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How do you choose a mattress for your child

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

Very often it is our habit to pay more attention to the bed base, bedding, pillowcases and all the frills that come with a child’s bed than the most important part: The mattress itself. The general attitude is that one get whatever is cheapest and on hand. This is a mistake there is probably no item in a child’s bedroom that is more important to his or her health than the mattress they sleep on every night. Children sleep longer, more often and more deeply than the average adult, and their mattress is a crucial part of their growth, health, attention span, memory, and stress level, among other things. The correct mattress plays an undeniable role in allowing the child to sleep deeply and wake up with a readiness to face the day ahead, strong and energised. Often a child’s first mattress needs to serve them for 10 years or more, even as they grow into their adult weight and stature. For this reason, it is advisable to take several factors into account when choosing a mattress for kids, and not buy a cheap mattress which will only give adequate support for a few years. There are many types of mattresses that are commonly bought for children, and parents should consider several health issues when buying a mattress for a child, but how do you know if you should go for foam or springs?

Foam or innerspring mattress for your child?

Foam or innerspring mattress for your child?

Mattress Types for Kids

Mattresses for children come in two different categories: Foam and springs. Before considering the host of other factors that are relevant to mattress shopping for kids, a parent should be sure to be aware of the basic mattress support types and different comfort levels. The support type refers to the basic construction of the mattress, whether it is filled with springs, foam, or a combination of both. The comfort level refers to the initial feel of the mattress and different manufacturer’s ratings for the feel of the mattress, like firm or soft.

Support Types:

Most mainstream beds available for sale are either made entirely of foam, or are made with springs as a support layer with comfort layers of foam on either side of the springs, or only one side, if the mattress is a no turn one. The different beds have different feels to them as well as the type of support that they give.

Innerspring Open Coil:

A good ole’ innerspring mattress is the traditional choice for a budget-friendly mattress that will last for a few years in most families. Although not as durable as other mattress types, the basic open coil mattress is not likely to wear out quickly from just the weight of a small child and will serve well for a good few years. Open coil mattresses for sold at The Mattress Warehouse include Rest Assured and Edblo.

Innerspring Pocket Coil:

Pocket coils are more supportive than open coils, consisting of individual coils wrapped in fabric which contour to the body. It’s generally not really necessary for a child’s mattress to contour to their body shape as they preferably need a firmer surface that offers the growing bones resistance. They also do not have as long a life span as a foam mattress, but pocket coil mattresses can work very well for older children. Pocket coil mattresses, like Rest Assured, which are suitable for children, are sold our outlets.

Memory Foam

Memory foam beds have a layer of memory foam on top of other foams. Memory foam can be a comfort layer on both innerspring beds and foam ones. Memory foam moulds around a sleeper’s body shape, responding to the body’s warmth. Memory foam beds are generally too soft for children though, due to the contouring feature of the foam. Beds with memory foam layers sold at The Mattress Warehouse include Silentnight and Genessi.

Foam or innerspring?

Foam or innerspring?

Latex Foam

Latex is also a comfort layer foam, often used in conjunction with memory foam as a supportive layer for the memory foam. Latex is a natural product with hypoallergenic properties, keeping a child’s breathing clear and free of obstructions.


Futon mattresses are fuss-free mattresses that are close to the ground, usually filled with natural materials such as cotton. Their proximity to the ground means that there are no worries about a child falling out of bed and injuring himself, and make it easy for a child to get in and out of bed himself safely.

Mattresses and Allergies in Kids

Many children today suffer from allergies, and the causes of the allergies may be nearly impossible to pin down. Some allergies are caused by dust mites and other microscopic animals that can infest sleeping areas. Any mattress can be fitted with a hypoallergenic antibacterial mattress cover or mattress protector. However, real latex foam mattresses are naturally repellant to dust mites. Latex rubber is destructive to the growth of bacteria, making it the ideal choice for anyone who needs a hypoallergenic antibacterial mattress.

Foam or innerspring? Innerspring mattresses very often cause allergies

f Foam or innerspring? Innerspring mattresses very often cause allergies

Mattress Comfort Levels

Foam or innerspring? Go for something firm!

Foam or innerspring? Go for something firm!

Mattresses range from very soft (plush) to ultra-firm, so how do you know which comfort level is right for a child? Research shows that a firmer mattress is the best for growing bones, providing a surface that gives the young body resistance, building a stronger body and allowing for a deeper sleep. Anyone who has seen a toddler happily falls asleep on a bedroom floor will know that children, in general, prefer a firm sleeping surface. For younger children, an overly soft mattress can restrict their growth and even cause suffocation. The other benefit to a firm mattress is that it will soften over time, therefore lasting longer than a soft one, which will become too soft, while a firmer mattress will continue to be supportive while becoming softer to accommodate a more mature body that needs more give from the mattress.

So foam or innerspring?

Foam beds are generally firmer than coils and also have a longer life span, as the coils can lose their bounce. Futons a long lifespan can easily be restuffed, and are very low maintenance, making them a great choice too. They are also firmer, offering great support for a young child’s growth and sleep.

Innerspring mattresses are created on the premise that the coils are in tension under a sleeper’s weight, as their natural position is straight up. This constant upward pressure from the coils can be harmful to young bodies, but the supportiveness of foam is entirely static: foam doesn’t press up, it is simply and solidly just there. Foam mattresses also have the added benefit of being impossible to jump on. Foam mattresses are too solid to be bouncy, whereas a coil mattress provides an irresistible temptation to be jumped on. Jumping on a mattress severely shortens the lifespan of the coils and decreases their supportive abilities, but a foam mattress doesn’t have that problem.

To buy a mattress for your child, why not consider The Mattress Warehouse? We stock beautiful futons in all sizes to suit any child’s bunk bed. Foam beds like Genessi and Cloud Nine which have latex and memory foam in them, with no springs inside, only coils. We have the most affordable prices in South Africa and deliver to your doorstep for free! We want your child to have the best mattress, so don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0861 007 000 or simply buy the mattress you want online or in our store.

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