Finding the best mattress for kids isn't as straightforward as you would think. Children have different sleep habits, require firmer levels of support, and have unique health considerations to carefully consider. Quality sleep is essential for the development of their bodies and their minds. So it should come as no surprise that the low-cost option may not be the best choice. As with all things, parents should be informed and educated consumers. It's our hope that this buyer's guide will provide invaluable assistance in purchasing the perfect mattress for your kids.
Children need more rest than adults. Kids ages 3 to 5 require 11-13 hours of sleep, while those between the ages of 5 and 12 need 10-11 hours, according to pediatricians. Studies have shown children that perform poorly in school get less quality sleep than those children that perform well. Furthermore, sleep-deprived children often have difficulty concentrating in school, behave poorly, display symptoms of ADHD, exhibit poor social skills, and tend to doze off in class.
Children are more susceptible to pollutants and harmful chemicals in their environment than adults because they're still growing, their immune and neurological systems are rapidly adapting and developing, and they breathe in proportionately more air. Furthermore, children have higher heart rates than adults and tend to breathe through their mouths (more so than adults), which increases the risk of pulmonary exposure to particulates and fibers and increases the speed at which these can be absorbed into the body. This means indoor pollutants, such as certain chemicals, particles and allergens, can cause more severe health effects in children. Unfortunately, indoor air quality is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to UL Environment, GREENGUARD Gold by UL Environment, Parson Healthy Materials Lab, and the U.S. Green Building Council.
The solution: Keep non-natural materials and harmful chemicals out of your child's mattress.
Polyurethane foams (e.g. poly foams, conventional foams, or viscoelastic foams) are petrochemical products. They're inexpensive to produce (and profitable), so they're commonly found in mattresses marketed for children and teens. They come in a wide variety of petrochemical mixes, colors, and brand names — and are sometimes infused with teas, corn oil, soy, or other organic materials to make them appear more "eco-friendly" and "natural." (Don't be fooled: Ask to view the legal label on the mattress. Avoid anything that says "eco foam," "bio foam," or "soy foam.")
As advocates for green living, we believe in avoiding poly foams in favor of natural alternatives. Not because petrochemicals are inherently harmful to human health, but because petrochemical foams are commonly paired, due to legal necessity and financial incentives, with harmful chemical adhesives and toxic chemical flame retardants. These are widely associated with off-gassing — the release of chemical odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over the life of the mattress — and harmful levels of indoor air pollution.
Polyurethane foams are inherently flammable. Because federal law requires all mattresses sold in the U.S. to meet flammability standards, chemical flame retardants are added to meet these requirements. The problem is chemical flame retardants are alarmingly toxic and known to end up in the environment and our bodies. They often do more harm than good. The solution is, therefore, to meet flammability safety requirements without the use of harmful chemical flame retardants.
We make our 100% GOLS organic certified Dunlop latex from tree-tapped and sustainably harvested rubber trees. 100% organic Dunlop latex is made with only natural ingredients. (Talalay latex also starts as natural latex, but requires additional chemicals and carbon dioxide gas in its production. As a result, we believe it is a less healthy and less eco-conscious choice.) Organic latex is an eco-conscious, high-performance material, offering resilience, durability, and temperature control that far exceeds synthetic, blended, or petroleum-based polyurethane foams. When searching for the best mattress for kids, look for green certifications, such as eco-INSTITUT, GOLS, or OEKO-TEX Standard 100.
Organic wool does what other natural and synthetic materials can not — it wicks away moisture, stays fresh, and acts as a natural fire barrier. Wool is also naturally anti-microbial, resistant to dust mites, and offers natural temperature control (to complement our natural latex). For a mattress that always stays fresh and cool, wool is an ideal material. Look for GOTS organic certified and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certifications.
One quarter of the world's pesticides are used in association with conventional cotton production. It is one of the world's most unhealthy crops. Steer clear of it. Organic cotton, however, is the complete opposite. Certified organic cotton is one of the softest, most breathable, and comfortable textiles made possible by mother nature. Look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification.
