The Secret to a Goodnight’s Sleep

Kids Advice: Choosing the Right Mattress for your Child

In our previous article we gave you advice on choosing the right type of bed for your child. Now it’s time to consider the importance of choosing the best type of mattress for your child – one that supports their growing bones during childhood; reduces the risk of stiffness and discomfort; and ensures a restful night’s sleep. Research has shown that when it comes to sleeping, what matters for a child’s spine is support. Both their spine and neck have to be in a neutral position, which minimises stress and allows the spine to grow without any restrictions. So the mattress you choose for your child has to be soft enough for them to be comfortable, yet firm enough to prevent them from completely sinking into it. In fact the potential consequence of children sleeping on an unsupportive foam mattress is that their growing spine is placed under stress for prolonged periods of time and this can lead to permanent deformative issues. Experts recommend that parents invest in mattresses with a box spring support system, as this will provide maximum support for the child at night, leading to a good, comfortable night’s sleep.

But before choosing the best mattress for your child, you need to think about size, type of materials used, and the firmness. If your child suffers from allergies, check the mattress label carefully to make sure there are no materials that may cause your child problems. When it comes to firmness, do not look only at the labels. Different brands may have different label names for the same level of firmness; one company’s firm may be another’s extra firm. For example, if you’re buying an infant mattress, make sure it’s firm. Infants should sleep on firm mattresses to reduce the risk of SIDS. (SIDS is “also known as cot death or crib death and is the sudden unexplained death of a child less than one year of age…. SIDS usually occurs during sleep.”).

It’s also important to make sure you cover the mattress with a liquid resistant mattress cover or pad because doing this helps keep the mattress clean and more sanitary. A good quality mattress protector offers the added advantage of acting as an anti-allergy barrier, protecting your little one from dust mites, a major cause of asthma and hay fever.

What are the different types of mattresses?
Open coil children’s mattress: This is a great value spring system ideal for children’s beds. If you’re looking for a mattress on a budget, an open coil is a good option, providing comfort and support at a great price.

Continuous spring children’s mattress: The continuous spring runs from head to toe which helps to distribute body weight up and down the bed, giving your child increased support. This is a comfortable, lump-free mattress.

Zoned children’s mattress: These mattresses offer more support where your body needs it most like in the middle of the bed. A zoned mattress gives great support as your child grows.

Pocket sprung children’s mattress: This mattress has individual springs, held in place in fabric and is a comfortable, supportive and durable mattress.

How frequently should mattresses be replaced?
This usually depends on the quality of the bed and the size of the child. As long as the child hasn’t grown out of it, a good-quality spring mattress can easily last as long as five years. As a general rule, you should consider changing the mattress every three years between the ages of zero and 10 years, and every five years between the ages of 10 and 20.

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This article was published in the March 2016 issue of Inspire Living Magazine. Download it here!