Best toddler pillow

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

Remember when it comes to your child's sleeping place: the more minimalistic, the better. You don't have to worry that your baby will be uncomfortable in bed without a pillow or blanket. At this age, babies sleep safely and comfortably on a flat mattress - and a sleeping bag keeps your baby cozy and warm.

Do I need a pillow for a baby?

Pediatricians, baby books, and parenting websites all agree: a pillow or duvet doesn't belong in a newborn's bed. Because:

  • A pillow can stretch your baby's spine unnaturally and negatively affect its development.
  • Pillows and blankets can cause your baby to overheat if their head sinks into them.
  • Pillows should not be used for safety reasons, because pillows (as well as heavy blankets) pose a risk of suffocation for newborns.

When are pillows suitable for small children?

In the first twelve months of life, your baby does not need a pillow at all and it should not be used for safety reasons; later you can put a very flat pillow in his bed that his head cannot sink into.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pillows pose a low risk to babies over 12 months old. Other experts say parents should wait until they are 18 or 24 months old. In the first two years of life, children should not sleep with a blanket and pillow, but in the child's a sleeping bag in the supine position, as this reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Pillow size for children

When buying a pillow, pay attention to its height. Ideally, it should be as low as possible so that the baby's head does not sink into it. Side sleeping is not recommended because of potential breathing problems, but many pillows are designed with this in mind themselves.

If you do choose to use one anyway, choose a flat pillow without embroidery or other hard elements. The thickness of five centimeters is enough both for comfort and safety.

What type of pillows are safe?

Baby pillows often have an orthopedic function - they support your child's body during sleep. When buying such a pillow, look at the label: if no medical claims are made about it (eg medical anti-sagging pillow, orthopedic pillow), you can use it for your baby.

In any case, a healthy child has a healthy spine and the most suitable pillows are flat ones without inserts or supports.

When choosing a sleeping bag for your toddler, remember that children grow out of them very quickly. To avoid buying a new one every six months, choose a large sleeping bag that will be suitable both when your child is smaller and when they begin to walk and jump in their bed.

As with pillows, look at whether there are inserts that might hinder breathing if they get sucked into the mouth or nose during sleep.

Material for baby pillows

There are pillows made of natural materials (cotton, wool), their advantage is that they regulate body temperature well. Baby pillows filled with synthetic fiber or polystyrene have a lower price and are easy to wash.

The disadvantage of synthetic fiber is that it does not breathe, so the wrapper can overheat. Pay attention to whether the filling can be removed from the case - this makes it easier to wash both pillow and cover.

Toddler pillows: Selection tips

  • If you are going to buy your child their first pillow, there are a few things to keep in mind.
  • Special baby and toddler pillows are a good choice: they are only half the size of adult pillows.
  • The pillow for babies should be as flat as possible. This way your child is not "swallowed" by the pillow.
  • Hypoallergenic pillows are very suitable.
  • The cover must be easy and tightly closed (preferably with a zipper or well-sewn buttons) so that your child cannot tuck their head under the cover.
  • To prevent the pillow from slipping (or your child pulling it over their face), you can also place it under the fitted sheet.

Important! You should pay attention to your child's reaction to the pillow. If your child looks uncomfortable or even cries, they don't need a pillow just yet. Remember that the main purpose of a pillow is comfort - your child may not want to sleep with a pillow just yet. Then that's okay too.

Types of toddler pillows

When choosing a children's pillow, look at its size relative to your child's age and weight - choose one according to his needs! When buying for an older child, do not buy products containing foam rubber or latex because these products contain chemicals harmful to health.

Do not use pillows for babies older than two years old. The child may push the pillow into their mouth, which can cause suffocation.

Note: Even if your baby is over six months of age, you should always watch them when they are sleeping - do not leave them without supervision even for a moment! It is also safest to place them in their bed or cot instead of letting them sleep on your lap. That way if something unusual were to happen (for example, choking), you would notice immediately and could act quickly to help them.

