Are you excited your toddler has finally graduated to being able to use pillows?
Toddlers can find every possible reason not to go to sleep, but if you provide them with comfortable sleeping accessories, your job can be made a little bit easier. Having the right pillow or pillowcase can make a world of a difference and cut down on the time it takes your toddler to fall asleep. Safety is also a major factor when trying to find the perfect pillow for your child.
There are so many different toddler pillows and pillowcases out there that it can be challenging to find the perfect one. So here’s what you need to know before embarking on your search, as well as what we think are the best toddler pillows currently on the market.
- 100% hypoallergenic
- Machine washable and hygienic
- 1-year money back guarantee
- Hypoallergenic fillings
- Machine washable and dryer friendly
- Super soft outer shell
- Quickly adjusts to all children
- Never goes flat
- Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant
- Satisfaction guaranteed
- Machine washed & dryer safe
- Pillowcase included
- Machine washable
- Super soft & comfortable
- Dual purpose
- Matching pillow and blanket
- Soft lightweight material
- 100% satisfaction guaranteed
- Multiple uses
- Cute design and universal size
- Machine washable and dryable
- Enhanced comfort
- Our Top Picks
- Does Your Child Need a Toddler Pillow?
- Is Your Toddler Ready for a Pillow?
- How to Choose the Best Toddler Pillow
- The Best Toddler Pillows of 2020
- The Best Toddler Pillowcases of 2020
- Does the Pillow Need a Pillowcase?
- When to Replace a Toddler Pillow
- What if Your Child Refuses a Pillow?
- Dangers Associated with Toddler Pillows
- The Bottom Line
Does Your Child Need a Toddler Pillow?
You may think you can just give your child any old pillow, but that’s actually not the case. A regular pillow is designed with adult proportions in mind, so it wouldn’t support the neck and head of a toddler in the correct way.
A regular pillow could also strain your child’s muscles and cause discomfort at night and into the next day. This can even lead to poor posture. A toddler pillow goes the extra mile to ensure that your child is not only comfortable but that his or her developing body is properly supported as well.
Sleep is vital for your toddler’s growing and developing mind and body. If your toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night and you haven’t introduced one yet, a toddler pillow may be your solution. A comfortable pillow can help your child sleep better and feel well-rested the next day.
Is Your Toddler Ready for a Pillow?
There is a huge debate about when it’s appropriate to introduce pillows to your toddler. Most often, a parent will make the introduction between 18 to 24 months when the transition from crib to toddler bed occurs.
Some parents choose to introduce pillows even later than this, and occasionally a child will be happy without one for many years (1). Ultimately, it’s your decision as a parent as to when you want to incorporate a pillow. If you are still unsure, you should speak with your child’s health care provider.
Your child may be ready to sleep with a pillow if they are:
- Unable to sleep without their head propped up.
- Uncomfortable and restless at night.
- Using a blanket or stuffed animal as a pillow.
- Using a pillow when in your bed or on the couch.
How to Choose the Best Toddler Pillow
There are many aspects that go into determining what type of pillow is best for your toddler. You should keep the following in mind before making your pick.
If you know your child is allergic to something like polyester or wool, it’s important you avoid pillows or pillowcases that are made of these materials. If your child has any allergies it is important to always read the pillow’s label. This will tell you the materials that were used in making the pillow.
Firm vs soft
You need to find a proper balance between firmness and softness. If the pillow can be pushed down without regaining its shape seconds later, then it’s too soft. Super soft pillows may be more comfortable in your eyes, but they pose a suffocation risk. But if the pillow doesn’t move at all when you apply pressure, then it’s too firm. Try to find a pillow that gives you a happy medium.
Check out the satisfaction guarantee associated with a pillow before purchasing. Good quality pillows are more likely to have a longer guarantee.
Thread count is important for comfort, and most toddlers love soft, fluffy textures. The higher the thread count, the silkier and less scratchy the material. Your toddler will most likely appreciate the higher thread counts over the lower ones.
Pillow fill material
The way a pillow feels comes down to the particular materials it’s made of. It’s important to find a pillow fill that can be cleaned easily, and which doesn’t make a lot of noise when your child shifts their head. Also, ensure that your child is not allergic to the filler material by once again reading the label.
You want to be mindful of the materials you choose to let your child rest their head on. The best toddler pillows have covers made of cotton, cotton-polyester blend, and synthetic fiber.
If your toddler is sensitive to many things or has sensitive skin, it’s probably in your best interest to purchase a hypoallergenic pillow. These pillows will help reduce irritations and allergic reactions.
One of the most important features of any toddler item is making sure it is machine washable. Messes are inevitable and you want to make sure the item you’re buying can last and endure those messes.
