Best Toddler Pillows

Best Toddler Pillows UK (2024)

Last updated: 23.05.2024 Reading time: 12 Min.

Babies under 1 year should not use pillows or duvets, according to the NHS.

But what about toddlers?

Most start using their first pillow between 18 months and 2 years old.

You'll need a special toddler pillow since adult pillows aren't safe or comfortable for small children.

Let's take a look at the best toddler pillows (and how you can choose one). 👇

Toddler pillows
Sleep Hero Favourite

Panda London Memory Foam Toddler Pillow

The Panda Toddler pillow is made to support your child's head and spine.
  • Memory foam & bamboo cover
  • Medium feel
  • Perfect size and height for toddlers 

Tell me more about the Panda Toddler Pillow

The Panda Toddler Pillow, made from memory foam, is soft, comfortable, and long-lasting.

The pressure-relieving foam helps prevent flat head syndrome. 

Its size (including depth and width) makes it a perfect companion for smaller children, ensuring maximum support and no uncomfortable neck angles. 

Toddlers are more vulnerable to bacteria and allergens, so Panda's pillow uses hypoallergenic materials and an antibacterial cover to help ensure a great night's sleep. 

The built-in pillow protector and removable and machine-washable cover are highly practical for keeping the pillow clean. 

Reasons to buy

30-night trial period

Unmatched 10-year guarantee 

Hygienic design is great for allergies 

Reasons to avoid

Cannot adjust to different heights 

Toddlers will eventually outgrow it 

Great For Allergies

Clevamama ClevaFoam Toddler Pillow

The Clevamama ClevaFoam Toddler Pillow is lightweight, breathable and made just for little heads.
  • ClevaFoam & cotton cover
  • Medium-firm
  • Great for allergies/asthma 

Tell me more about the ClevaFoam Toddler Pillow

The Clevamama ClevaFoam Toddler Pillow is smaller than an adult pillow and better suited to help toddlers sleep and grow up healthy.

According to research carried out in conjunction with Trinity University in Dublin, ClevaFoam technology reduces up to 50% of the pressure on your baby's head.

The mouldable foam helps prevent flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly). 

The breathable and lightweight materials are also hypoallergenic, making them suitable for those with asthma or allergies. 

You won't have to worry about the safety or comfort of your toddler's skin since it is independently certified as toxin-free by OEKO-TEX 100.

Plus, the Clevamama ClevaFoam Toddler Pillow has a removable and machine-washable cover that keeps things clean as easy as pie.

Reasons to buy

Hypoallergenic & OEKO-TEX certifed

Reduces pressure on baby's head 

Machine-washable cover 

Reasons to avoid

No trial or guarantee

Value For Money

Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow

The Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow is soft, plush, and easy to clean.
  • Polyester fibre balls & organic cotton case
  • 46 x 33 x 9 cm (18 x 13 x 3.5")
  • Soft-medium support

Tell me more about the Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow

The Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow is adorable and affordable, so it's no wonder it's a bestseller.

This small pillow, with its ergonomic design, is the perfect fit for little heads and necks. 

With over 30 cute pillowcase patterns to choose from, you're sure to find something your child loves.

The Keababies Toddler Pillow has an organic cotton pillowcase and shell, which is soft to the touch and helps with temperature regulation. 

It is filled with fibre balls and is relatively soft and plush for a toddler pillow (which generally tends to be firmer).

Handily, cleaning is a breeze since the Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow is machine-washable and dryable.

Reasons to buy

Includes a free pillowcase

Machine-washable

OEKO-TEX 100 Standard Certified Cotton and GOTS Certified

Reasons to avoid

No trial or guarantee

Natural Choice

The Little Green Sheep Organic Wool Pillow

The Organic Wool pillow offers eco-friendly, allergen-resistant comfort for a naturally supported and cool sleep experience.

This toddler pillow offers natural support, gently moulding around your little one's head. 

The Organic Wool pillow is a great choice for those seeking a natural, allergen-resistant pillow for toddlers. 

