Pillows for children under 4 years: What you need to know

Do I need a pillow for my child? When should I start letting my child sleep with a pillow? What type of pillow is best?

New parents have many questions about sleeping products for babies and toddlers and these are some of the questions we get about pillows.

There is a lot of advice available to parents about safe sleeping and the use of pillows. In this article, we look at this advice through the eyes of real parents and provide you with practical advice and information to help you make the right decision for your child.

Rednose recommends delaying offering a pillow until baby is over two years of age and is no longer sleeping in a cot or portable cot.

Product Safety Australia does not recommend a pillow in cots, bassinets, prams or portable cots, especially if the child is under the age of 2.

However, a lot of parents still choose to provide a pillow for their child. The main reason for this is for comfort. You may find your child will sleep better with a pillow as it is a more comfortable sleep surface for them. It is very important that you do not provide a pillow for comfort at the expense of safety.

Babyrest has been developing safe sleeping products for babies for over 40 years. We believe that if the right pillow is selected, a pillow can safely be introduced to your child under the age of two. We understand how important it is that you and your child can have a good night’s sleep.



Often a good night’s sleep is the result of a comfortable sleep environment for your child. We believe that if the right pillow is selected, you can provide a more comfortable sleep environment for your child, without compromising on the safety of their sleep environment.

So what is the right pillow?

Here are our top tips on choosing the right pillow.

  • Ensure the pillow is quite flat. This is one of the most important factors. Your child needs a pillow that will provide the right amount of support for their little head, neck and back. A pillow that isn’t flat will prop their head up too high. A plush pillow may be too soft and be a suffocation risk. Also, a plush pillow could provide a platform for an adventurous toddler to climb out of the cot.
  • Ensure the pillow has a firm core. A pillow with only soft-fill won’t be supportive enough and may be a suffocation hazard. It also won’t last very long before the pillow becomes very flat and uncomfortable.
  • Avoid pillows with memory foam as this will be a suffocation hazard.
  • Ensure the pillow is ventilated.
  • Ensure it is not too large. Use pillows that are cot size, rather than an adult size pillow
  • Make sure you are comfortable with the materials used – materials may typically include a foam core, a polyester fill and a fabric cover. Look for things like anti-bacterial treatment of the foam, and a natural fiber cover such as cotton or bamboo.
  • Always remember that you are choosing a pillow for your child, not yourself. Your child’s head and neck is a lot lighter and smaller than an adult, and they do not require the same level of plushness and comfort.

Advice from bodies such as Rednose and Product Safety Australia is general advice and may not apply to all circumstances. They will always provide the most conservative and safety-conscious advice as they cannot take into account every circumstance and every product available. It is always good to read and understand their advice, and then apply your own judgement to ensure you make a decision you are comfortable with. Your baby needs to be able to sleep safely and comfortably and you need to be able to rest assured.

Our team is always happy to assist you in choosing the right products. We are passionate about providing the safest possible sleeping environment for your childrenGet in touch with us today with any questions about nursery essentials.


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