The Best Toddler Pillows of 2020
Now that you understand the importance of toddler pillows and their benefits, let’s take a look at some of the best pillows for toddlers on the market.
1. KeaBabies Hypoallergenic Toddler Pillow With Pillow Case
Some toddlers tend to have sensitivities to many things, pillows included. We spend a lot of time sleeping on our pillows, so it’s important that it isn’t the culprit behind a stuffy nose or watery eyes. Finding a hypoallergenic pillow can provide your child with some much-needed relief.
If your child has allergies, it can be difficult to find a pillow that will not cause flare-ups. This hypoallergenic pillow is a great option to ensure your little one is allergy-free when sleeping.
The materials used in this pillow are 100 percent hypoallergenic and extremely soft to keep your little one comfortable. This pillow is best if used by children between the ages of 2 to 5.
This pillow is a great choice to ensure spinal support and healthy growth and development of your child when sleeping. It was specially designed with toddlers in mind to accommodate their unique sleep needs.
There is a pillowcase included, which adds another layer of hypoallergenic protection and helps reduce the development of odors.
If your child struggles with allergies, a hypoallergenic pillow is what you need.
- 100 percent hypoallergenic.
- Includes a pillowcase.
- Machine washable and hygienic.
- One-year money back guarantee.
- Only one size available –13 x 18 inches.
- Not organic.
2. My Little North Star 100% Organic Toddler Pillow
If you are trying to stay on the safe side with your child and prefer natural rather than manufactured products, an organic pillow is the way to go. Not only are organic pillows comfortable, they’re great for your child -- especially those with skin sensitivities or allergies.
This is a smaller than average pillow that’s made with toddlers in mind. Created for children between 2 and 5, the small size makes it more comfortable and supportive for little ones. This pillow was designed and approved by chiropractors to ensure that it provides comfortable and proper sleep for your little one.
A major benefit of this pillow is that it has a 100-percent organic cotton shell and hypoallergenic cluster fiber filling. If you’re looking for a more natural and chemical-free pillow for your child, this is the perfect combination.
If you are looking for a pillow that doesn’t need a pillowcase, this one is also a great choice because it’s washable. The filling of the pillow also ensures it will not get lumpy after washing.
There’s a great satisfaction guarantee associated with this product, so you don’t have to worry about being unhappy with the product.
- Comprised of hypoallergenic fillings to be as natural as possible.
- Machine washable and dryer friendly.
- Super soft outer shell for maximum comfort.
- Made in the USA with love and care.
- Long-lasting and easy to clean.
- Just one size available — 13 x 18 inches.
- Some parents did not like how flat this pillow was.
3. Snuggle-Pedic Toddler Pillow
Adults love memory foam and your toddler will too! These pillows can be a little tricky to find in toddler sizes, but it is possible. If your toddler seems unhappy with other pillows, a memory foam pillow may just be your perfect solution.
It’s easy for adults to quickly adjust their pillows and go back to sleep, but this can sometimes be an impossible task for toddlers. You don’t want a pillow being the reason your child wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep.
Down pillows are comfortable, but they lose their shape over the course of the night. This great quality memory foam pillow solves the problem and keeps your toddler comfortable throughout the night.
The material used inside is light, shredded memory foam which makes for a pillow that’s not too firm, not too soft. Finally, this pillow uses a micro-vented bamboo cover to allow for breathability and circulation throughout the night.
- Made in the USA.
- Quickly adjusts to all children.
- Machine washable.
- Never goes flat.
- Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
- 90-day sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
- Only one size available — 13 x 18 inches.
- Some parents said the pillow was too hard.
- Some parents believed the pillow was too large for their child.
4. Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow
Some toddlers prefer flat pillows and that’s perfectly fine! The struggle with this is that it can be challenging to find a comfortable flat pillow. There are some out there that are perfect for toddlers, you just have to do a little digging.
This pillow is designed with the correct fill to keep your toddler comfortable and supported. Some children tend to prefer flatter pillows, and that sometimes means that support can be compromised. That’s not the case with the Dreamtown pillow.
Your child will be supported throughout the night by the dense, yet supportive fibers. All of the components of this pillow are non-toxic, and woven with 100 percent cotton or poly blend materials.
These materials are also great for resisting mold, mildew, and mites, and are 100-percent hypoallergenic. If you need any more assurance, this pillow is recommended by chiropractors.
A pillowcase is included, and you can use the pillow with or without it, but it’s nice to have the option. There are also many other pillowcases that can be purchased to put your personal touch and style on your pillow.
- Made in the USA.
- Satisfaction guaranteed or money back.
- Machine washed and dryer safe.
- Pillowcase included.
- Only comes in one size — 14 x 19 inches.
