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How to Choose Pillow for Your Child – Toddler Edition

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Written By Anđela Rajković

Certified Sleep Consultant

Featured image of How to Choose Pillow for Your Child

29 March 2024 5 min read

How to choose a pillow for your child? This is a question many parents have been asking themselves for a long time. Well, parents, ask no more – we are here to give you the answer.

When it comes to ensuring a good night's sleep for our children, we often focus on cosy pyjamas, bedtime stories, and tucking them in with love. However, we sometimes overlook a crucial ingredient for their slumber: the perfect pillow. From supporting their delicate necks to fostering their overall well-being, selecting the ideal pillow can make a world of difference.

Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the secrets of choosing the perfect pillow for your precious little ones, ensuring they drift off to dreamland with comfort and tranquillity.

When should your child start using a pillow

An image of a child sitting on a bed next to a few toddler pillows

Many parents eagerly anticipate the moment their little ones transition from a crib to a toddler bed, complete with fluffy pillows and cosy blankets.

However, it's important to remember that pillows aren't suitable for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) strongly advises against placing pillows in cribs due to the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface, free from any potential suffocation hazards. So, while those adorable baby pillows might be tempting, it's best to wait until your child is a bit older before introducing one.

Around the age of 18 months, as your child grows and develops, you can consider introducing a pillow. At this stage, most children have developed enough neck strength and control to benefit from the added support and comfort that a pillow provides. However, it's crucial to choose an appropriate pillow specifically designed for children.

What is sudden infant death syndrome

SIDS, short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is like a scary ghost that nobody wants to encounter. It's a really sad and mysterious thing that sometimes happens to babies while they're sleeping. When a baby passes away unexpectedly and there's no clear cause or explanation, doctors call it SIDS. It's a heartbreaking situation because it usually happens to babies who seem healthy and have no signs of illness or distress.

That's why it's important to follow safety guidelines, like keeping the crib free of pillows and other things that could accidentally cover a baby's face and make it hard for them to breathe.

What to look for when buying the first toddler pillow

An image of a child hugging their pillow

So, as previously said, once your little one turn 18 months, you can start looking for the best toddler pillows on the market. But, since there are so many different brands offering so many different kinds of toddler pillows, how does one choose?

Well, one can start by taking the following things into consideration:


The material of your toddler's pillow is important for two main reasons: comfort and support. A good-quality material, such as memory foam, can offer both.


Most toddler pillows are made of memory foam – and they should be.

However, don't be surprised if you see toddler pillows with all sorts of fillings. For instance, buckwheat and hemp are becoming extremely popular pillow fillings. But, if you ask us – these fillings are best for an adult pillow only. Why? Because if those find their way out, they may easily become a choking hazard. The same thing applies to down feathers – so stay away from those too!

If you don't want to buy a toddler pillow made of memory foam, opt for a pillow filled with synthetic fibres. Yes, that is not an organic toddler pillow, but, it is perfectly safe for usage. And, if you want to make that pillow experience a bit more natural and eco-friendly, opt for a pillowcase made of organic cotton, for example.


Support may be the most important thing when choosing your child's pillow. The pillow has to be soft enough to ensure a good night's sleep and firm enough to ensure proper alignment of your toddler's neck and spine.

So, what is the best toddler pillow firmness? It is difficult to say – we have to be honest. To choose the best pillow for your toddler's head, it might be best to have him or her try out a few. After all, a perfect toddler pillow depends on your child's personal needs.


The size of your toddler's pillow is also important!

You should avoid getting an adult-sized pillow for your toddler as those can be uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous. Instead, go and buy a toddler pillow that is usually 13 by 18 inches. These smaller pillows are more appropriate for smaller heads and smaller sleeping spaces.

Hypoallergenic features

Yes, yes, organic toddler pillows are amazing. But, sometimes, they can also cause allergic reactions. So, just to be safe, it would be best that your toddler's first pillow is the pillow made of hypoallergenic fillings and materials – such as memory foam or microfiber, as previously mentioned. These will keep all the dirt and dust mites far away.

Easy care features

Let us not forget how clumsy our little toddlers can be. They sneak food, drinks, colours, and who-knows-what-else into their beds and, in a blink of an eye, we have a new load of laundry to do. Because of that, your toddler's pillow should be easy to take care of. That means – easy to wash and easy to dry.

If you buy a hypoallergenic pillow with a pillowcase made of organic cotton, you can just machine wash and air dry everything. And, trust us, when you have toddlers, you don't need anything too delicate to wash and dry, no. You need things that are machine washable and things that are quick and easy to dry.

How to ensure safe sleep for your toddler

An image of a child sitting next to a bunch of toddler pillows

Ensuring a safe sleep environment for your toddler is essential for their well-being and sleep quality. Here are important steps to follow:

Firstly, besides choosing the right pillow, also choose the right bedding to create a safe sleeping surface. Use a firm mattress and a well-fitting sheet. Avoid loose bedding such as blankets and quilts, as they can pose suffocation hazards. Instead, opt for a sleeping sack or wearable blanket for warmth.

Then, if your toddler has transitioned to a bed, consider adding a removable bed rail. This provides an extra layer of safety and helps prevent accidental falls during sleep. It offers reassurance and peace of mind, especially during the early stages of transitioning from a crib.

Moreover, ensure the sleeping area is free from hazards. Check that there are no cords hanging from outlets near the bed, as they can pose strangulation risks. It's also important to clear the bed of excessive toys (like stuffed animals, legos, etc.) and clutter that may obstruct your child's sleep or pose safety hazards.


There you have it – all you need to know on how to choose pillow for your child.

Buying the first pillow for your toddler is essential not only for him or her having a great night's sleep but also for his or her healthy development.

Thus, don't take this task lightly.

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About the author

Anđela Rajković
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant and well-practiced sleep enthusiast, I find a lot of joy in bringing my expertise to our readers – preferably those who love to sleep. With a background in the English language and literature and a love of research, I'm always seeking new ways to share the latest sleep science and bed-related findings. And, when I'm not connecting with my readers, you can find me exploring the great outdoors, or, well, curling up in bed.
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