4 Signs Your Toddler Needs a Pillow

January 11, 2024

From introducing solid food to watching them take their first steps, there's no shortage of milestones to experience during your little one's first couple of years! At Lullaby Earth, we're here to celebrate and guide you through these milestones  – like your kiddo's first pillow! 

Looking for signs your toddler needs a pillow? You’re in the right place.

When Can Kids Sleep With a Pillow?

Young boy leaning on his pillow and reading a bookYoung boy leaning on his pillow and reading a book

Like most other milestones, there isn’t one specific age recommended for your kiddo to start sleeping with a pillow. (We know that’s not very helpful!) But, there are certain ages when it is recommended that littles avoid using pillows.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, toddlers under the age of two should not use a pillow. And, if your little one is still in their crib, they should not have a pillow at all. 

Similar to how babies should sleep alone in a blanket and stuffy-free crib, it’s important to reduce suffocation risks in your toddler’s bed as well. Pillows can easily get caught in crib rails and pose suffocation hazards for little ones who are still sleeping in their cribs. Plus, pillows can be used by creative toddlers – i.e. most toddlers – as makeshift stairs to climb out of their cribs with. This poses a significant risk of your little one falling and hurting themselves. 

Essentially, there is no “right time” for a little one to have their first pillow. However, there are some signs to look out for to know if the time is right. Let’s dive into some of the signs that your kiddo might be ready to introduce a pillow into their sleeping space. 

4 Signs Your Toddler Needs a Pillow

Little girl sitting cross-legged on her bed with her pillow in her lapLittle girl sitting cross-legged on her bed with her pillow in her lap

When trying to determine if a pillow is right for your little one, it’s important to pay attention to their sleeping patterns, their behaviors and their level of comfort in their current sleep space. We’ve broken down some of the most important signs into four points.

1. Your Little One Has Transitioned to a Toddler or Big Kid Bed.

If your kiddo is toddler bed or big-kid bed ready, it’s probably a good time for them to start using a pillow. And, if you’re wondering whether or not your little one is ready to make the transition, we have the perfect blog for you

2. Your Kiddo Seems Uncomfortable Sleeping.

We want our littles to sleep safely above all else, but we also want them to be comfortable! If you notice that your kiddo has trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position and is no longer sleeping in a crib, it might be a good time to start thinking about a big-kid bed transition with a pillow included. 

3. They Start Resting their Head on Pillow-like Objects for Comfort.

Stuffed animals, blankets or even arms are ways that typical pillow-ready kiddos try to find comfort. If you find that your little one is using these objects to sleep comfortably, it might be a good time to incorporate a real pillow into their sleep set-up. 

4. They Ask when They’ll Get to Sleep with a Pillow. 

One of the signs your toddler needs a pillow is actually quite simple: they ask for it! While the decision to introduce a pillow should be based on more than just their request, if you’ve noticed one or more of the above signs in your toddler and if they’re over the age of two, asking for a pillow might be a sign of readiness. 

What to Look for in a Kids Pillow

Brothers having a pillow fight and laughingBrothers having a pillow fight and laughing

If you’ve decided that your little one is ready for a pillow, congratulations! Here’s where our expertise really comes in handy: helping you know what to look for in a kids’ pillow.  

Generally, kids pillows are crafted specifically for your little one’s needs (especially our Dream Easy Kids Pillow!). Here are some important aspects to pay attention to when choosing the perfect pillow for your kiddo. 

Non-toxic Materials

Ensuring a healthy sleep environment for our little ones is crucial for their well-being and development. This journey begins with the selection of non-toxic materials for their bedding, including mattresses and pillows.

Formaldehyde, phthalates, vinyl/PVC, and chemical flame retardants – they're not just big, scary words; they can really mess with our kiddos' health! Exposure has been associated with various health concerns, including: 

  • Hormonal disruptions
  • Increased risk of certain cancers
  • Developmental delays impacting motor skills, IQ and attention spans

Keeping our children's sleeping spaces free from these toxic substances is an essential part of keeping them safer and healthier – so that they can grow and dream peacefully!

Shop the Dream Easy Kids MattressShop the Dream Easy Kids Mattress

Dream Easy Kids Mattress

Shop the Dream Easy Kids PillowShop the Dream Easy Kids Pillow

Dream Easy Kids Pillow

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Dream Easy Waterproof Mattress Protector Pad

Firm Support

Ensuring your kid’s pillow is firm enough to support their growing bodies is important, too. Choosing a pillow that is too plush can increase the risk of suffocation in toddlers. Likewise, choosing a pillow that is too firm can be fairly uncomfortable and lead to sleep disruption. 

Remember: you’re choosing a pillow for your little one, not for yourself! Making sure that their pillow has firm support for their growing necks, backs and heads is the way to go.

Allergenic Safety 

Certain pillow materials, like latex and wool, are fairly common allergens. You probably know what you’re allergic to by the time you’re an adult. But when your child is young you probably don’t know all their allergies, and one of the worst places to find out that your little one has an allergy is tucked in their bed at night! 

Choosing a pillow made with allergy-friendly materials, like recycled polyester fibers or PLA filling, is a great way to keep your little one’s allergy safety in mind. 

More Tips for a Toddler-friendly Sleep Space

For an even more toddler-friendly sleep space, try these tips to keep your little one’s bedroom cleaner, safer and healthier. 

Choose Machine-washable Materials

When it comes to your kiddo’s bed, incorporating products with practical, easy-to-clean designs just makes sense. After all, kiddos can be messy … especially once potty-training begins! Removable, machine washable covers can be the perfect way to keep your little one’s growing head and body far away from the risks of mold, mildew and other bacterial growths. 

Try a Waterproof Mattress Protector

Waterproofing can be a life-saver in your child’s bedroom. Not to mention a sleep and sanity-saver for parents, too! When your kiddo begins potty-training, it’s important to choose a mattress that will be protected from any accidents that may (and likely will) happen. That’s why Lullaby Earth’s Dream Easy Kids Mattress comes complete with a washable cover backed with our non-toxic waterproofing potty training made easy. (Well … easier!)

Although there isn't one universal answer to the question of when a toddler will be ready for a pillow, with these guidelines you’ll be sure to know! And don’t forget that you know your kiddo best. When the time is right, you’ll know.

For more information on our Dream Easy Kids Collection, be sure to check out our blog post here!