Marcus is an orthopedic spine surgeon who knows for sure how to ease ache in your back, neck, and shoulders, and prevent meeting him in person.
Last updated: July 13, 2021
Talk About Sleep is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Once your child reaches the age of two, it’s a good idea to introduce a pillow. This is around the same time that most toddlers transition from a crib to a toddler bed and an adult pillow just won’t do. They need a pillow that’s designed just for them. Adult pillows are too large and can be made of a material that’s too soft or can cause sensitivity reactions in little ones. That’s why it’s important to use the best toddler pillow you can find.
To choose the best products, we took a few key factors into consideration. For toddlers, pillow height is really important. It should be high enough to provide the right level of support without being too high or too low to keep the spine in alignment. Materials should be chemical free and high-quality so as not irritate your child’s skin or cause any breathing problems. Firmness is also important because it the pillow is too soft, your child can sink too low in it and won’t get the right amount of support.
We spent hours researching guides and reviews written by professionals, manufacturers, and people just like you who use these pillows with their children every day to gather the information for this guide. First, you’ll find a table where you can do a quick comparison of all of our picks side by side. After that, we provide an in-depth review of each product, followed by a detailed buying guide to help you figure out which is the best toddler pillow for your little one.
The Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow is made with 100% hypoallergenic materials so it’s perfect if your little one has allergies or sensitive skin. Inside, the premium polyester fiber maintains its shape and provides the right amount of cushioned support.
The cover is 100% cotton, 200-thread count fabric but there is no pillow case included. The entire pillow is washable. Just toss it in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle then dry on low heat.
This pillow comes with a “Love the Fluff’ guarantee. If your little one doesn’t like it because it’s too fluffy or too flat, they’ll replace it with one that’s more to their liking. This is actually something that users report doing pretty often so, while the pillow may be too hard or too soft initially, there aren’t any problems getting a replacement.
It’s been reported that this pillow tends to clump and gets lumpy over time, but this can usually be fixed by running it through the washer and dryer to refluff it.
One of the best things about this pillow is the company that makes it. Not only do they provide wonderful customer service but the owner is actively involved in reaching out to customers to offer help when possible.
This My Little North Star Store Sweet Dreams Toddler Pillow uses allergy-free deluxe cluster poly fiber filling that’s loose and soft without sacrificing support. The pillow comes with a low to medium loft but you can request a thinner or thicker one. Every pillow is hand-stuffed for superior quality control.
Not only is this pillow hypoallergenic, but there are also no flame retardants or antimicrobials either so your child won’t breathe in any chemicals throughout the night.
The 100% cotton 200-thread count percale cover is light and airy and the seams are double stitched for durability. Some users experienced mold or mildew on the pillow after washing. Because the cover is made of 100% untreated cotton, this isn’t uncommon. It can be avoided by drying the pillow immediately and spot treated if necessary with diluted bleach and rewashed and dried.
The company offers a 3-month refund period. If you decide this pillow isn’t right for your toddler after 3 months, you can return it for a full refund.
What makes it stand out?
Can request thinner or thicker loft
No flame retardant or antimicrobials
Patterned cover so there no need for a pillowcase
3-month refund period
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Mold or mildew can result if the pillow is not dried quickly enough after washing
If you’re looking for the best starter pillow for a toddler for the price, take a look at the Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow. The size is perfect and the cluster poly fiber filling is soft and pliable but still dense enough to provide superior neck support. Plus, they don’t use any flame retardants or chemicals so you can sleep easy knowing that there are no harmful fumes or odors by your little one’s face.
The poly/cotton blend cover is soft and comfortable, though some users did say that it made some crinkling sounds during use. There is no pillowcase included but the whole pillow is machine washable, mold and mildew resistant, and hypoallergenic, too. This safe and easy to care for pillow won’t shrink, either. Some users stated that the filling becomes clumpy after washing and needs to be manually manipulated and fluffed once dry.
Because this pillow is made by a small family-owned business, they take customer service very seriously. In fact, the owner is actively involved in reaching out to customers who have reported issues and tries to rectify any issues. This pillow is made in the USA and comes with a satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
What do we love it for?
Soft, pliable poly fiberfill is dense and supporting
Another great choice is the Little One’s Pillow. The 100% certified organic cotton shell is filled with a unique poly cluster fill that’s completely chemical free. There are no flame retardants added, and they don’t use any pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. It’s hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and made with a high thread count and tight weave.
The family-owned company has been making pillows in the USA since 1958. Each is handcrafted and meticulously tested to be the right balance of thin and fluffy. It’s soft while still supporting your toddler’s head, neck, and spine in any sleeping position because the fill is made of round balls instead of long, string fiber filaments. Best of all, it was made to last anywhere from 3 to 5 years so your toddler can use it until they’re ready to move on to a larger pillow.
