Rest Baby’s Head Easy With The Best Toddler Pillows (2020 Guide)

Rest Baby’s Head Easy With The Best Toddler Pillows (2020 Guide)

A toddler bed can only mean one thing—your little baby is growing up!

After assembling my son’s bed and setting up his new bedding, I realized one very important component was missing: a pillow!

So scared to place a pillow into his crib because of the risk of SIDS, I completely forgot to pick something up for his new bed.

The risk of suffocation has passed and it was now totally ok to add a pillow into the mix.

But, what kind of pillow would do?

His little head would certainly look lost on an adult sized pillow.

So, I started doing some research and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was an abundance of toddler pillows on the market!

Read on to learn how you can choose the best toddler pillow there is, and some other features to look out for when shopping!

Why a Toddler Pillow is Better Than a Regular Pillow

A toddler pillow is essentially just a smaller version of a regular pillow.

It’s preferable simply because toddlers are smaller than adults—much smaller!

It provides just the right amount of support for their head, neck, and keeps their spine in perfect alignment.

And, because the pillow is smaller, it’s much lighter for them to handle. 

So, if they do end up in a situation and the pillow goes on top of their head or face, they can easily push it off of themselves. 

Signs Your Baby is Ready

I knew my son was ready for a toddler pillow because he started to get restless as he slept, and I took that as a sign of discomfort.  

While sleeping on a mattress for as long as he did may have cut it in the past, I could see it wasn’t an ideal situation for him any longer. 

I also noticed that he showed an interest in my pillows on my bed, and he also enjoyed propping himself up when watching television at night. 

Another major sign that your child is ready for a pillow is when you see them prop their head up on things while in their bed or on the couch or floor, like a stuffed animal or blanket. 

Then you know it's time!

Things to Consider Before Buying

Before you buy just any old pillow, look for one that boasts the following features, or ponder some frequently asked questions by moms:

  • Easy to clean. A pillow should be able to be tossed in the washer and hold up to many washings. 
  • What size do you need? Most toddler pillows are standard in size. This means they measure about 13x9. All the toddler pillows I’ve come across clearly have a toddler label and its measurements are clearly outlined on the outside wrapper of the pillow.
  • Chemical-free. Many small children have allergies, and many parents are also environmentally conscious about what their kids come in contact with. So, before you buy a pillow, be sure it’s chemical free. You can look for something that has a hypoallergenic and/or certified organic label. 
  • How many do you need? I ended up needing to buy a bunch because I wanted a spare at home, I had to send a pillow to the sitter’s house, and my parents also regularly watched my son, so I purchased about six. Thank goodness I was able to buy in bulk online, as it saved me lots of money!
  • Reviews. I always browse reviews before I buy anything. Listen to what parents who have used a toddler pillow with their child have to say—positive and negative before making a purchase. 

Important Features to Look For

There are also some features that separate a good toddler pillow from a great one. They include:

  • Organic cotton. This ensures your little one comes in contact with something pure, soft, and delicate.
  • Hypoallergenic. When your child rests their head on something and breathes in, you can be sure they will not come in contact with anything that will irritate their skin or interrupt their breathing.
  • Machine-washable. Kids get sick often, or even wet their bed. So, you’ll want to make sure the pillow you select is easily able to be machine washed to save you time, and keep their sleeping area clean.
  • High thread count. The higher the thread count, the softer and stronger the fabric is (much like sheets). Go for something high quality!
  • 2-in-1. Some pillows are sold in sets. While your toddler won’t really want to double up on pillows as they sleep just yet, it’s good to have a spare on hand so they don’t have to go without if one is in the wash.
  • Firmness. Your children are still little and while their neck and head may be stronger than it was when they were a baby, they still have support needs. Always go for something on the firmer side, so they do sleep with proper posture, and don’t sink into their pillow and bed, causing back problems or other aches and pains. 
  • Color/print. Some websites sell toddler pillows that come in a wide range of color, patterns, and prints. This will make it easy to fit in with your child’s bedding and bedroom decor. 

Shopping Tips

When it comes to baby products and items, I like to shop online.


You can easily compare prices, features, and read honest reviews (positive and negative) from parents who have tried and tested various pillows and other products.

If shopping for a toddler pillow in the store, be sure to involve your little one in the process. 

