Your child’s sleeping habits can have an impact on their spine and posture so it’s very important to choose the right pillow for your child.
We know selecting a pillow can be a minefield so we have compiled a list of 12 things to think about when it’s time to give your child a pillow:
1) Which type of pillow do I choose?
- Wool or polyester pillows – These pillows can be filled with man made fibres such as polyester or they might be filled with a natural fibre such as wool which is soft and supportive – make sure you check this out. You might find yourself throwing out a polyester pillow a lot quicker than you would for any other choice – they can become quite thin quite quickly and lose their support.
- Latex pillows – These pillows are fast becoming the new favourite. There are 3 different types of latex pillows; natural, synthetic or a blend of both. As well as being hypo-allergenic which makes it a great choice for asthma and allergy sufferers; latex pillows provide good support for the neck as well as comfortable cushioning for your child’s head. Research has shown that this type of pillow is the preference for comfort and support.
- Feather and down pillows – If this natural fibre filled pillow has more down it is generally softer and will last longer than if it has more feathers, as feathers are harder and become flat quite easily. These type of pillows mold around your head offering comfort to both your head and neck.
- Memory foam pillows – This is a dense sponge like pillow. They are heat and weight sensitive so they mould to the shape of your neck and head to help provide even support. They help reduce pressure on areas such as your child’s jaw and ear. The downside of these pillows is that they can restrict movement while your child sleeps.
- Foam pillows – A foam pillow is made from a solid piece or chunks of foam. If your foam pillow is made from good quality material it will give your child the necessary comfort and support and keep its shape for years. This type of pillow is generally cheaper than memory foam.
- Contour pillows – These are usually made from latex, foam or memory foam and suit children that sleep on their backs.
2) According to SIDS guidelines it is recommended that children don’t have a pillow until they are sleeping in a bed, so usually around 18 months.
3) A number of chiropractors believe that the best sleep position for your child is on their side.
- This can help reduce any snoring and is good for your child’s spine.
- A child’s contoured pillow can help with this.
4) Try to make your child’s first pillow a new one.
Older hand me down pillows can have a high content of dust mites and other germs.
5) Check the expected life span of the pillow. This is usually found on the packaging.
- Some pillow brands even have a tag you can write the date you bought the pillow on.
6) As they get older some kids bunch the pillow under their neck which is another reason to make sure you regularly change the pillow.
7) If your child lies on their back the best pillow is a thin one. The neck is supported without raising the head too high.
8) If your child is a tummy sleeper then a pillow isn’t much use. There are advantages and disadvantages for the spine when you tummy sleep.
- It’s great for the low and mid part of the spine.
- It’s not so great if your child tends to sleep with their head turned the same way each night as this can create neck joint issues.
9) If your child is a side sleeper make sure the pillow is thick enough to support the side of the head and neck in a neutral position.
- It’s a bit of a tricky one to make sure it’s not too thick or too thin.
10) Check these 5 things to make sure you’re choosing the right pillow for your child:
- Lay your child on their side on the bed. Look for the gap between the bed and the neck. The pillow should gently cradle the neck
- Ask your child to bend both their legs and make sure the top leg is not bent higher than the bottom leg. This should help stop them from rolling onto their tummy while they sleep.
- Look at your child’s eyes. Then imagine a vertical line running from ceiling to floor through their eyes. This line should be perpendicular to the floor.
- After that imagine a line along the middle of the face that should be parallel to the floor. If either of these lines are not straight this indicates the pillow is either too high or too low however if they are perpendicular then the pillow is a winner!
- From the age of 2 you should encourage your child to start to sleep on their side.
11) Pillows can be filled with germs so it is suggested to replace them every 6 months to 2 years. Even earlier depending on the filling of the pillow.
12) Give your child’s pillow a big shake and fluff it up each day.
- Use a pillow protector and regularly sit the pillow in the sun and fresh air.
- Check the washing instructions and wash your pillow regularly.
We hope these tips will help you navigate the minefield that is choosing a pillow. Do you have any tips to add to this? SHARE with us in the comments below.