How to Choose a Mattress for a Child (And Why Bigger is Better)

Choosing a mattress for your child can be a difficult decision – but it doesn’t have to be! Here are our best tips on how to choose a mattress for a child to make this big investment a little bit easier.

How to Choose Your Child’s Mattress

Thank you to Sears for partnering with us on this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Back when I was pregnant with Oliver, Forrest and I decided we wanted to upgrade to a King sized mattress.

The first place we went offered to throw in a cheap-o child-size mattress with our purchase out of the goodness of their hearts (Ha!).

We didn’t end up getting a mattress from them, and you know, I’m glad we didn’t get that free mattress either.

Because I’ve realized over the past few years how important having a good quality mattress is – even for children.

In fact, I think that having a good mattress for our children may be even more important than having a good mattress for us (though, I definitely sleep MUCH better in our good mattress than I did on the Queen we bought off Craigslist from some random person…ah, the joys of being poor and newly married!).

Sleep during the adolescent years is so crucial – and when you are sleeping on a mattress that isn’t that great, it really can affect sleep…which can, in turn, affect a lot of other things. Lack of sleep with children can result in:

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  • More aggressive behavior
  • Poor performance in school
  • Overactivity
  • More risk of injury
  • Irritability

So today I wanted to share just a few things to keep in mind when choosing a mattress for your child! Hopefully this will help you make a good decision for your child. A mattress is definitely an investment – but it’s worth making the right choice.

Child Mattress Size

First of all, let’s talk about what size mattress to even get.

This will depend on a variety of factors:

  • How old is your child?
  • What size bed frame do you have?
  • How long do you want this mattress to last?
  • How big is your child?

Obviously, if you are buying a mattress for your infant, that’s going to be a lot different than buying a mattress for your teenager.

There are several sizes you can consider:

  • Infant
  • Toddler (often infant mattresses can be double as a toddler)
  • Twin
  • Full
  • Queen
  • King

I think most people typically think of a twin sized mattress for their child once they are past the toddler stage. That’s the size all the kids in my family had!

And this makes sense. They are typically less expensive, most children fit in them just fine, and you can have multiple in one room (if you have children sharing a room). If you have inherited old box springs or frames for a twin bed, this can make the most sense as well.

If your child has a convertible crib, this can be a great way to save money on mattresses and frames as well. Their infant mattress can last through from the crib stage to the toddler bed stage – and then it turns into a full-size mattress frame, which is awesome.

We are big fans of getting larger sized beds earlier on for a few reasons. We partially stumbled into doing this because we got a bunk bed that had a full-size bed on the bottom. Because Oliver was too little for the top, we put him on the bottom (he actually went straight from sleeping in our room/bed to a bed. Just skipped the crib all together!).

It ended up being the best decision! We LOVE having a full-size bed there, and if we ever have a bigger house, I don’t think any room in our house will have smaller than a full size. Ideally, bigger is better!

Here are a few reasons why:

  • I lay down with Oliver and night, and if he wakes up at night, I will often just fall back asleep on his bed with him. So much easier to do this on a bigger bed! This is probably my favorite reason for having a bigger bed.

  • It will grow with him. I have friends who have big teenagers who just are not comfortable in a twin size bed.
  • It’s a lot easier to let guests sleep on it! If we have people stay, we can easily bring the boys in our room, and they can use the boys’ room. I hate making adults (especially couples) squeeze into a twin!
  • My parents have switched all their old twin size beds to a queen and full size over the past few years so their grown children and our families can stay more comfortable. This meant getting new bed frames and box springs too. Someday when my kids are grown, we might not have to make the same transition. I’m a big believer in spending a *little* bit more to make something last longer!

When we first got the bunk bed, we had a full-size mattress to put on it that we’d been given a few years prior…however, I HATED it. It was SO uncomfortable, and I don’t think anyone liked it.

So when we had the opportunity to get a new mattress from Sears, you better believe I jumped all over it! We recently got a Serta iComfort Hybrid Blue Fusion 300 mattress, and it’s been such a big upgrade. At the end of this post, I share a little more about this mattress so you can see if it’s a good option for your family (it comes in every size from twin to king – so no matter what size you go with, you should be good to go!)

Obviously, it’s not always in the budget to get a larger bed – and we definitely don’t advocate getting something that doesn’t fit in your budget. But if you can justify spending a little bit more to get a bigger bed, I recommend it 100%. If your child is younger, like Oliver, you can put up guard rails so they don’t fall off.


What kind of warranty does your mattress have? Do they offer a sleep program – where, if after a certain number of days, you can’t stand the bed – you can return it?

Warranties are important with mattresses! You want to make sure you are getting a mattress a company stands behind. With many of the mattresses you can buy through Sears, they have great warranties. For instance, with the mattress we recently got for Oliver’s bed, it has a 10-year limited warranty, which is awesome. You are technically supposed to swap out your mattress after about eight years, so it’s really encouraging to see they offer something that even goes past that.


For an infant, you have to have a firm mattress – there’s really no way around that. However, as they get older, you can decrease the firmness. There are even some infant mattresses that can be flipped over to be less firm for a toddler (which can be great if you have one of those convertible cribs that turn into a toddler bed).

If your child is older than a few years old, then let them help you pick out the firmness! Take them into the mattress store and let them try out different mattresses to figure out what their preference is. If they are going to be sleeping on it, I definitely think they should get an opinion on how it feels.