Made from organic wool, this pillow has temperature-regulating properties to ensure a comfortable sleep experience throughout the night. 🌡️

One of the standout features of this pillow is its ability to gently mould around your head, providing natural support that adapts to your child's sleep position.

Parents will appreciate the anti-allergy properties of this pillow, keeping their little one safe from allergens. 

organic wool pillow
The Organic Wool pillow is safe for 12 months and over. 

It's essential to note that it's not suitable for babies under 12 months. 🚫

The Organic Wool pillow is machine-washable (just remember to wash it cold and avoid tumble drying).

However, some customers have complained that the pillow becomes lumpy after washing, so it might be best to avoid this altogether. 

 Remember to follow safety guidelines for infant bedding and maintain an optimal room temperature for your child's well-being. 

  The Little Green Sheep Organic Wool Pillow
Composition: 100% organic wool filling and 100% cotton cover
Firmness: Medium
Trial period: None
Guarantee: None
Size: 40 x 60 cm (15.7 x  23.6 inches)
Advantages: Natural contouring, temperature-regulating, anti-allergy, machine-washable
Disadvantages: No trial or guarantee, has a strong odour, and some complaints about becoming lumpy after washing

When should your toddler start using a pillow?

The NHS website [1] states that children under 1 year old should not use soft bedding, including pillows and duvets.

Studies suggest that pillows and duvets may pose a choking hazard linked to higher chances of SIDS [2] (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) for children under 1.

Many experts suggest waiting until around 18 months to 2 years old to introduce a pillow or duvet. 🧑‍⚕️

Of course, the age children can and want to start using bedding varies.

Pillows for toddlers and kids
Children grow at different rates, and it’s important you choose a pillow based on your toddler's needs.

But most experts agree that your decision should be based on the individual child.

How do you know when your toddler is ready for a pillow?

Your child may place teddies or blankets under their head when they're ready for a pillow.

Alternatively, it is often easier to add a toddler pillow when your little one is transitioning from their cot to a toddler bed. 🛌

You can always chat with your doctor if you are uncertain.

Generally, a small, firm toddler pillow is best when you're looking for your child’s first pillow.

As your child grows, their pillow will need to change.

Luckily, brands like Panda offer pillows designed to provide the best support for kids of every age.

Panda Baby Pillow
The Panda Baby Pillow is one of the best first pillows for children as young as 12 months old.

Panda London’s Baby Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow is small and flat, making it suitable for babies 12 months and older.

For older children, the Panda Toddler pillow and Panda Kids pillow are worth considering.

Our favourite Panda pillows for little ones:

What to consider when buying a toddler pillow

Can you just grab a spare adult pillow to use as your child's first pillow?

Unfortunately, no! 🙅

While the risk of SIDS and suffocation significantly decrease after a child reaches 1, an adult pillow is still too large and soft to be safe or comfortable for toddlers.

Most toddler pillows are smaller and firmer, but that's not all.

There are several important factors to consider when looking for the best toddler pillows. ✅

Safe toddler pillows

Of course, first and foremost in any parent's mind is safety.

Given that the wrong pillow may be dangerous, you must know how to choose the safest option.

Firstly, pillows for toddlers should be small and firm.

Large and soft pillows can increase the risk of entrapment and suffocation, particularly if used in a cot bed.

Secondly, the pillow fill must be free from harmful chemicals and large enough not to pose a choking hazard. ⛔

Man with thumbs up
Make sure you look for pillows free from harmful substances and small parts.

This also applies to pillow and duvet covers, which must be breathable, child-safe, and contain no harmful substances or small parts.

For example, the OEKO-TEX 100 certification tests and ensures products are free from harmful substances.

Pillows made from natural materials are not only less harmful to your child but to the environment too.

The Organic Wool pillow by Little Green Sheep is made with 100% certified organic cotton & British wool.

BUY LGS ORGANIC WOOL PILLOW£ 39.95

Learn more about toddler pillow safety further down.

Hypoallergenic toddler pillows

Toddlers' skin tends to be more sensitive.