- Some parents noted the stitching quickly fell apart.
- Some parents found the material seemed to be scratchy.
5. Pillow Pets Cute Plush Pillow
You can blame their fashion-forward moms, but some toddlers already have their own fierce sense of style. Just because pillows are functional, it doesn’t mean they can’t also be cute! The cuteness may even encourage your child to love his or her pillow and use it much more willingly.
Some toddlers need a pillow but don’t quite like the idea of sleeping with something new. If you’re wanting your toddler to make the switch, a “pillow pet friend” is a great place to start.
This pillow is small and was designed with little toddlers in mind. The variety of animal options lets your child choose one they will love and hopefully be excited to use.
This pillow is a stuffed animal first, and then by simply releasing the Velcro, it becomes a friendly pillow. The animals that are available are super cute and a great alternative to a boring, traditional pillow.
The soft plush fur makes these pillows very huggable as both stuffed animals and comfortable pillows. If you have been struggling to find a cute and snuggly pillow for your little one, this is a great one to start with.
- Machine washable.
- Cute and available in a variety of animals.
- Super soft and comfortable.
- Doubles as a pillow and a friend.
- Not hypoallergenic.
- Some parents reported that the eyes could easily fall off — and if your toddler’s like mine they won’t want to sleep with a half-blind animal friend.
6. Disney Easy Fold Nap Mat With Pillow
Nothing makes you feel like you have your life together like a matching pillow and blanket set. Sometimes to find a matching set you have to compromise comfort. But that doesn’t have to be the case as there are many great options that are both stylish and comfortable.
Some parents struggle to find a toddler pillow and blanket that coordinates with the bedroom, so this helps take the drama out of that decision. This bed-in-a-bag set comes with all the necessary items for your child’s bed, plus the important toddler-sized pillow.
The design is universal, so it’s inviting for both boys and girls. The pillow included is thin and transitional, yet it has a snug pillowcase for security.
The bedding itself is made of the most gentle 100-percent cotton muslin lightweight fabric for maximum comfort. The bedding isn’t too heavy, so it’s sure to keep your toddler warm, but not too hot.
If you are looking for a stylish bedroom set that has all the matching accessories, this is a great addition.
- Matching pillow and blanket.
- Comprised of soft lightweight material.
- A snug case for a pillow to ensure safety and security.
- Not hypoallergenic.
- Some users found the bedding snagged and threads became loose.
7. Animal Planet Travel Pillow
When it’s hard enough to travel with a toddler, let alone try to manage comfortable naps, a toddler travel pillow could be a lifesaver. If you find the right one, you may be able to reward yourself with some quiet time and a significantly happier toddler.
It can be tricky to find a pillow that works for your child when you’re traveling, especially one that is safe and stays in place.
This pillow was specifically designed for travel, and it has an open, C-shaped design to ensure your toddler is safe and supported when using it. The fun giraffe design was made with toddlers in mind, using plush fabric to keep your little one comfortable.
If you are looking for a unique and charming pillow for traveling, this is the one. It’s compact enough to bring along on any trip, but supportive enough to do the job of a traditional pillow. Use it for travel whether in a stroller, car seat, or airplane.
The best part is that the cute design will make your little one think of this pillow as more of a stuffed animal, making nap times a fun adventure.
This pillow should be utilized for children 1 year of age and older.
- Multiple uses.
- Machine washable and tumble dryer safe.
- Easily cleaned.
- 100-percent satisfaction guaranteed.
- Cute design and universal size.
- Some parents thought it pushed their child’s head too far forward.
- Not hypoallergenic.
The Best Toddler Pillowcases of 2020
A good toddler pillow can be a great sleeping solution, but sometimes a pillowcase is still called for. If your child doesn’t find the material of the pillow comfortable enough, then a pillowcase can help. The right pillowcase can also add an extra layer of protection to combat odors or messes.
1. My Little North Star Hypoallergenic Toddler Pillowcase
If your child has allergies or extremely sensitive skin, this pillowcase is a perfect choice. It consists of hypoallergenic materials and is made of 100 percent Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton.
The pillow is made without harsh materials and uses extremely soft 200-thread count fabric that is lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. The hypoallergenic materials and high thread count mean that this pillowcase should provide your little one with the ultimate in comfort.
If you’re struggling to find a soft and hypoallergenic pillow for your child, you can always add an extra layer of protection onto an ordinary pillow with this pillowcase, which can make a huge difference.
This pillow is not offered in a variety of colors, but the design available is unisex.
- Machine washable and dryable.
- 200-thread count for enhanced comfort.
- Comes in just one design.
- Only offered in size 19 x 14 inches.
2. Zack and Ali Organic Toddler Pillow Case
If you’re looking for an organic pillowcase, this one is a great option. It’s designed to fit toddler pillows and is made of 100-percent certified organic cotton.