It’s washable and can even be tossed in the dryer so it doesn’t require a case. The filling can clump together with use but usually bounces back after washing. These pillows are a little on the flat side but, through research and testing, it was determined to be the best fit for a toddler. If you aren’t satisfied, they’ll send you a custom pillow with more or less filling so you can just the right fit for your child.
Next up is the Biloban Baby Toddler Pillow. It features a 100% organic cotton cover and a special cluster polyfill. It’s free of flame retardant chemicals as well as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. It’s the perfect density for a toddler and just the right size and was designed not to clump or go flat over time. That said, a few users commented that they did experience some clumping and that the pillow was a little smaller than they expected.
This pillow is completely washable so you don’t have to worry about any stain, spills, or messy accidents. It doesn’t come with a pillowcase but the sateen fabric is so comfortable, you don’t really need one. Plus, it’s not scratchy and doesn’t make a lot of noise like lower quality cases can.
Each of these pillows is handcrafted in the USA and comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This includes a 30-day money back guarantee so you can try it and return it if there are any issues. After that, there’s a 3-year replacement warranty. The company is really easy to work with and the owner actively reaches out to customers who have experienced problems to find the right solution.
With the Utopia Bedding Dreamy Baby Pillow, you get a pair of toddler pillows that are the right size and softness so you can use one for sleeping and home and send one to daycare for nap time or to grandma’s house for sleepovers. They’re hypoallergenic, too, which is perfect if your little one has any breathing sensitives and it won’t irritate their skin.
The cover is made of 100% cotton 240-count thread that’s soft, comfortable, and durable. It was designed with the needs of a toddler in mind and will help them get the type of support they need through the night. Some users commented that the pillows were too flat while others said they were too thin. They do flatten over time with regular use and will fluff up again after being washed and dried.
These pillows hypoallergenic so it’s perfect if your little one has any sensitives and it won’t irritate their skin. Although these pillows do not come with a case, they are machine washable so you can take care of any messes quickly and easily. And, since there are two of them, you can always keep the clean one as a spare in case things get messy and you need to give your toddler a new pillow in the middle of the night.
The Restcloud Toddler Pillow is a little different because it’s designed for children between the ages of 2 and 7. One side is 1.4 inches tall, and the other is 2.4 inches. Just turn it around for additional support.
This is also the only pillow in our reviews that is made of memory foam. It retains its shape for continuous support and helps keep your child’s head and neck in natural alignment. It doesn’t lose its shape throughout the night and lasts a long time. This isn’t typical memory foam, though. It’s free of ozone depleters, flame retardants, and 167 other chemicals and has been certified as 100% safe for children.
Some users have commented that this pillow is a little thin but keep in mind that the material is firmed than a polyfill so it doesn’t compress as much during use.
The cover is made of grass coral fiber. Not only is it comfortable and soft, but it’s also naturally antimicrobial and resistant to allergens, dust mites, and mold. You can also remove it easily when it’s time to put it in the washing machine, though you cannot wash the pillow itself. Some users said that it had a slight memory foam smell that faded quickly while others stated there was no smell at all.
Why did it make our list?
Can be used all the way up to age 7
Memory foam certified safe for children
Cover is washable and resistant to allergens, dust mite, mold, and has antimicrobial properties
If you’re looking for a microfiber pillow for your little one, check out the TILLYOU Toddler Pillow. The 100% cotton woven shell and supportive microfiber filling are really durable while remaining soft, comfortable, and supportive. This pillow is hypoallergenic, breathable, and free of any chemicals or odors. Some users stated that the cover can be a little scratchy but there are two pillowcases included so your toddler will be sleeping on a soft, comfy surface.
Although a 2-pack of pillowcases is included, this set only includes a single pillow. That means you have a backup pillowcase for big messes plus the pillow itself can be put in the washing machine so you’ll have no trouble keeping it clean. The manufacturer recommends hand washing and spot cleaning when possible. By following the included washing instructions, the pillow won’t get lumpy and should retain its shape and density.
TILLYOU has been making toddler bedding for over 20 years and spent a lot of time developing this design. You can try this pillow for 30-days and if your little one isn’t satisfied, return it for a full refund or replacement.
The ergonomically designed KeaBabies Toddler Pillow has been designed and tested on toddlers to deliver the best spinal support possible while remaining incredibly comfortable. The even consulted with a pediatric chiropractor to make sure they’ve gotten it right.
Both the included safari print pillow case and the pillow itself are really durable and machine washable and can be put in the dryer on a low setting. The ball fiber filling stays fluffy and maintains its shape better than pillows made with stringy fiber filling. Plus, they won’t stick together. For best results, allow the pillow to air dry then simply fluff it and it regains its original shape. It may develop lumps if placed in the dryer.
