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We're looking to buy a single twin mattress for our three year old, and are wondering what things we need to consider. Since we'd like this to last until he goes to college, durability is one thing to consider. Are there some types of mattresses that are more durable than others (both edge durability and overall durability)? Are there any other suggestions of things we need to think about when buying a mattress for a child?

asked Sep 29 '12
Greg C's gravatar image
Greg C from Chapel Hill, NC
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Sep 29 '12

Here is Naturepedic's position on children's mattresses. 1. Children should sleep on a firm mattress. Most pediatricians will back this up. 2. A small child, e.g. a three year old as per the above question, should sleep on a waterproof mattress until the child is potty trained. 3. The mattress must have strong edge support (e.g. for a parent sitting on the edge reading a bedtime story, etc.) and have long term durability (and to easily withstand a child jumping on the mattress, etc.). 4. The mattress should be constructed using non-toxic, natural materials, and be as free as possible of potential harmful chemicals or allergens.

As such, Naturepedic makes mattresses (twin, full, trundle, etc.) specifically for children: 1. All Naturepedic children's mattresses are firm. 2. The most popular Naturepedic children's model is the "2 in 1". This model is waterproof on one side and quilted on the other side. The child should first sleep on the waterproof side. When the child is fully potty trained, then flip the mattress. The child then gets a nice quilted mattress surface similar to a typical adult mattress finish. 3. All Naturepedic children's mattresses are made with strong innersprings and strong border rod edge supports. 4. All Naturepedic children's mattresses are made with organic cotton surface fabric and organic cotton fill. 5. All Naturepedic children's mattresses are free of polyurethane foam, memory foam, vinyl, latex, controversial flame retardants, and other common materials which do not meet the Naturepedic standards. 6. All Naturepedic children's mattresses are certified organic per the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and are certified to the highest GREENGUARD "Select" standard, and meet the highest standard of the Specialty Sleep Association Environmental & Safety Program. Naturepedic mattresses are also recommended by Healthy Child Healthy World. Naturepedic is also approved by Green America. 7. Although not mandatory, Naturepedic also offers nice organic cotton mattress protectors, which are fully washable.

answered Sep 29 '12
Barry Cik's gravatar image
Barry Cik ♦
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Hi Greg,

Since you can't predict exactly how your child may sleep over the next 15 years or so or what sleep habits they may have, I recommend something medium-firm/medium-soft. Pocketed coil beds will be more in the $299+ range for mattress only but will have the kind of coil system which is better when he's older and bigger, aka in need of more support. Innerspring beds will be in a range of $99-$299 and have linked coils that are bouncier. I don't recommend something extraordinary firm or super soft, the in between is best so they can sleep in a variety of positions and feel comfortable. A basic Simmons Beautyrest Classic Plush what I recommend.

Be sure to invest in a mattress protector. It has to be waterproof. A lot of protectors are thin fabric covers that just protect the top and not fully encasing which can be a hassle to wash. If they are very allergen sensitive, encasement all the way. But if not, the regular protector will be a great way to keep the mattress allergen/stain free.

answered Sep 29 '12
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Andrew Schle... ♦
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Hi Greg, An inexpensive mattress may last about 10 years, as your son won't put on any real body weight until he reaches puberty. Also, boys tend to be rougher on things than girls. Also, if you allow him to use the mattress as a trampoline, this will have an affect on how long it lasts. Grown and gone is a long time. If he doesn't fly into bed from across the room, (a teenager's thing), or use it to wrestle on, there is a mattress that will last that that has no memory foam in it. I make this point because memory foam is known to off gas chemicals that cause respiratory problems....and why would you expose a child to it if it isn't necessary...and it isn't. Take note of the price differences. Unless you're raising a perfect angel, you may have to replace it anyway.


answered Oct 04 '12
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Peter Cancelli ♦
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Nov 30 '12

Don't put your child on a plastic mattress with plastic foam. These beds usually employ toxic chemicals for their fire barriers. These materials off gas harmful chemicals and that will really harm your child. Consider organic or latex mattresses, which will last a very long time.

answered Nov 27 '12
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Joe Alexander ♦
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I agree with Joe and Barry here. No way you are going to get and longevity out of a $299 mattress. If you are looking at it as a 4-5 year investment then sure the lower end is fine. Naturepedic is the standard for kids mattresses, you do need to be prepared you will more than likely need to add a topper as they get older. Another option would be to get something from WJ Southard or Savvy rest. Would love to meet you as we are in Raleigh.


answered Nov 30 '12
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Joey Ashley ♦
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Asked: Sep 29 '12

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