When is it time to get a big kid mattress or bed?

Saying good-bye to your child’s crib is a huge milestone! The transition from a crib to a toddler bed or kid mattress is exciting and scary all at once.

There is no specific recommended age for transitioning to a toddler bed or a big kid mattress. Some parents do it as early as 15 months, others may choose to wait until after 3 ½ years. At Essentia we have a mattress for every stage of life. 

Over 90% of 18-month-olds sleep in a crib, but that gradually drops to about 80% at 2 years and 40% by 3 years of age.

Generally speaking, the timing of this switch often depends on the behavior of the child and the child’s height. It’s probably time to transition to a big kid bed If your toddler is plotting his/her first crib escape or if you have caught him/her vaulting commando-style over the railing.

Keep in mind that if your toddler is facing another big transition, such as starting preschool, the arrival of a sibling, or toilet training, it’s not a good time to introduce a new bed.

It’s true, most toddlers struggle with change so it’s important to focus on one large transition at a time and get your child used to a new bed by making it a routine place for naptime and sleep. 

Many parents make the mistake of transitioning to a toddler bed too early because they are hoping that sleeping in a big bed will somehow improve a bad sleeping situation. Bad habits will continue, regardless of sleeping location, because they are habits.

Here are a few tips to help transition to a big kid mattress:

  • Boost their enthusiasm about the switch, show off the room to guests that come over to make your tot feel good about their new room 
  • Makeup stories or read books about sleeping in that specific bed or room.
  • Get some comfort items, take them shopping to pick out special sheets or other bedding items that will drive excitement. adding night lights can also decrease any fears of the dark

Now the big challenge: getting your toddler to stay in bed all night

Creating a safe sleep environment is imperative at this stage since all their fun toys will be within arms reach and easily accessible. Once you make the transition your little ones can pop out any time they want so you will need to childproof the room well (including electric outlets, curtain cords, and sharp corners). Setbacks are also normal during this transition which is why the planning period is so important. If you find yourself constantly having to return your toddler to their room during the night then you might want to consider using a door gate. Door gates can be beneficial not only to keep your toddler from roaming outside the room at night but can help to ease fears because the gate can stay closed and the door to the room can be open creating a sense of comfort.

Another useful tool to help teach toddlers their new bedtime routines are sleep clocks.

According to pediatric sleep coach, Leann Latus, sleep clocks can help keep your children in bed throughout the night, along with using a small incentive or reward right away in the morning if your child has remained in their bed all night.

Toddlers do whatever they can to get a reaction. When you laugh about your toddler’s escape or get angry and upset in front of them they see this reaction and will continue with this behavior because they know you will react. This is why it is so important to create a plan and stick to the routines you put in place to help make this transition as smooth as possible for them and you. 

Now that you know when to transition, the big question is what kind of mattress are you transitioning them to? 

The Healthiest Kid Mattress 

When choosing a mattress for your child you know what’s inside that mattress is the most important. Synthetic mattresses can be coated with flame retardants and other dangerous toxins that can inhibit a child during their important developmental stages. You’ll want to avoid a mattress that contains flame retardants, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl waterproofing, polyurethane foams, and polyester fabrics. Especially be aware of a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing like a polyurethane foam wrapped in organic cotton. 

Essentia, the maker of the World’s Healthiest Mattress, also makes the healthiest kid’s mattress for your precious little one. You can rest easy knowing that every Essentia mattress follows our Beyond Organic standards including: 

  • Made in Essentia’s GOLS and GOTS Certified Organic factory using only the highest quality natural and organic components to ensure a clean air environment. 
  • Allergy-Friendly! You won’t find any wool, cotton, or coconut husk in Essentia mattresses. These fibers can act as nesting ground for dust mites causing allergies. Moreover, Essentia’s latex does not contain the proteins that cause latex allergies and a child cannot develop latex allergies by sleeping in an Essentia. This has all been tested and reported by Dr. Robert G. Hamilton of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 
  • Essentia does not use any chemical flame retardants on any products. 
  • A temperature neutral sleep surface and constant airflow through the mattress, even when stomach sleeping. 

Meet the Essentia Mattresses Perfect for Kids: 

We proudly offer a dedicated kid mattress, but there are a few Essentia options that can also grow with your little one. Here are the most popular Essentia mattresses for kids: 

Grateful Bed JR

The Grateful Bed JR is the perfect organic mattress for kids from toddlers to early teens. This 6-inch mattress is made to work perfectly with a bunk bed or classic kid mattress frame. Since most kids under 12 weigh half their parent’s weight or less, the Grateful Bed Jr natural foam mattress will offer a mid contour to your toddler or young child. With more weight, your child will experience a deeper contour perfect for growing kids. The suggested maximum comfort weight of this mattress is 110 pounds. You won’t find a better organic kid mattress with a 20-year warranty. The Grateful Bed Jr features 1” of our patented natural memory foam on top of 5” organic latex foam. 

Shop the Grateful Bed


A popular choice among parents, the Tatami is an 8-inch mattress like all Essentia adult mattresses. This model will feel very similar to the Grateful Bed JR for your child with one important upgrade, there is no longer a weight limit for the comfort level. This model can truly grow with your child and even go with them to college! 

Shop the Tatami


The Stratami mattress is the top-rated foam mattress today! In fact, Consumer Reports has ranked the Stratami against competitors and the Stratami has scored an 82, the highest score in the foam mattress category. This 8 inch mattress is the perfect amount of bounce for your child and will be super comfy if you just so happen to fall asleep while reading that good night story.

Shop the Stratami

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