Best Pillows for Kids – 5 Top-Rated Pillows for Counting Sheep

By Lara Tusk •  Updated: 06/05/22

When your little one makes the transition from crib to bed, they’ll need a pillow to go along with it. A standard size pillow will take up too much room on your toddler’s bed. The best pillows for kids will support children’s growing bodies and provide a comfortable snooze. In this review, we’ll look at the essential things to consider before buying a pillow for your child as well as 5 highly-rated pillows that we’ve vetted and approved.

Things to Know Before Buying a Pillow for Your Kids

When to Buy your Child’s First Pillow

A pillow is dangerous for a child below 12 months. At this time, the toddler will most likely be sleeping in a crib. Placing pillows and other objects next to him increases the chances of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The safest time to introduce a toddler pillow is when the child starts sleeping on an open bed. This could be between 12 to 24 months but really, there’s no rush. If your toddler sleeps fine without a pillow even after 2 years of age, you don’t have to introduce it right away.

A telltale sign that your toddler is ready for a pillow is when he starts laying his head on a blanket or stuffed toy. If they’re tossing and turning at night or start using the pillows on your bed or couch, it’s time for a toddler pillow.

Why Kids Shouldn’t Use Adult Pillows

Now that you’ve determined whether your child is ready for a pillow, you should be careful about what pillow to choose. A normal-sized pillow simply won’t do for a growing kid. A too-large pillow won’t fit them well, just as adult shoes won’t fit a toddler’s tiny feet. Adult pillows are too big and fluffy and can increase the risk of suffocation.

The best pillow is one with a snug fit and that cradles their head and neck. The best pillow for toddlers is one that’s small, low-lofted and firm.

Why Soft Pillows Aren’t Always Better

Softness doesn’t mean more comfort for developing bodies. A pillow that’s too soft fails to give enough support. The risk of suffocation increases because the child’s head will sink more into the pillow and this can block their airways as they sleep.

However, if you pick a pillow that’s too firm, your child may feel too uncomfortable. Find a good medium between softness and support. To test this out, place your palm on the pillow and apply pressure. It shouldn’t leave a handprint on the pillow. Instead, it should regain its loft and shape in less than 10 seconds.

If the pillow doesn’t compress under your hand’s pressure, it’s likely too firm. Alternately, you can squeeze the pillow with your fingers to check its firmness. The best pillow should have some cushioning yet spring back after you lift the pressure.

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Pillow for Your Child

Toddlers sleep for an average of 14 hours nightly. During the formative years, restful sleep is crucial for the development of their bodies and minds. Their bodies are under a lot of stress because they’re growing rapidly every day. Lack of good sleep can cause issues with behavior, focus, and growth.

Here are the most important considerations when buying a toddler pillow.

  1. Consider their sleep position.
    Make sure the pillow helps your little one maintain their neutral spinal alignment whether they sleep on their back, side, or stomach.Back sleepers need a thin pillow with just enough loft to lift the head and neck in line with the shoulders and back. It should support their neck and not push their head too far forward or back.Stomach sleepers don’t need a pillow but if you have to pick one, the best kids pillow is one that’s very thin and soft. This reduces pressure in their neck and lower back when they turn their head to the side.Unlike adults, side sleeping children don’t require a high lofted pillow to support their still developing shoulders. They just need enough height for filling the space between the head and shoulders. The head should be lifted in alignment with the rest of the spine.
  2. Choose a suitable material.
    The most popular types of pillow fill for toddler pillows are polyester and memory foam. The pillow material determines how comfortable it will be.Polyester is a fill that’s washable and soft. It’s also cost-effective. However, this material can feel warm and degrades over time.Memory foam is another popular pillow fill, well regarded for its close conforming support. However, they also tend to sleep hot and can smell like chemicals when freshly opened.There are pillows made of feathers, buckwheat, and synthetic materials but for toddlers, they’re not the best choices. Whatever you do, don’t pick a fill that’s made of seeds, pellets, or small particles because they may cause suffocation.If your little one tends to sleep hot, choose a breathable, cooling kids pillow so their sleep doesn’t get disrupted by stuffiness.Another consideration when picking a pillow fill is low noise. You don’t want your child’s slumber to be disturbed by constant rustling.
  3. Don’t overlook the pillow cover.
    The pillow cover is just as important as the fill. It has to be hypoallergenic and high quality because it will be in contact with your child’s skin. Good fabrics for pillow covers include cotton, a cotton-polyester blend, and synthetic fibers.The best one is pure organic cotton, which is better than regular cotton and softer on the skin. Buy a pillow cover with a minimum of 200-thread count which has a better texture and is more durable.
  4. Ensure your child’s safety.
    Aside from choosing a safe pillow fill, you can ensure that the toddler pillow is safe to use. For kids who have allergies and respiratory issues, go for a hypoallergenic pillow. Don’t buy a wool pillow if your child is sensitive to the material. Be aware of what allergy triggers your toddler has before buying a toddler pillow.
  5. Machine washable toddler pillows are easier to maintain.
    Spills, stains, and dribble are to be expected so get a toddler pillow that you can throw in the wash and tumble dry. That guarantees the pillow’s cleanliness and longevity. For this consideration, polyester pillows are the ones to go for.
  6. Check the pillow for signs of wear.These are the signs that your child’s pillow needs to be replaced:

The 5 Best Pillows for Kids: Top Picks for Safe, Comfy Sleep for Tiny Tots

Toddler Pillow With Pillowcase

My Little Dreamy Pillow - Toddler Pillow with Pillowcase
$24.96
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12/07/2022 10:10 pm GMT

This bestseller from KeaBabies is one of the best toddler pillows if you want a touch of whimsy to your little one’s big kid bed. The pillow is made of soft fiber fill and comes with a pillowcase. With 9 unisex prints to choose from, you can find the perfect pillow your little one will love to sleep on and hug.

The KeaBabies Toddler Pillow has several designs including a dinosaur print, a spaceship pattern, unicorn, and car-themed pillowcases and even an educational pillow cover stamped with whimsical animals next to numbers.

The pillowcases aren’t just cute, they’re functional too. They’re made of natural cotton fabric with just over a 200-thread count, ensuring that the pillow stays breathable and soft.

The pillow and its case are durable and machine washable, handy for the inevitable chocolate smear or porridge spill. For this toddler pillow, air drying is advised so it stays fluffy after every wash.

And because it’s so compact at 13 inches by 18 inches, this can even be used as a travel pillow.

KeaBabies also considers the spinal health of your little one as this toddler pillow is chiropractor-approved. It has an ergonomic design that encourages proper spinal alignment.

KeaBabies is a trusted brand that has earned a certification from OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

This toddler pillow may feel too high at first but it compresses after a few nights of use. Toddlers below 2 years old should avoid this pillow, though. Some reviews have also noted that the pillowcase that came with their purchase felt scratchy and their child rolls off the pillow as it’s one of the smaller kids pillows out there.

Pros
Cons

Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow

Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow with Pillowcase
$24.99
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12/07/2022 03:05 pm GMT

Chiropractors recommend this Dreamtown Kids cotton pillow as the perfect first sleeping companion for toddlers and it’s one of the best toddler pillows if you’re looking for an ergonomic option. Its dimensions are 14 inches by 19 inches, which is the right size for growing kids. It’s small enough for their heads and large enough to prevent roll-off.

The Dreamtown Kids toddler pillow is one of the safest pillows for toddlers because it’s certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This will surely ease any anxiety for parents worried about their little one’s safety.

This toddler pillow’s fill is firm enough to support your child’s head and neck yet soft enough to keep them comfortable throughout the night. It has a soft poly-cotton blend cover that’s free from chemicals and flame retardants.

This is an affordable pillow that offers great value as it also comes with a pillowcase. The pillow is completely machine washable so it’s easy to care for. It’s shrink-proof, hypoallergenic, mold-resistant, and mildew-resistant.

The manufacturer has excellent customer service so returns and refunds are easy in case your toddler doesn’t like the pillow.

The pillowcase this comes with isn’t high quality and feels stiff even after multiple washes so you’ll have to buy a replacement that’s softer.

Pros
Cons

Little Sleepy HeadToddler Pillow

Little Sleepy Head - Toddler Pillow
$16.95
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12/07/2022 12:25 pm GMT

It’s hard to find a pillow for kids when they’d much rather curl up to their trusted blanket or stuffed animal. This Little Sleepy Head pillow is just the thing to help ease your child into sleeping properly.

It has a polyester cluster fiber fill which feels cozy and plush. Polyester is a more affordable material than memory foam with none of the foam’s warmth, so for your toddler, it’s a good choice for a pillow fill.

This toddler pillow has a 220-thread count 100 percent cotton cover so it’s breathable and won’t sleep hot. It measures 13 inches by 18 inches with a height of 4 inches. For most kids, it’s the perfect loft for their growing bodies.