You can reduce the risk of your little one experiencing itchiness or allergic reactions by choosing hypoallergenic pillows. 🤧

Triggers like bacteria, dust mites, and mould can sit in pillow and duvet fabrics, causing or worsening allergic reactions.

People and toddlers with allergies
Hypoallergenic materials help prevent allergic reactions from striking.

Hypoallergenic materials tend to have a tighter weave, preventing bacteria, dust mites, and mould from settling in or penetrating the bedding.

The Clevamama Toddler Pillow is made with anti-allergy materials, perfect for kids with allergies or asthma. 👑

BUY CLEVAMAMA TODDLER PILLOW£ 29.95

Toddler pillow height

The height, or loft, of your toddler's pillow matters.

A pillow that is too tall or low can strain your toddler's neck by forcing their head into an awkward position.

Most generic pillows are too tall for small children, pushing the head too far up and causing neck pain. 😖

This positioning can cause spinal misalignment, where the spine twists rather than staying neutral.

Optimal spinal alignment
Pillows can help ensure healthy spinal alignment from toddlers to adults.

Sleeping with a pillow of the wrong height is not necessarily dangerous.

However, it can affect your toddler's sleep, which is vital for their health and well-being, and your sanity. 💖

The Panda Toddler Memory Foam Pillow is one of the flattest options, with a height of just 6 cm (2.4 inches).

It is ideal for very small children or those who haven't shown much interest in pillows.

Up to -25% off sitewide

Toddler pillow sizes

Outside of height, pillow length and width are also important.

Pillows for toddlers are generally smaller than adult ones. 📏

Baby with cot bed pillow
Toddler pillows should be small and firm, especially in cot beds.

While toddlers in beds may be able to use something bigger, a large toddler duvet and pillow must not be used in a cot bed.

A bigger pillow may cause entrapment if it cannot lay flat.

Aside from safety reasons, smaller toddler pillows are pretty handy.

A small pillow is more travel-friendly and can be taken on various adventures with your little one, including to preschool or on journeys. 🚗

The Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow is an ideal size for bedtime and beyond, especially with its range of fun cover prints.

BUY KEABABIES TODDLER PILLOW£ 27.07

Toddler pillow firmness and support

Most young children prefer firm but soft pillows.

A pillow with the proper support will promote good posture in the spine and neck.

Pillow spinal alignment
A good pillow will help support your toddler's head and neck, ensuring their spine remains neutral.

It should cradle your toddler's head and neck as they sleep, allowing them to rest comfortably and ensuring they wake up happy.

Firmer pillows can retain their shape and so provide better support. 🥰

Of course, if a pillow is too firm, your toddler probably won't find it very comfortable.

The Clevamama Toddler Pillow is described as soft but firm, with an anti-allergy filling to help your child sleep better.

BUY CLEVAMAMA TODDLER PILLOW£ 29.95

Toddler pillow adjustability

Another thing to consider is adjustability.

People come in all shapes and sizes, and so should their pillows.

Different toddler pillows
All sorts of pillows, including adjustable ones, make finding the right pillow for your toddler easier.

Not every toddler pillow will be the right fit for your toddler.

You can ensure your child gets a great night's sleep by purchasing an adjustable pillow. 😴

Adjustable toddler pillows usually have layers to remove to find the perfect height.

Toddler pillow prices

Toddler pillows can range from under £10 to over £100.

Not every family can afford an expensive pillow, particularly when your toddler will grow out of it within a year or two.

The Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow is a great affordable option.

Toddler pillow safety

Not all pillows are safe for toddlers to use.

Toddlers are smaller than adults and have different needs for a safe and comfortable pillow.

Let's dive into which vital safety factors you must consider. 🤔

Toddler pillow safety certifications

When choosing the perfect pillow for toddlers, you should look for which safety certifications it has.

Important UK safety certifications include:

  • OEKO-TEX 100
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS [3])

OEKO-TEX 100 [4] is one of the most common safety certification standards for UK products.