Although the cover is made of 100% organic cotton, the polyfill is manmade and is therefore not organic. Some users expected the filling to be organic as well but this is not the case. That said, it’s not treated with any flame retardants and does not have a chemical smell.
This pillow comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s money back guarantee. If you aren’t happy with this pillow for any reason, KeaBabies will issue you a full refund. While this isn’t the only pillow to offer this kind of trial period, it is the longest one by far.
For the best toddler airline pillow or just a great choice for traveling in general, check out the BCOZZY Kids Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow. This is recommended for toddlers and children ages 3 to 8. It provides chin, neck, and head support to keep your little one comfortable while on the go.
The design is thinner in the back so your child can rest their head against the seat and thicker in the front to support their head and neck. It can be a little tough to position and it works well but the biggest downside to this pillow is that some kids just aren’t going to like it. There are adults who don’t like travel pillows in this style so this is to be expected.
For added convenience, this best toddler neck pillow features a snap strap for easy transport. You can quickly attach it your suitcase or a stroller between stops along your route. It’s also available in seven different colors so your child can choose the one they like best. Or, if you have two or more children, everyone can get a different color so you know whose is whose. This pillow is also machine washable so you can quickly clean up any dirt and grime it picks up along the way.
What makes it special?
Fits kids ages 3 to 8
Design is thinner in the back, thicker in the front for ideal support
This Zack & Ali Toddler Pillow features a 100% certified organic cotton shell and is filled with a hypoallergenic micro gel fiber that mimics down. It contains no feathers, fillers, chemicals, or bad smells. Just like real down, down alternatives are very pliable and provide great support without being too fluffy making this pillow a great choice if you’re looking for something that has a lot of squish.
Some users commented that this pillow was a little smaller than they thought it would be, but there’s a simple explanation. The pillow measurement is taken before it’s stuffed. Once the shell has been filled, it loses a bit of size but gains loft. The downside is that there’s no pillowcase included and it may not fit properly in a standard 13 x 18-inch pillowcase correctly. That said, a pillowcase isn’t completely necessary since you can put the entire pillow in the washing machine to quickly take care of any messes.
Some people felt this pillow was a bit too fluffy at first but it does compress a bit over time. It comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and great customer service so they’ll try to help you with any issues that you have.
My Little North Star Toddler Pillow is our pick for the best organic toddler pillow. The 100% certified organic cotton shell is filled with hypoallergenic poly cluster filling that is breathable, soft, and supportive. It gives your little one’s head, neck, and shoulders just what they need to sleep comfortably.
Some users questioned the polyfill as it’s manmade and therefore not organic. My Little North Star chose this material after trying several truly organic fill options that just didn’t hold up or provide the same level of support. So, while the fill is manmade, they took steps to make it as pure as possible. The pillow is made in the USA and chemical free. They use no pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides as well as no flame retardants or dust mite repellents that are typically added to polyester. It’s machine wash and dryer safe and won’t get lumpy during the process with the proper care. While there is no case included, it’s not really necessary to have one since the whole pillow is so easy to care for though some users stated that the cover discolored after repeated washings.
My Little North Star promises complete customer satisfaction and will replace or refund your purchase if you’re not satisfied.
Why are we impressed?
100% organic cotton shell
No chemicals added to polyfill
Great customer service
What negatives must you be aware of?
No case included
Cover can discolor with repeated washings
Polyfill is not organic
Things to Consider
Choosing the right toddler pillow means that your child will be safe, supported, and comfortable while the rest. Plus, you’ll get a better night’s sleep because you won’t have to worry about them sleeping with a pillow that’s too puffy, too big, or made with the wrong kind of material. Here are some things to help you decide which one is right for your home.
How do you know it’s time to introduce a pillow to your little one?
The best time to introduce a pillow to your child is when they’re around 2 years old and transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed. Since they’re going to be facing big bedtime changes anyway, introducing a pillow at this time makes sense. Also, it can help make the transition a little easier because it makes it extra special and gives them a pillow that’s just for them.
It’s important to mention that pillows should never be used with infants as they increase the risk of SIDS before about 18 months old.
What is your child’s preferred sleep position?
Toddlers tend to move around a lot at night, but they usually have an identifiable favorite position. By the time your child is 2, they should be strong enough that you don’t have to worry about them with a pillow, even if they’re a belly sleeper. This is exactly why you don’t give pillows to infants – if they get stuck on their belly or between the pillow and the mattress, it can be disastrous. Toddlers are strong, though. They run, climb, tumble, and roll around all day long so there’s much less to worry about regardless of sleeping position.