Think long-term, since natural mattresses can be extremely durable and easily last for your child's entire adolescent life, even into adulthood. So be sure to get a mattress large enough to accommodate for growth. A twin XL mattress may be better suited for taller children, while full- and queen-sized mattresses will provide additional room that many modern, middle-aged children prefer.
Proper support is essential for your child's bone and spinal development and to recharge their growing bodies and minds from their active days. Avoid soft and plushy sleep surfaces. Instead, opt for firmer sleep surfaces that provide ample cushioning while providing the support that active and growing children require. Natural latex mattresses, and those that combine latex with internal, zoned support systems like ours, are particularly well suited.
The GREENGUARD Gold Certification from UL Environment offers the most strict certification criteria for emissions standards for chemical exposure and pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and phthalates. It considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and the elderly), and ensures that a product is acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities. You can learn more about GREENGUARD Gold on our certifications page.
"I bought the Avocado mattress and pillow for my 4+ year old daughter. I am redecorating my son's (7+) room now. They both recently recovered from hives from a new rug (the bad). The episode drove us to Avocado Mattress (the good, great, best). We LOVE it!"
Martine W. | ★★★★★
With kids, life happens. So ALWAYS use a mattress protector, even if you are beyond the bed-wetting years. Of course, we prefer mattress protectors made with natural and organic materials. We suggest our absorbent Organic Cotton Mattress Pad Protector or our Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector — which don't contain vinyl, PVCs, or phthalates. In the event that the unforeseen happens without a protector, learn how to clean your mattress without using harmful chemicals. Never let any mattress (natural or synthetic) remain wet, so mold never has a chance to gain a foothold.
Don't forget a natural pillow. Pillows typically provide 20% of the body's needed support. A green and supportive pillow is the logical complement to a natural mattress and is much healthier than synthetic alternatives. Consider our Avocado Green Pillow.
For children with severe allergies, check with your allergist. Our mattresses, like any natural product, are not completely hypoallergenic. (In latex mattresses, most of the latex allergens that would potentially cause an allergy are washed away in the foam production process, plus there is no direct skin-to-latex contact.) Even so, about 1% of the U.S. population does have a latex allergy. Wool allergies are even less common.
Look at the warranty! If it is a quality product, the warranty will be at least 15 years, with the first 10 years offering full replacement value coverage, including return shipping. (Our warranty is 25 years!)
Look for quality, transparency, and a brand that you can trust.
Read the verified customer reviews from people that have actually purchased a mattress.
Ask to see the Law Label on the mattress. Required on all mattresses sold in the U.S., the Law Label reveals the hidden contents inside the mattress, using standardized terminology. No branded or marketing language is permitted. Ours is detailed right on our Avocado Green Mattress product page!
An Avocado Green Mattress is handmade in California with only the finest natural and organic materials, including 100% GOLS organic certified latex from tree-tapped and sustainable sources. There are no polyurethane foams to break down. No memory foams to off-gas. No solvent-based adhesives to emit chemical odors. And no chemical flame retardants to endanger your health.
Every Avocado Green Mattress is made simply with natural and organic materials: Our 100% GOLS organic certified latex is made from tree-tapped and sustainable sources, and is eco-INSTITUT certified by our manufacturer. Our wool is GOTS organic certified and OEKO-TEK 100 standard certified. Our cotton is GOTS organic certified. And our entire mattress is GREENGUARD Gold certified — tested to meet the most rigorous emissions standards for chemical exposure and pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and phthalates. It is non-toxic, eco-conscious, and perfectly firm with premium encased coils to support growing children and teens.
Best of all, every Avocado Green Mattress features a 1-year sleep trial, free shipping, free return pickups, available 0% APR financing, and a best-in-class 25 year warranty.
"I was a little skeptical taking a chance on a mattress that I never saw in person but I'm so glad I did. I read many reviews from different brands but decided to take the leap of faith with Avocado. I bought 2 twin pillowtop mattresses that my kids are currently sleeping on and will be buying a queen soon. I'm so happy I read so many reviews because one of them led me to this company and saved us from living a mattress horror story. Thank You Avocado for being the perfect fit for our family."
— Lauren O. | ★★★★★