It guarantees that the textiles have been tested for and are free from harmful substances. 👏

Since young children are particularly vulnerable to toxins, every thread of your toddler's pillow must be safe and harmless.

The Panda Toddler pillow is OEKO-TEX 100 certified.

Up to -25% off sitewide

Toddler pillow firmness and size

As we mentioned previously, toddler pillows tend to be smaller and firmer.

Most pillows for toddlers are around 33 x 20 cm (13 x 18 inches).

Larger pillows in cribs can bunch up and increase the risk of suffocation.

Additionally, smaller toddler pillows are more travel-friendly and easy to bring along to preschool or on trips. 🏫

Toddler pillow fill

Traditionally, feather and down pillow fillings are the most popular.

However, most parents avoid these since they can trigger allergies in young children.

Toddler pillows feather
Toddlers are more sensitive to allergens, so it's best to avoid feather or down pillows.

We recommend checking out the Clevamamma Toddler Pillow, which is certified allergy and asthma-friendly by Allergy Standards Ltd [5].

BUY CLEVAMAMA TODDLER PILLOW£ 29.95

Pillows with individual pellets or smaller piece fillings can pose a choking hazard and should also be avoided.

Fortunately, most toddler pillows are made with safe synthetic materials, like hollowfibre or microfibre, or natural fabrics, like cotton or bamboo. 👪

Toddler pillow covers

Covers are just as important as what's inside your toddler's pillow.

Thin or poorly made covers or those treated with harsh chemicals are neither toddler-safe nor friendly. 👎

While these may be safe for adults, they aren’t for children who are more vulnerable to toxins.

The best pillow covers are tested for harmful substances and have an OEKO-TEX 100 or equivalent certificate. 😇

A toddler pillow cover should ideally have an envelope or child-safe zip closure.

These pillow closures are the safest option for toddlers and children.

Caring for your toddler’s pillow

We all know that living with toddlers can be messy.

Accidents and exploration are part of your every day as toddler parents. 💣

Realistically, life’s easier with a child's duvet and pillow that you can machine wash and tumble dry.

Washing toddler pillow
Machine-washable and tumble-dry-safe pillows, duvets, and covers make life easier.

Most of the time, you’ll be able to get away with just washing the cover of your toddler’s pillow.

So while a machine-washable pillow is handy, it’s not a must for everyone.

For example, many parents love the Clevamama duvet and pillow sets because they're hypoallergenic and breathable.

The only downside is that the pillow itself can only be occasionally and gently hand-washed. 😮‍💨

But luckily, the cover is removable and machine-washable, which is fine for most situations.

BUY CLEVAMAMA TODDLER PILLOW£ 29.95

Of course, sometimes toddlers spill, and the pillow itself may get dirty (especially if they’re taking their pillow out of the house).

Being able to use washing machines and tumble driers means you can quickly get things cleaned and ready for your child's bedtime. 🧼

The Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow is both machine-washable and dryable.

Why should toddlers use a pillow?

There are plenty of reasons to avoid introducing a pillow too early.

But once it's safe and your toddler is showing signs they're ready, why should you give them their first pillow?

Mostly, we use pillows to make ourselves more comfortable. 🥰

A good pillow can also help support your toddler's head and ensure that their spine stays in a neutral position.

Generally, young children sleeping on their side require a slightly thicker pillow than those sleeping on their back or front.

In fact, little stomach sleepers may fare better without a pillow.

Baby sleeping
Stomach sleepers often sleep best with no pillow or a very flat one.

Like anyone else, toddlers sleep best if they are comfortable.

Plus, when your child sleeps soundly, you'll sleep better too. 🥳

Pillows can help soothe toddlers making transitioning from cot to toddler bed a little less stressful by giving them something to hug.

When should you not use a toddler pillow?

Not every child needs a pillow at the same stage.

You shouldn't give your toddler a pillow in certain situations.

Let’s look at when giving your toddler a pillow might not be a good idea. 👇

Escapees

It can be dangerous for children to climb out of their cot beds, especially if the bed has high sides.

