer to keep grown ups comfy when they’re snuggling up for bedtime stories too (or dozing off after them…). Our junior tester claimed it felt like sleeping on a cloud but you can try it risk-free for 200 nights to guarantee it gets a thumbs-up in your house.
Little Folks Furniture High Bed Pocket Sprung Mattress
Make sure safety comes first if you’re planning on bunk beds in your child’s room. Though a standard single mattress may fit, it’s better to use a specially designed mattress for the top bunk as these are thinner to prevent the chance of rolling over and falling out. This one is hand-made in Wiltshire and is extremely comfortable, designed to be just 15cm thick to be compatible with high beds including sleepers. Everything else is the same as the company’s other premium children’s mattresses. This high bed version is medium-firm, has sewn-fluted sides and hand-tufting and has a hefty 607 individual springs sewn into pockets to create the core unit. There’s a wool and cotton layer for comfort plus a 100 per cent cotton twill cover for maximum breathability. It’s a bunk bed no-brainer in our book.
Little Big Dreams Star Gazer Foam Kids Mattress
This premium, PVC-free memory foam mattress was a big hit with our teen tester, who felt its firm, supportive surface offered great support and less bounce-ability than other sprung mattresses. It’s only suitable for children age 5 and over, so wouldn’t work for that very first big bed as memory foam is best suited to older growing bodies. However, we were really impressed by how comfortable it was given the mattress is only a slender 15cm deep, making it suitable for higher sleeper beds too. It has a fantastic removable, washable top panel, which is a godsend for bouts of illness or spillages. There’s also a water-repellent layer underneath so the mattress can still be used once the top panel is removed and if all else fails, the mattress can be turned over too. Otherwise, there’s no need to turn fully, just rotate it head to toe once a month and it will keep it shape nicely.
Happy Beds Little Champ 800 Pocket Spring Reflex Foam Orthopaedic Mattress
This fantastically-priced orthopaedic mattress doesn’t cut any corners on comfort. Made in the UK, it has 800 individually nested pocket springs, 10mm of relax foam for support and is hypoallergenic and anti-dust mite. It’s good to know it offers extra support for your child’s delicate spine too. Unusually for a mattress aimed at children, it comes in sizes including single, double, king size and even super king size and even the biggest is still reasonably priced. All are 15cm thick so can be used on high beds and bunks too. The removable cover for easy washing is another bonus. We particularly loved the fact it comes vacuum packed and rolled, making it a doddle to open and unroll on the bed itself rather than struggling up the stairs with a full-size mattress.
Best cot mattresses
The Little Green Sheep Twist Natural Cot Mattress
Keep your baby well away from any nasties with this ingenious award-winning mattress. Handmade without any chemicals or fire retardant sprays, the dual-sided cot mattress offers firm support for babies and a softer, medium-level support with added snuggle factor for toddlers on the other side. It’s breathable and insulating to help regulate your little one’s body temperature and made using entirely natural ingredients including cotton, coconut, latex and wool. The thin wool layer provides firm support for a baby and naturally absorbs and disperses moisture, making it resistant to dust mites and bacteria. Cleverer still, the mattress comes in a range of sizes to fit specific cots from Ikea, SnuzKot and Stokke and you can even have it custom-made if you have an awkward-shaped cot. Just be aware that the outer cover is not removable so a separate waterproof mattress protector is required to guard against those unexpected nappy leakages.
Ickle Bubba Pocket Sprung Cot Bed Mattress
This pocket sprung cot mattress gets full marks for practicality as it comes with a removable and washable cover that could turn out to be a life-saver when accidents (inevitably) occur. There are four versions to choose from but each one is 100 per cent breathable and super-luxe to the touch so all are good options for your precious bundle. The pocket sprung version is the cheapest, with individual pocket springs to support your baby’s back, neck and head while sleeping but if only the best will do, go for the Finest version. This has a dual core design with a firmer newborn-friendly surface on one side and a more cushioned surface for toddlers on the other, and is made with Coolmax fabric to keep your baby at the perfect temperature year-round. It also has 220 individual pocket springs so they’ll feel like they’re sleeping on air, plus that all-important removable zipped cover to keep it pristine.
Mamas & Papas Premium Dual Core Cotbed Mattress
There’s good reason this is the best-selling mattress from baby experts Mamas & Papas. This cosy cotbed mattress has the lot including anti-allergy fabric treatment to protect against bacteria, a dual core design with two-sided support for babies and toddlers and perspiration control treatment to reduce the chance of your baby sweating and keep them cool and comfortable. The hypoallergenic cover is removable and washable for easy cleaning and it comes with Purotex Technology, an active probiotic treatment against dust mites and allergens. We especially loved the wipe-clean inner to protect the core and the biodegradable eco-packaging it’s delivered in. If you’re in a pre-birth panic and unsure what to buy, you won’t go far wrong with this. Though remember this model fits a larger cotbed, so measure carefully and choose the smaller cot version if appropriate.
Purflo Breathable Cot Bed Mattress
All mattresses are not created equal. This clever version is unlike any other on the market and has a hollow core with a fully-breathable mesh sleep surface to allow maximum air circulation and keep your little one at a comfortable temperature. It has specialist antibacterial Amicor Pure fibre padding approved by Allergy UK and prevents pooling of CO2 on the mattress surface. But prepare to be baffled when it arrives. Curiously, this mattress is actually made of a series of bars that need to be assembled to form a base which the cover is stretched over then tightly secured. It’s a little tricky to get your head round and it certainly seems strange to put together a mattress but it’s super-snug when completed and can be taken apart for storage or travel as required. Best of all, it means the entire mattress cover can be completely removed and washed at 60 degrees to eradicate stains, dust mites and bacteria linked to child eczema and asthma. Seriously impressive.
The Woolroom Junior Mattress gets a thumbs up from us for its eco-credentials, supportive springs and temperature-regulating wizardry. However, the Happy Beds Little Champ 800 Pocket Spring Reflex Foam Orthopaedic Mattress is a great all-rounder for a fraction of the price and gets extra marks for easy installation.