Be careful that there isn't anything sticking out of the pillow (a seam or loose threads) which could hit the baby's face.

Types of pillows for toddlers:

Normal pillow - these are very low and usually placed under the fitted sheet, so they do not interfere with your child's sleeping position (in most cases, toddlers like to sleep on their tummy).

Foam rubber or latex pillows - these do not pose a danger to children who use them; however, we definitely recommend against using them. They can cause serious health problems such as respiratory issues and allergies. Be careful when choosing this kind of pillow!

Orthopedic pillows - these orthopedic cushions support your child during sleep and ensure that their spine is aligned correctly. Do not offer too much support though because otherwise, the cushion will "swallow up" your toddler!

Buckwheat pillows baby - these cushions are filled with buckwheat so they can be easily adjusted to the shape of your child's body. Be careful that the filling is firmly packed! Buckwheat may hurt your child's head if it gets loose and spills out.

Cushion for tummy sleeping - These cushions support babies when they sleep on their stomachs, which helps them develop their spine correctly. This type of pillow should only be used until your baby begins to roll over themselves because otherwise, they might slide down into a potentially dangerous position where their face could get buried in the pillow.

Baby & toddler pillows: recommendations

The orthopedic baby pillow is very low and lights thanks to its perforated memory foam. It is perfect for children from 12 months who want to use a pillow.

Quilted bed covers are so thin that small children cannot sink into them - but it still makes the children's bed cozier. The breathable fabric distributes the heat perfectly - no risk of overheating. Small children from 2 to 3 years of age who want to lie higher can do this with the animal-shaped infant pillow. 

How to clean a baby pillow?

You can wash your baby's pillow in the washing machine (at 30 degrees), even if it has a removable cover. The work of all organically grown buckwheat pillows is guaranteed up to 500 washes.

You can wash it with your hands if the pillow has a removable cover. However, it is very much recommended to wash them in the washing machine to get rid of dust and other possible allergens such as pet hair or lint.

Remember that you should never put your child's pillow in the dryer! It will collapse and not provide adequate support for your child anymore. If you need to fluff it, leave it out on a windowsill for an hour or two - do not use any additional heat sources!

Note: Always remove any objects from the pillow before washing!

How long do toddler pillows last?

Your little one's toddler pillow will last until they no longer need it (for example, when your child starts sleeping on their side). So usually a toddler pillow can be used for about two years. However, this cannot be known with certainty - every child develops at different rates and may also want a new pillow even earlier than that.

You should certainly pay attention if your child seems unhappy with his cushion - he might not like its shape or it could be that he has outgrown it.

Just like with baby mattresses, you should consider when your toddler no longer wants to sleep with a pillow anymore when buying one. Alas, there are no toddler pillows with built-in beds in front of which the child can pull up when they have outgrown the cushion.

How much do toddler pillows cost?

The buckwheat pillow is the most affordable type of cushion for toddlers. The price of the most common models is around 20 dollars. On average this is cheaper than other options on the market! However, since our experts cannot recommend this option for small children, we don't list any sales here!

Cotton cushions are very popular - both because they are soft and because they are lighter than other types. The best cotton pillow should have a cover that can be easily removed for machine washing - the higher the number of washes it guarantees, the better!

Other features to look out for include percale or 100% cotton fabric and breathable inserts such as down or memory foam. Comfortable pillows with smooth seams and piping around their edges can be washed up to 300 times. Their price is around 40 dollars.

A good silk cushion has similar characteristics as high-quality cotton cushions - but it costs considerably more! You can wash your silk pillow up to 50 times which means one year is an average lifespan. Silk pillows cost about 70 dollars.

Bottom line

Baby pillows, especially toddler pillows made of organic fabrics are very comfortable for small children but not cheap. However, when it comes to quality materials and durability - they certainly meet their standards!