I have seen it time and time again. Parents come to the store, shop for hours, test lots of beds, ask lots of questions like "What is the best mattress?" or "Should I get a memory foam mattress or organic natural bed?" After all the back and forth, testing and questions, they make a decision. Then, at the end, almost as an after thought, they will say "Oh, I need a new bed for the kids. What's your cheapest mattress?" Needless to say, it can leave you shaking your head. Yes, I know, times are tough and it would appear that kids can sleep on anything, so the least expensive mattress would work, right? No!
Usually, at most name brand mattress stores, the least expensive mattress or bed is one made of the lowest quality materials, made with a hard, unyielding metal coil, no soft foam, and polyester fabrics. This is about the worst thing you can put a child on. Why?
- First of all, a child's body mass is much less than an adults, and cannot process and deal with off-gassing chemicals the way our adult bodies do. Simply put, their little kid bodies are not big enough to deal with the onslaught of chemicals that emit into their lungs from the plastic fabrics and fire retardants. If you are on a budget, find a lesser expensive non-toxic memory foam or organic mattress designed for kids.
- A child's spine is very soft and malleable, which needs more support for it's proper development. Our older, matured spine is set and not going to experience any more growth. Whereas a child needs a surface that cradles the curve of their spine and does not put undue pressure or influence on the development of a proper, healthy curvature. Find surfaces that gently yield without giving up support. Look for medium to medium firm surfaces.
- Find a smaller pillow. Don't skimp on pillows! A pillow with too much loft will force a young, small neck to be out of alignment and can cause long term development issues.
If you have kids and are shopping for a mattress, find brands that are built to last 10-12 years. A good supportive mattress can really benefit your child's long term health.