Features to consider while choosing a toddler pillow
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right pillow for your toddler. Here are some of the important things to think about.
Age of your child
As we mentioned, children shouldn’t use a pillow until the age of 2 or even later than that if they’re behind developmentally. Why do we keep mentioning this? Because it’s so important. Even though a lot of crib sets include pillowcases or small pillows, you should not place anything in the crib with an infant. That’s all the more reason to do it right when you can finally get them their own pillow.
Toddler pillows are comparable in size to travel pillows. The exact measurements vary slightly depending on the material, filling, firmness, and when the pillow was measured. An unstuffed case will look smaller than its actual dimensions once it’s been filled.
There are a few different kinds of filler material used in these pillows.
A lot of these picks, including the Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow, use cluster poly fiber. This is a manmade polyfill that’s designed not to clump together. While you might worry about a material like this being so close to your little one, it’s important to note that most manufacturers make this material without using any unnecessary chemicals like flame retardants, and they’re usually covered with a very high-quality cotton material.
Another material that is used for filling is poly ball fiber. This is very similar to cluster poly fiber but instead of being made up of long, thin fibers, it’s actually rolled into small round balls. This material maintains its shape a little better and doesn’t flatten as easily as more fibrous material.
We found a great memory foam pillow, too, the Restcloud Toddler Pillow. This is not the same memory foam that’s used for adult pillows and mattresses. It’s certified safe for children and free of 169 chemicals so there are no strong smells and nothing to worry about.
Memory foam is harder and firmer than most other materials, too, so it really provides a lot of support.
The main thing to consider when it comes to cover material is comfort. Most of these pillows do not include a pillowcase and a lot of them claim you don’t need one which means your child will be sleeping directly on the cover. Is it soft? Scratchy? Breathable? That said, if you love everything else about the pillow, keep in mind you can always add a pillowcase.
Something you’ll notice about the covers is that they’re all sewn closed. Whereas adult pillows often have a zipper closure so you can add and remove filling as necessary, toddler pillows do not, and with good reason. It’s pretty likely that your toddler will quickly discover how it works and soon the contents of their pillow will be all over the floor. Don’t worry, there are several options, like the Little One’s Pillow, where the manufacturer is willing to do the customizing for you.
Even though your little one might not have allergies, it’s always a good idea to use hypoallergenic materials because you never know when an allergy will develop. This is also a good thing to look for with kids who suffer from asthma or have skin sensitivities or things like eczema or psoriasis.
This is so, so important with little ones. This age is also the time where you’ll be trying to potty train your little one and they’ll be doing all sorts of fun things on their own.
Making messes is a part of life for a toddler so these pillows have to be easy to take care of.
Some of them are washing machine and dryer safe while others, like the TILLYOU Toddler Pillow, perform better with handwashing and spot cleaning. In fact, the only pillow that’s not washable is the memory foam one and that one has a removable cover that can be tossed in the washing machine.
It’s important that these pillows are durable, especially because kids often grow attached to them and want to carry them around everywhere.
The higher the thread count and the denser the cover, the longer the pillow will last.
Some of these products have some really impressive warranties that let you try them at home for a while and return them if you’re not happy. The best one here is the KeaBabies Toddler Pillow. KeaBabies gives you a whole year to return it, no questions asked. If you have a toddler who is particularly rough with things, it’s a good idea to find a pillow with a good warranty.
For toddler pillows, remove and pillowcase and put them through the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Use a gentle detergent or one that’s formulated for kids. If the manufacturer says that the pillow can be put in the dryer, use a cool or air fluff setting. Anything that’s too hot can damage the filling.
Most toddler pillows don’t require a pillowcase. Generally, if a pillow is washable, you don’t need one. That said, a pillowcase always provides an extra line of defense against messes so it’s not a bad idea to get one.
It’s important that a travel pillow isn’t too bulky and that it’s easily positioned to keep the child’s chin up and neck in alignment.
Our top pick is the Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow. It’s hypoallergenic and covered in 200-count 100% cotton fabric that’s so comfortable, you don’t even need a pillowcase. It also comes with a “Love the Fluff” guarantee. If you don’t like it, they’ll send you one that’s to your liking.
We also really liked the My Little North Star Store Sweet Dreams Toddler Pillow. It’s hypoallergenic, soft, and supportive, and if you don’t like the thickness, they’ll send you one that’s as thin or thick as you want because these pillows are hand stuffed. The 100% cotton 200-thread count cover is double-stitched for long-lasting durability and comes in a variety of adorable designs.
Finally, we recommend the Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow. This affordable starter pillow is washable, mold and mildew resistant, hypoallergenic. The customer service is remarkable and, if you don’t like it, they work hard to make you a happy customer.