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Choosing the Right Mattress Firmness for Your Child



Introduction to Mattress Firmness for Your Child

Selecting the optimal mattress firmness is crucial for providing children with the comfort and support they need for healthy development. The right firmness level allows a restful night’s sleep while keeping the spine properly aligned.

Factors like age, weight, and sleep style all impact what level of cushioning or support is best. This article provides a detailed guide on finding the ideal mattress firmness for kids of all ages.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Child’s Mattress

  • Child’s age and developmental stage – Firmness needs change as kids grow, with infants requiring ultra-firm and teens needing more cushioning. Select a mattress suited to their current developmental needs.
  • Child’s weight and height – Heavier kids require more support while lightweight kids need less firm options. Match mattress to current weight and height.
  • Any special health considerations – Allergies, injuries, or conditions may require specialized mattresses. Seek input from pediatrician.
  • Child’s sleep style and preferences – Kids who sleep on the side need more cushioning than stomach/back sleepers. Firmness should match sleep positions.
  • Type of mattress materials – Components like memory foam or latex foam impact mattress feel and support. Understand how materials affect firmness.

Mattress Firmness Guide by Child Age


Very firm, flat surface to reduce SIDS risk

Infants (1-12 months):

  • Firm mattress with cushioning for safety
  • Helps prevent suffocation risks
  • Provides posture support as bones develop

Toddlers (1-3 years):

  • Medium or medium-firm to balance comfort
  • Support is needed as they transition from crib
  • Softer than an infant mattress but still supportive

Pre-schoolers (3-5 years):

  • Medium mattress soft enough for pressure points
  • But still firm enough for spine alignment
  • Adapts to shifting needs of growing kids

Grade schoolers (6-12 years):

  • Medium-firm mattress tailored to weight and height
  • Accommodate growth spurts in pre-teen years
  • Provide both comfort and support as needed

Mattress Firmness Measurements

Overview of Different Firmness Scales

There are a few different systems used to measure mattress firmness:

  • Firmness rating out of 10 – Softer to firmer ratings from 1-10
  • Indentation load deflection (ILD) – Measuresload needed to compress the mattress

Most Common Scales

Firmness rating out of 10

  • Softer mattresses rate below 6
  • Medium around 6-7 rating
  • Firmer 8 or above

Indentation load deflection (ILD)

  • Softer mattresses below 20 pounds
  • Medium around 21-45 pounds
  • Firmer over 45 pounds

Soft Mattresses


  • More cushioning
  • Better motion isolation


  • Insufficient support
  • This can lead to misalignment

Best For

  • Lightweight kids
  • Kids who sleep on sides

Firmness Rating

  • Less than 6/10

ILD Rating

  • Less than 20 pounds

Medium-Firm Mattresses


  • Balance of softness and support
  • Works for most kids


  • May be too firm for some lighter kids

Best For

  • Majority of children
  • Offer the best spine alignment

Firmness Rating

  • 6-7/10

ILD Rating

  • 21-45 pounds

Firm Mattresses


  • Excellent support
  • Best for back and stomach sleepers


  • Not enough pressure relief
  • Not ideal for side sleepers

Best For

  • Heavier kids
  • Primarily back/stomach sleeping

Firmness Rating

  • 8/10 or higher

ILD Rating

  • Over 45 pounds

Mattress Materials and Firmness

The materials used in a mattress impact the overall firmness feel and support level:

Memory foam

  • Initially feels firm but conforms to shape
  • Provides more pressure relief
  • Less bouncy, better motion isolation
  • Softer feel than polyfoam

Latex foam

  • Made from rubber tree sap
  • More buoyant, bouncy feel
  • Naturally antimicrobial
  • Variety of firmness levels


  • Has steel coil support core
  • Amount of coils impacts firmness
  • More coils mean more support
  • Springier, bouncier feel


  • Combines foam and springs
  • Foam provides pressure relief
  • Springs offers support below

Signs Your Child’s Mattress is Too Firm or Too Soft

It’s important to monitor how well your child’s mattress provides comfort and support as they grow. Signs the mattress is too firm or soft include:

Too firm signs

  • Pressure points at shoulders, hips
  • Tossing and turning
  • Sleeping restlessly
  • Body stiffness or soreness

Too soft signs

  • Back or neck pain
  • Frequent awakenings
  • Mattress sagging, deep impressions
  • Difficulty turning over

If you notice these issues, it may be time to consider a different firmness level or mattress upgrade.

Finding the Right Balance of Comfort and Support

Choosing a child’s mattress ultimately comes down to finding the optimal blend of plushness for pressure relief and firmness for proper spinal support.

Tips for finding the right firmness:

  • Select medium or medium-firm for most kids
  • Go softer for lightweight side sleepers
  • Firmer better for heavier back/stomach sleepers
  • Adjust firmness as the child’s needs change
  • Replace mattress every 5-8 years

Monitoring comfort and regularly evaluating firmness fit will ensure your child’s mattress provides both healthy support and a good night’s rest.


A mattress with age-appropriate firmness is vital for children during developmental years. Consider factors like age, weight, sleep style, and materials to choose a mattress offering the right balance of cushioning and support. Optimal mattress firmness encourages healthy sleep, spinal alignment, and growth in kids.

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