Even sensitive children can use this because it’s hypoallergenic and chemical-free. It’s easy to care for, too, because it’s machine washable. You can even tumble dry this pillow, just be sure to use low heat.

The Little Sleepy Head toddler pillow conforms to the body the more your little one uses it. It has snug support for the neck for optimum spinal alignment during sleep.

Little Sleepy Head offers a “Love Your Fluff” guarantee so if your kid isn’t satisfied with this pillow, you can return it and they’ll make a custom fluff for them. It’s one of the best kids pillows if you’re looking for personalized fcomfort for your little one.

If you’re going to buy this, be aware that it doesn’t come with a pillowcase. You’ll have to purchase the separate Little Sleepy Head pillowcase or get another one that fits the pillow.

Because of its loft, this is better suited to bigger toddlers and preschool kids. However, you can always take advantage of the return policy and tailor fit the fluffiness of the pillow.

Pros
Cons

My Little North Star Toddler Pillow Made in USA & Pillowcase

Sweet Dreams Toddler Pillow
$26.97
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12/08/2022 01:25 am GMT

Certified organic and chiropractor-recommended, this toddler pillow from My Little North Star is one of the best toddler pillows if you’re looking for a sustainable, hypoallergenic pillow for your youngster.

It has a soft poly cluster fiber fill and a certified organic cotton shell. As a bonus, this pillow comes with a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified pillowcase that’s free of chemicals and other allergens that can irritate your little one. Because it’s made from organic cotton, it’s all-natural and breathable.

The My Little North Star pillow measures 13 inches by 18 inches, an ideal size for tots between 2 to 5 years old. It’s tested for support and comfort. It helps align children’s head, neck, and spine so they sleep fuss-free throughout the night (and you will, as well).

This soft organic toddler pillow is immune to mold, mildew, and dust mites. To keep it fresh, you can machine wash and tumble dry on low without worrying about the little pillow shrinking or clumping.

I recommend the My Little North Star pillow for safety and environmentally-conscious parents looking for their child’s first pillow. The organic cotton shell is also airy, perfect for little kids who sleep hot.

The soft pillow does flatten after some time so you’ll have to replace it down the line but the thinner profile may be an advantage for kids. For the price, it’s still one of the best kids pillows in the market.

Pros
Cons

Urban Infant Pipsqueak Small

Urban Infant Pipsqueak Small Pillow
$11.95
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12/07/2022 07:35 pm GMT

This toddler pillow lives up to its name–it’s teeny-tiny, smaller than an airplane pillow at 11 inches by 8 inches. It’s one of the best pillows for traveling tots or preschoolers who need a pillow for nap time.

This little travel pillow has a poly-cluster fiber fill and a poly-cotton shell. It’s a low-lofted pillow that hits the spot if your little one needs a small dose of cushioning. The thin profile is perfect for kids but even adults can use it for lumbar support or for padding the neck.

This pocketable pillow keeps your kid’s spine aligned and their head gently rested on a slight incline. The hypoallergenic pillow is mold, mildew, and mite-resistant so no critters will come close. Should your toddler stain or soil it–which is more than likely–it’s a breeze to clean because it’s machine washable.

The pillow is so compact that it easily fits into a purse, so you can take it with you hassle-free when you go on trips with the family.

The tricky part about a pillow this small is because it doesn’t come with its own pillowcase, you’ll have to buy one yourself. However, it’s impossible to find a pillowcase this pocket-sized so you’ll either have to go caseless or take the DIY route.

There’s no denying though that this toddler pillow is one of the most portable and cutest kids pillows in the market.

Pros
Cons

Conclusion

It’s normal to feel anxious when your little one moves from the crib to a big kid bed. I hope this short guide sheds some light on when it’s time to introduce pillows for your child. Deep and restful sleep is of utmost importance during the formative years, so making their environment sleep-conducive is an investment in their wellbeing.

The pillows on the list are highly-rated and bestselling options so you won’t go wrong with any of them. If I were to pick my favorite, I’d choose the My Little North Star pillow.

It’s soft with just enough loft for supporting the head and neck. Its design is endorsed by chiropractors and the size fits children between 2 and 5 years old.

The hypoallergenic pillow won’t pose health hazards for your kid and it’s also completely machine washable so clean ups are easy.

Lastly, the pillow cover is made of all natural organic cotton which feels breathable and soft on the skin.

This pillow is the stuff sweet dreams are made of, or at least it will be for your tiny toddler.

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