A child may be ready for a pillow after 18 months, which may coincide with the transition from crib to bed. Parents should discuss with their child’s pediatrician before introducing a pillow to confirm that the timing is right.
Here are some things to consider when purchasing a pillow for children.
- Size: Choose a pillow that is the right size for the age of the child using it. A pillow that is too large could be a suffocation risk. For example, toddler pillows should be around 13-by-18 inches, where children ages 4 through 6 years could use a slightly larger pillow, approximately 16-by-22 inches.
Firmness: Neck support is important for children, especially toddlers with weaker neck muscles. A child may not be comfortable with a firm pillow initially, but it is safer and preferrable to one that is too soft. Remember, toddlers are accustomed to sleeping with no pillow on a flat surface.
Consider an adjustable pillow that allows the fill to be changed and customized according to kid preferences as they grow.
- Materials: Avoid pillows that contain small pieces, like beads, beans, balls, or pellets. These present a choking hazard. Additionally, choose a pillow made with organic or hypoallergenic materials, and steer clear of fill composed of natural feathers to prevent potential irritation or allergic reactions. Finally, a pillow that is at least partially machine-washable is key, since small children are susceptible to accidents and spills.
- Certifications: Look for a pillow that carries safety testing and compliance certifications. Independent labs perform tests according to established standards for each certification.
- Recommended age range: Review the manufacturer’s suggested guidelines, including the intended age range of the product. If a product says that it is not intended for children under 3 years old and you are shopping for your child’s first pillow, it is probably best to seek an alternative.
Too often, products for children rank aesthetics and cuteness above all else. Pillows are no different. They may be inappropriately-sized, made of low-quality materials, poorly designed for sleep, or all of the above. But there are quality options in a range styles and price points to satisfy both the discerning parent and the picky toddler.
Picking the Right Pillow for Your Kids
There are a million products for children in the world designed to support the head, neck, and shoulders. Travel pillows and car seats provide obvious clues that protecting the cervical spine is critical to the health and safety of a child. It is as important to create the same safe and supportive sleep environment at home as it is on the go. Choosing the right pillow for your child is the first step to a healthy spine and future of restful sleep.
At the age you are most comfortable with, whether you are purchasing for your youth or teenager, start to influence proper posture during your child's sleep.
The Neck Nest pillow is recommended for 10+ (talk to your pediatrician, they can assist with any questions you have).