Lastly, what is the mattress made out of? Some mattresses have a lot of chemical in them – and really, you probably don’t want your child exposed to them! So make sure you know what’s in the mattress you bought. There are a lot of opinions on what should and should not be in a mattress, so I would just encourage you to do your research and make the best decision you can based off that.

Breaking in Period

One thing to keep in mind is that it can take time to get used to a mattress.  So if you get your mattress and you don’t love it right away – don’t be hasty to send it back right then. It may just take some time!

Most mattress companies offer a trial period to allow you to have adequate time to decide if you like it or not, which is great.

Although Oliver is the one sleeping on the Serta iComfort Hybrid mattress,


Beyond a mattress, what else do you need? A comforter, some sheets (a couple sets can be helpful) and a pillow are definitely a must. Here are two more things we typically recommend:

  • A waterproof mattress protector – no matter the age of your child, this can be SUPER helpful to have. Whether your child has an accident in the night, gets sick, or just spills their water, you want to make sure your mattress is protected. They are too expensive to replace because of water damage! Waterproof mattress protectors are fairly inexpensive, and they can increase the longevity of the mattress for a long time.
  • Bed Rail – if your child is younger, this is a great tool to have to prevent them from rolling out. We have had one for Oliver since he was 16 months, and it’s always worked really well. No falling out around here!

Where to buy? 

Choosing where to buy a mattress can be the hardest decision! There are SO many options, and it can be feel so overwhelming.

As I mentioned, we recently got our newest mattress from Sears. Sears is a very reputable brand, and they have a huge variety of mattresses in a variety of sizes.

Here are a few reasons to consider them:

  • Huge variety of mattresses – and from top mattress brands. There is definitely something for everyone. Check out their selection here.
  • 180-night comfort guarantee – most companies I’ve seen and worked with offer just 100 days, so having an extra 80 days on top of that to make sure you LOVE your mattress is HUGE. It’s definitely one of the longest in the industry. Because a mattress can be a big financial investment – and it can really affect your quality of sleep – it’s so important to make sure you and/or your child love the bed.
  • They have a knowledgeable “dream team” that can help you figure out what bed is best for your circumstances. I definitely recommend going in store to try out mattresses before buying them.
  • Free delivery over $599 – and delivery is fast! Some are available next day, but most come within a week.
  • Sears will haul away olde mattresses for a small fee. Believe me – this is worth doing. In the past, we’ve tried to get rid of mattresses ourselves, and it always ended up being a huge pain. Mattress recycling places can be expensive!

We had ours delivered by Sears, and they were SO fast and helpful. They had the mattress in and out within minutes, and it was all done without any damage or dirt to the mattress.

Serta iComfort Hybrid Blue Fusion 300 Mattress Review

So I just wanted to give a quick review on this mattress in case you are interested in getting one for your child. We got this in a full-size, but it’s available in every size from twin up to king!

This mattress seemed about twice as tall as our old mattress! It was kind of funny putting it on the bunk bed, because the clearance was a lot shorter. However, as soon as we put it in, and I tried it out, I noticed an immediate difference.

I am a big fan of hybrid beds that combine pillow top with gel memory foam. This is the type of bed Forrest and I have, and I just think it’s the most comfortable way to sleep.

This mattress has Serta’sTempActiv™ Gel Memory foam with two layers of EverCool® Fuze foams, which increases breathability. One of the issues people have with memory foam mattreses is that it can sometimes trap the heat, but EverCool® Fuze foams help to prevent this.

The mattress also offers extra support from the Serta® Hybrid Coil™ support system. It really does combine the best features of different types of mattresses into one.

Obviously, Oliver is the one sleeping on the mattress the most, and it’s a little bit hard to get an opinion from an almost three-year-old on what the thinks about his mattress. In fact, when I just asked him what he thought about his mattress he said, “I want to sleep in your bed.” Ha! He just likes to sneak in my bed at night 🙂

However, I have spent a fair amount of time laying down on it (while laying down with him, or when I go in when he wakes up and just crash on the bed), so I think I can give an honest review of it.

When I first laid down on it (literally minutes after the Sears team delivered it and set it up), I could tell an immediate difference. The last mattress was FIRM, and I don’t do well with that. I felt like I just sunk right in, and it felt like a pillow.

However, I have to be honest! The first few nights I slept on it – I was NOT comfortable. I felt achy when I woke up, and it just wasn’t “my bed.” I had to remind myself that this is very typical of any new mattress, and it just takes time to break it in.

We’ve had it for over a month now, and I can now say that it’s finally starting to be broken in, and I am finding it to be very comfortable. The pillow top does feel like you are sleeping on a pillow. It’s not the softest bed I’ve ever slept on, but it’s definitely good enough to sleep on and not feel like you are sleeping on a board.

I am very impressed with how not hot I feel sleeping in this bed. I overheat at a lot at night, and I do think the EverCool Fuze foam helps immensely. I was just laying on it without the sheets, and I could actually feel coolness emanating from it. It’s pretty cool!

After Oliver falls asleep at night, I try and slip off, and I haven’t found that motion transfers at all, which is really great.

Overall, I definitely think this is a high-quality mattress. If your child (or you!) wants a mattress that it’s a little softer, keeps them cool at night, and will last a long time, then I definitely recommend going into Sears to try this one out.




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1 Comment

  • Your bunk bed sounds amazing! And we went cheap on our daughter's mattress, and our son's mattress is way comfier! We'll have to look at getting her a new mattress!

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