Unfortunately, some toddlers are escape artists.

For those little escapees, a pillow quickly becomes a stepping stone to help them clamber out of their cot bed. 🥷

So, give a pillow a miss if you frequently catch your toddler trying to escape.

No signs of wanting one

Babies shouldn't use pillows and duvets.

As they get older, most children will naturally start wanting to use a pillow.

toddler walking
A toddler will be ready for a pillow at different developmental stages.

However, some start wanting the added comfort of a pillow later than others.

Your toddler might not want a pillow if they're still sleeping comfortably and aren't trying to place anything under their head. 💤

There's no need to worry if your toddler throws their pillow out of bed, as this is likely just because they fidget.

If you have any doubts about whether or not you're child should be using a pillow, you can always consult your doctor.

The most important thing is that your child gets a good night's sleep.

Pillows, like blankets and teddies, can provide comfort as your child drifts off to sleep. 🌟

You can simply remove the pillow if your toddler's sleep is disturbed and reintroduce it when they are ready.

Toddler sleep accessories

Most parents introduce sleep accessories when their child is between 18 months and 3 years old.

However, this doesn't mean you can jump straight to adult sleep accessories. ❎

You'll need a smaller toddler duvet, pillow, and bedding to match.

Toddler duvets

Adult duvets are generally too large and heavy for small children.

Toddler duvet tog ratings

Toddlers can't regulate their temperature like adults can, and duvets naturally trap more air and feel warmer when used by small people.

Toddler duvet tog ratings
Toddler duvets usually have a lower tog rating.

Because of this, toddler duvets tend to have a lower tog rating (how much heat a duvet retains).

Most duvets for toddlers and children are lightweight, with a tog rating of 4.5 or less. 🪶

You can purchase higher tog duvets for children older than 3 if they are cold at night.

Amazon sells a range of cot bed duvets of 7.5 togs, up to 9 togs, for children above 3.

SHOP COT DUVETS ON AMAZON

Toddler duvet materials

Natural fibre cot bed duvets and pillows made with bamboo, wool, and organic cotton are the most popular types of materials.

They are usually hypoallergenic and help with temperature regulation. 👍

Ideally, a child's duvet and pillow should also be easy to clean since accidents are more likely when they are young.

We love the Little Green Sheep Organic Cot Bed Duvet, which has a 4-tog rating.

The wool duvet will keep your toddler snug without causing them to overheat. 🐑

BUY LGS WOOL COT DUVET£ 69.95

Toddler bedding

Like toddler pillows and duvets, bedding should be easy to clean and hypoallergenic.

Toddler pillowcases, sheets, and duvet covers should also be free from harmful toxins, which is why many of the best toddler bedding products have OEKO-TEX 100 certificates. 😍

It's also essential to find something your little one likes.

washing bedding
Machine-washable bedding is best for toddlers.

Luckily, most toddler bedding sets come in various fun and colourful designs.

Argos has many affordable and cute toddler bedding sets that will have your child excited to snuggle up in bed.

SHOP ARGOS TODDLER BEDDING

Toddler cot mattresses

Toddlers typically need between 10 and 14 hours [6] of sleep per day.

life sleep cycle
Toddlers need more sleep than adults.

Time spent sleeping helps them grow up healthy and happy. ❤️

The best cot mattresses provide excellent support and adapt to your child's body as they move and grow, ensuring a better night's sleep.

Our favourite UK cot mattress:

Should you buy a toddler pillow?

Pillows for toddlers can provide extra comfort, meaning your little one sleeps better.

However, your toddler may not want or need a pillow yet.

We recommend waiting for your child to show signs of wanting a pillow, like sleeping poorly or putting things under their head. 🧸

If you think your toddler is ready for their first pillow, why not try one of our top picks?

Here's a reminder of the best toddler pillow UK picks:

Frequently asked questions

  • Does your toddler need a pillow?


    With all of the safety concerns surrounding very young children sleeping on pillows, you may wonder if it's actually something your toddler needs.

