If you're in a hurry and just want to find out what the best toddler pillow is, I'd recommend the Keaworld Toddler Pillow.
Pillows may be a no-no for your child’s first year of life, but after that, all bets are off. Sleep is supposed to be the one designated relaxation time for toddlers to recharge from their day. Because of that, it’s pretty imperative to make sure your little ones are comfortable so they can get the most out of their sleep.
Comfort for your little one begins with their toddler pillow. Unlike regular pillows, which can be way too big for tiny heads, toddler pillows are explicitly catered to our pint-sized friends. But how can you tell which is the best toddler pillow?
In this article, I am reviewing the best toddler pillows, and in the end, I'll choose the winner.
Here are the pillows I will be reviewing:
In short, your child should sleep on a flat surface without any extras until they’re at least one year old. Veering away from pillows and blankets before the one-year mark will significantly reduce the risk of SIDS.
While this is the recommendation, you don’t need to feel pressured to introduce a pillow to your toddler right away. A good time to do so is after you transition from crib to toddler bed. This transition typically takes place at any time between 18 months and two years, and most pillow manufacturers suggest this as the minimum age.
To stay on the safe side, stick to toddler pillows rather than full-size ones. Nix the pillowcase until they get used to their pillow.
So how can you tell which pillows are right for your child? There are a few key things to keep in mind that can help you. Above all, make sure it’s marketed as a toddler pillow. These are much smaller versions than the ones we sleep with and are usually more firm too.
Most babies are born with sensitive skin, and for some, that sensitivity follows them into toddlerhood. If your toddler suffers from eczema or allergic reactions, you should consider toddler pillows marketed as hypoallergenic.
Just because your toddler is finally old enough for a pillow doesn’t mean they’re entirely out of the woods yet. The cushion you choose should be thin and firm. While they’re technically old enough to use it, giving them one that’s too soft can pose a risk if it ends up over their face while they’re sleeping.
The inside contents are essential to take note of because different fillings will require various care guidelines. For example, memory foam can’t be submerged in water because it can compromise the material, so it’s not ideal for toddlers. However, a pillow filled with cotton can go through your washing machine — something quite beneficial when you have a messy toddler.
A lot of companies will advertise their pillow as being perfect for toddlers, but that isn’t always the case when you try the product. Because there are so many out there, I’ve narrowed it down to five options that I know you’ll be interested in.
A good, supportive pillow can ensure proper spinal growth. This particular toddler pillow is ergonomically designed and is suitable for your little one until they reach around the age of five years old. The pillow is made of soft organic cotton and measures in at 13 inches by 18 inches.
The comfort of a pillow depends directly on someone’s personal preference. This could mean your toddler will try 10 different brands before they find one that feels most comfortable. Since this one comes with a 365-day money-back guarantee, you don’t need to worry about wasting any money if it doesn’t work out.
Both the case and the pillow are hypoallergenic and can be machine-washed. It’s okay to run it through your dryer as well, but it should be done on the lowest setting. You can keep the pillow fluffy by periodically running it through your dryer. You should wash this pillow before using it for the first time.
If you’re wondering about the pillow’s filling, it consists of a plush ball fiber to maximize comfort. The pillow is excellent for travel or your toddler’s cot while they’re at preschool.
I like this option because you get to choose from plain white, ABCs, safari or unicorns. However, some parents have expressed concern about using this pillow with their stomach-sleeping toddler. It’s pretty cushy, so it could potentially block your toddler’s nasal passages or airways if they prefer to sleep on their belly.
This one is another organic cotton contender on my list. Because organic cotton is machine-washable, you’ll find that it’s a recurring theme throughout each of my picks. The inside is filled with soft polyester fiber and is completely hypoallergenic as well.
The cotton is grown in the United States, and the pillows are assembled here as well. If you like supporting small/local businesses, this company makes its products 100 percent here in the States. This is nice because your money is staying here rather than paying a company that outsources to other countries to get the job done.
On top of that, the pillow isn’t treated with any chemicals, unlike other pillow brands. The entire pillow is not only machine-washable but is safe for the dryer as well.
To wash this pillow, you should only use the mildest detergent. Wash it on the medium setting with warm or cold water. You can tumble dry on low and be sure NOT to use any hot setting with the washer or dryer.
