Kids grow like weeds, and in hindsight, it’s mind-boggling how different their bodies become. But a well-designed mattress can work just as well for a toddler graduating from the crib as for an 18-year-old. Here’s a look at key mattress characteristics to help guide your choices.
At any age, there’s nothing more important than safe, nontoxic materials. Children spend more time in sleep than adults do, and during those hours they too are breathing in the off-gassing chemicals that a mattress “breathes out”—even after the initial smell is gone.
Mattresses made with synthetic foams are filled with various compounds that have been implicated in cancer, lifelong obesity, developmental brain disorders such as ADHD and autism, and even lowered IQs. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is common in synthetic foams. The most dangerous compounds are chemical flame retardants, used in significant quantities in most mattresses.
Avoid Synthetic Foams
A GOTS-certified organic mattress with a natural latex interior is the safest choice. Breathable natural latex layers not only contribute to deeper, less restless sleep, but can be changed if comfort needs change over time. Organic wool batting within a mattress casing allows flame retardancy without the added chemicals. Look for published certifications, such as GreenGuard, for assurance.
Choose Fabrics Carefully
Organic mattress casings will not expose your child to pesticide residues, chlorine bleaches, or toxic fabric dyes and finishes. For protection from allergens, add organic mattress encasements. Organic allergy pillow covers are important for allergic children, too.
Durability and Comfort
Does your little one have a future as a trampoline artist? With a layered Savvy Rest organic mattress, you can choose the type of natural latex and configuration of layers that best fit your child’s personality and activity level. Here are examples. (For more detail, see How to Choose.)
For the little girl or guy who loves to jump (especially on the bed when no one’s looking), denser natural Dunlop latex will hold up best. For extra-vigorous kids who just tend to be hard on things, the Serenity mattress with one Medium layer over two Firms works well. A combo with a little more give is Medium over Medium over Firm.
Children who are restless sleepers or highly sensitive to touch benefit from a softer, more cushioned surface. For these little ones, a good Serenity configuration is a Soft top layer over Medium and Firm natural Dunlop. (Or Soft over Medium alone, in the Tranquility model.) For an extra-cradling feel, you can substitute a top layer of Soft Talalay.
Does your child often seem too warm during sleep, even when not running a fever? Many children love the extra comfort of a Savvy Woolsy mattress topper. This wool-filled topper adds cozy cushioning to any mattress surface and diminishes heat buildup. (Sleeping on top of wool fiber helps cool the body—unlike sleeping under a wool blanket).
Older Children and Adolescents
One of the best features of a layered natural latex mattress is its adaptability. If you favor a quite-firm mattress for young children, but around puberty your child begins to crave more softness, Savvy Rest’s Serenity or Tranquility mattresses can change right along with your child’s preferences.
For example, you could set up a Serenity with Medium on top, Soft in the middle, and a Firm bottom layer while your child is young and bones are still developing. Later on, simply unzip the casing and switch the top and middle layers. Voila—instant new mattress for your luxury-loving teen!
Don’t be surprised if a child who’s slept on a layered Savvy Rest loves their mattress so much they want to take it along to their first new place when they’re ready to leave the nest.
While you’re wiping your tears (or silently celebrating), remember that you can pack a Twin layered Savvy Rest into a car—just open the casing and roll each layer into a sturdy 55-gallon bag. Even Full components will fit easily into most vehicles.
Economy in Mind
An all-latex organic mattress isn’t the only option when budgets are tight. We have two other choices for children of any age. The SerenitySpring is customizable, but is a combination of natural latex and wrapped coil units. We also have the economical Earthspring—Savvy Rest’s innerspring mattress that features natural latex foam and an organic casing.