    If your child is still sleeping happily on a flat surface, you probably don't need to give them a pillow yet.

    Ultimately, pillows are designed to enhance comfort and support.

    If you notice that your toddler is tossing and turning or pushing blankets or stuffed animals under their head, they're likely ready to have a pillow of their own. 🧸

    If they're ready for their first pillow, why not give them something fun to enjoy?

    We love the toddler-safe Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow for its variety of cute designs.

  • When can my toddler sleep with a blanket and pillow?


    It's not advised for babies under 1 year old to have a cot bed duvet or pillow.

    After 1, the risk of SIDS and choking decreases significantly.

    Most experts suggest that children can start using a toddler blanket and pillow between 18 months and 3 years old.

    When your little one is ready for a pillow, they'll start showing signs, including:

    • Tossing and turning during the night.
    • Placing their teddy under their head.

    You can always check with your doctor if you're concerned about whether or not your toddler is ready for their first blanket and pillow.

    If you think your child is ready, check out the firm but silky-soft Panda Toddler Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow that comes highly recommended by orthopaedic experts.

  • Can an 18-month-old have a pillow?


    Some people are uncertain if it's okay for their 18-month-old to be sleeping with a pillow.

    Most 18-month-olds can safely use toddler pillows, but not every child develops at the same rate.

    Firstly, you should check if your toddler is showing signs of being ready. 

    They may be ready if they sleep poorly or tuck a blanket or a stuffed animal under their head.

    If you decide to introduce a pillow, you should ensure you choose one that's made specifically for toddlers.

    Pillows for 18-month-olds and toddlers tend to be smaller and firmer than adult pillows.

  • Is it okay for a 2-year-old to have a pillow and duvet?


    Most children are ready for a toddler pillow and duvet by 2 years of age.

    In fact, some experts suggest waiting until your little one reaches 24 months before letting them use a child's single duvet and pillow.

    Chances are, your 2-year-old will let you know when they're ready.

    It's time to introduce a pillow if they are restless at night, prop their head up with a blanket or toy, or rest their head on a cushion when on the couch with you.

  • What pillow should a 2-year-old have?


    From 18 months to 3 years old, toddlers require different pillows than adults.

    The best toddler pillows for 2 and 3-year-olds are small and firm.

    Using the right cot bed duvet and pillow reduces the risk of entrapment or suffocation.

    Toddler pillows are also usually hypoallergenic.

    They contain no harmful substances and often have an OEKO-TEX 100 certificate that proves they have been tested and are human-safe.

  • Will a pillow help my toddler sleep?


    Pillows can make beds more comfortable for children, just like they do for adults.

    However, toddlers won't necessarily want pillows immediately, especially since they don't sleep with pillows as babies.

    Pillows for 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and other little ones around that age can provide additional comfort and support.

    These children's pillows will likely help your toddler sleep better once they're ready to use them.

    We love the ergonomic and organic cotton Keababies My Little Dreamy Pillow.

  • Why does my toddler sleep under their pillow?


    Every child is different, but toddlers may sleep under their pillow because:

    • They are trying to cover their eyes to block out light.
    • They feel more secure bundled under their pillow and duvet.
    • They sleep on their stomach.
    • It is more comfortable for them.

    Sleeping under their pillow isn't necessarily bad or dangerous.

    By the age of about 2, toddlers can remove obstructions reflexively.

    So you shouldn't worry too much if your toddler has a habit of burrowing under their cot bed pillow or duvet.

    If concerned, you can check on them regularly and even remove the pillow.

    But be warned; some parents find their child wakes up when they take the pillow away and won't sleep again without it in their bed.

    Sleeping under a pillow is likely fine so long as it isn't obstructing their breathing or making them overheat.

    The best option is to use a safe toddler pillow, like the Panda Toddler Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow.

  • References

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Katharyn Duffy

Content Writer

Katharyn is a research pro with a BA in English and over 4 years of experience writing health and well-being content. She uses her understanding of sleep and its importance to cut through the nonsense and provide honest information about various sleep products and topics.

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