Some parents would be happy to know that pillowcases are made in the U.S. They are also handcrafted and designed to be secure and difficult for little rascals to remove.
If you have questioned using a pillowcase because you’re afraid your toddler could easily remove it, these ones have been tested and proven to stay put.
There are many different colored prints and colors to choose from to ensure you find a pillowcase to match your child’s room or personal preference.
- Machine washable and dryable for all those unexpected messes.
- 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
- Can’t be easily removed by little hands.
- Only comes in size 13 x 18 inches.
3. Moisture Wicking Toddler Pillowcase
If your toddler tends to be a sweaty sleeper, this pillowcase may be your new best friend. It can be a pain to constantly have to wash a pillow, and after several washes pillows tend to lose their shape. Instead, a pillowcase like this one can absorb moisture well and be washed frequently to keep your little one dry and comfortable.
Sweating when sleeping can also cause your little one’s pillow to develop an odor. This pillowcase was designed with sweaty sleepers in mind, as it wicks away the moisture and prevents it from penetrating into the pillow, where it could get a little funky.
This pillow is also hypoallergenic, so it’s safe to use for almost all toddlers. The materials used to create the pillowcase were designed with comfort as the top priority. The cotton fabric is jersey knit so it’s silky soft and has no static cling.
- Dries 4 times faster than cotton.
- 100 percent hypoallergenic.
- Comes in 2 different sizes for toddler pillows — 13 x 18 and 14 x 19 inches.
- Soft, natural feel.
- 4 different colors to choose from.
- Some parents questioned the breathability of the pillowcases.
- Some parents thought the pillowcases were too small.
Does the Pillow Need a Pillowcase?
Many toddler pillows are machine washable, so they don’t require pillowcases. If you prefer to use a pillowcase for your child’s pillow, there are some things to keep in mind.
- Pillowcases will dry faster than a pillow.
- The extra layer can prevent long-lasting odors from developing.
- If the surface of the pillow is uncomfortable, a pillowcase can enhance comfort.
- A pillowcase can usually catch a mess, so your entire pillow doesn’t have to be out of commission every time a mess occurs. You can simply wash the pillowcase!
When to Replace a Toddler Pillow
The pillow your child uses is important for successful sleep and comfort. Most pillows can endure a lot and last a while, but sometimes they need to be replaced. You should replace your toddler’s pillow if:
- The inside filling clumps together.
- It has to constantly be fluffed to maintain comfort.
- It can be folded in half and still not return to its normal shape.
What if Your Child Refuses a Pillow?
You don’t have to force your toddler to use a pillow. This is something that will eventually come with time, but rest assured that your child may simply prefer sleeping without one.
You can always try and reintroduce the pillow every couple of weeks — it will eventually take!
Don’t Rush It
Dangers Associated with Toddler Pillows
As with most things toddler related, there are always going to be risks. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on these risks and figure out solutions or ways you can avoid them. Your child’s healthcare provider can always serve as a resource.
If you believe your child is ready for a pillow, it’s important you avoid the following types (2):
- A pillow that’s too soft: A pillow that is too soft or fluffy poses a suffocation risk. Like in the Goldilocks story, it’s best to find one that isn’t too soft, but isn’t too firm!
- A pillow that’s too big: An adult-sized pillow is simply too big for your child and only increases the suffocation risk. Overly large pillows can also cause neck or back strain.
- A pillow with loose fabric: You should never place an adult-sized pillowcase on a toddler pillow, as the extra material can be a safety hazard. You should also choose lightweight fabrics over heavier ones.
- A pillow with unsafe fillers: Pillows filled with cheap or loose filling can pose a choking hazard. Pieces of foam, pellets, or grains may eventually make their way outside the pillow, and cause trouble. Purchasing a pillow with polyester or natural filling is the easiest way to avoid this problem.
- A pillow that worsens allergies: The chemicals used to treat some fillers can aggravate sensitive noses or skins. Opt for a hypoallergenic pillow instead.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick for the best toddler pillow is the KeaBabies Hypoallergenic Pillow.
The benefits are clear — you have the option to use the pillow with a pillowcase, or you can use the pillow solo. The hypoallergenic features make this a safe and healthy pillow for any child, plus parents report the pillow is comfortable and cozy. Perfect!
It’s important to first find a pillow that’s safe and comfortable. If you notice your toddler is having trouble sleeping, something as easy as a new pillow could make a world of difference.
There are many pillows on the market, but be patient and you’ll find one that suits your needs and has the features you are looking for. The right pillow will be safe, supportive, healthy, and appropriate for your toddler — not to mention easy for you to clean when necessary!