Some toddlers may want more density. Unfortunately, this pillow seems to lay flatter than others that are similar. If your little one likes extra cushiness, this may not be the one for them.
The pillow should last between three to five years, and the company offers you a money-back guarantee, no questions asked. This one measures in at 13 inches by 18 inches.
This soft pillow is made from 100 percent certified organic cotton and is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and free from all added chemicals. Recommended for toddlers starting at age two, it also measures in at 18 inches by 13 inches. It’s also designed to prevent lumpiness, which keeps it comfy for much longer.
The filling is made of poly cluster fibers and can be washed on the gentle cycle with cold water. You can also run it through the dryer on the lowest tumble dry setting. If you need to use bleach, you can use any chlorine-free solution.
The pillow and its contents are grown and made in the United States too, which is cool if you like the idea of “homegrown” products. The design of the pillow was created by a group of chiropractors as well, so you know that your toddler’s comfort and health were at the forefront.
The company also makes cases that fit snugly around the pillow. Pillowcases may not be ideal for the initial transition, but they’re good to keep in mind when your toddler gets used to their pillow. They can make keeping it clean a lot easier.
They also offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked. This is nice because pillows are very much a “personal preference” type of item. It can take trying a few different ones before finding the most comfortable one.
After regular use and a few washes, you may find that this pillow seems to lose its “fluff.” This can typically fix itself when you run it through your dryer on high for a short cycle; however, in some cases, even this doesn’t fix the problem.
This one is a “two birds, one stone” situation. It comes with one toddler pillow and a pillowcase too. Both the pillow and its case are a poly/cotton blend which means they’re machine-washable and dryer-friendly also. Unlike pillows with 100 percent cotton, this one is guaranteed not to shrink after washing.
Like our first pick, this one is backed by chiropractors and is recommended for children at least two years of age. It measures in at 14 inches by 19 inches and uses dense, but soft, fibers as filling. The pillow is also hypoallergenic and is resistant to mold and mildew too.
It can be difficult trying to find a good case for toddler pillows due to their size. This one is also nice because it comes with a pillowcase that is made specifically to fit this pillow.
For those of you who like “shopping small” and supporting small businesses, this company is family-owned and operated. Their pillows are also made in the United States.
Family-owned businesses always seem to have a better general attitude toward their customers. In my experience, these companies are the ones who will bend over backwards to make sure you’re satisfied, and this company does that.
Because this pillow only comes in white, it’s more susceptible to noticeable stains and spills. This can quickly prove inconvenient considering how messy toddlers can be.
If you aren’t satisfied with the product after using it, the company also offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
Before I go, I have one last toddler pillow recommendation. This USA-made pillow comes with a whopping 20-year warranty along with a 120-night sleep trial. Of all the toddler pillows on my list, this one has the best customer satisfaction guarantee, by far.
The pillow’s filling is made of a high-density non-toxic shredded foam mix, which is guaranteed to be resistant to dust mites. The pillow’s cover is made of polyester and bamboo as well, and it’s completely hypoallergenic too.
The product ships to you rolled up in an airtight bag. This prevents any unwanted substances from attaching to the fabric. Both the pillow and its cover are entirely machine-washable and dryer-safe. It’s recommended to run the pillow through your dryer on high for 20 minutes every few weeks to keep it fluffy for your toddler.
Some parents have expressed concern over the fact that it may have a strong smell when you first open it. This can be fixed by running the pillow through your washer and dryer on a regular cycle.
This pillow measures in at the standard size of 18 inches by 13 inches.
As parents, there’s nothing we want more than to see our little ones comfortable and safe. Once they’ve graduated to a toddler bed, this want escalates as we run through every possible scenario in our heads.
Though all the options on this list are contenders for the best toddler pillow available, the Keaworld Toddler Pillow has to take the crown as my favorite. Compared to other pillows made for toddlers, it’s soft yet firm, easy to clean, hypoallergenic and lasts until school age. Basically, it has everything you need in a toddler pillow — plus the cute prints are an added bonus.
Your toddler may be asking to use a pillow now, and it’s essential to find the best toddler pillow to fit their needs. Just remember, in this case, bigger is not always better.
Ryan is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice. When he isn't spending time with his wife, Cristin, or his two children, he can often be found running around on the tennis court.