Present them with options that you deem acceptable selections, and let them “test out” the pillows, feeling for softness, comfort, and overall satisfaction.

If your child has a say in the process, they will be more inclined to accept this new sleep product and want to use it. 

You can also put toddler pillows on your baby registry in an attempt to save money, and store them away until they are ready to be used.

It’s always wise to think ahead as a parent!

Care and Cleaning Tips

  • 1
    Do a spot cleaning. That’s all that some pillows need from time to time. But if your child has been sick, snotting on their pillow, is an avid drooler, or has soiled their bed, you want something that you can place in the washing machine. 
  • 2
    Always use a gentle setting. You should also consult the pillow’s tag so you can adhere to their guidelines to maintain the shape and integrity of the pillow. Always use gentle detergent, and bleach only if it's necessary.
  • 3
    Never put your pillow in a dryer. Always set it out on a flat surface to air dry so it doesn’t risk shrinking, shredding, or tearing while under high heat. This practice helps you maximize and maintain your investment. 
  • 4
    Use mother nature. In an attempt to cut down on laundry and just practice good hygiene, I often did a once over on my son’s pillow with warm water and some organic soap, and hung it out on the line to dry in the sunlight. This kept the pillow fresh and clean, and the good old power of the sun zapped any odor and bacteria that I missed when treating it. 

Do You Need a Pillow Case?

I have purchased several toddler pillow cases thus far, and only one of them came complete with a pillow case.

My son actually seemed to prefer the pillows that didn’t have one!

It was just one extra thing to wash and maintain. It’s going to be up to the personal preference of your child, so it may be wise to start out with one initially to see if they like it or not. 

I’ve found that toddler pillows that come with cases do have an advantage—chances are if you child soils their pillow in some way, washing just the case will suffice.

And, cases dry much quicker than the actual pillow.

How to Introduce a Pillow to Your Child

I never liked to spring stuff on my son, I always eased him into all new situations. 

So, when his pillows arrived, I let him unbox them and take them to his toddler bed.

We had a discussion about how pillows should be used (never put over his face), and how he could rest his head on them as he slept.

I just explained they were mini versions of my pillow, which he so often loved to toss and snuggle on. 

We practiced laying on them correctly, and that was that!

Before I knew it, he was begging me to go up to his bedroom to try them out for his nap

Best Toddler Pillows

#1. Little One's Pillow

With 56 years of experience, you can rest assured that Little One’s Pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon) has your child’s best interest in mind.

They have come up with the perfect sized pillow for your toddler, and it's made in the USA and completely free of harmful chemicals so you can be worry-free.

If you're looking for a pillow that is chemical free and USDA approved, this might be the one for you.

What's great about the Little One's is its hypoallergenic filling. The poly cluster fiber filling ensures your child will have a comfortable night's sleep.

Another thing we like about this pillow is that is truly chemical free. You'll find zero pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, GMO’s or flame retardants in this toddler pillow.

The Little One's Pillow also offers great support for your toddler's head, neck and shoulders, while still its maintaining softness.

One thing to keep in mind is that this pillow is a bit on the small side. While it's made especially for toddlers, it can be outgrown quickly. When your little one moves to a big kid bed, it may become a bit obsolete.

#2. Little Sleepy Head

A versatile pillow that holds it’s own, Little Sleepy Head (click here to check the price on Amazon) has designed a hypoallergenic toddler pillow that your little one will love using.

You may want to consider this option if you are looking for a pillow that is both comfortable and chemical free.

What's nice about this pillow is that it’s really versatile. It's the the perfect size for anywhere from bed to the car, and your toddler will love taking this pillow everywhere they go.

The Little Sleepy Head is also lump-free. Unlike other pillows out there, this one won’t clump up over time.

What a lot of moms also like is that it's machine washable. You can quickly toss this pillow in the washing machine with the rest of your toddler's bedding for easy cleaning.

What’s not to love about the Little Sleepy Head? Well, the pillowcase is lacking a bit, as it doesn’t come included with the purchase of this pillow.

However, if you decide to buy it, you might be disappointed. It is slightly too small for the pillow itself and can be annoying to put on.

#3. Dreamtown Kids

Deamtown Kids has come up with a pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon) that will grow alongside your baby.

This machine washable pillow is made in the USA and tested regularly to ensure it’s quality.

If you're in the market for a toddler pillow that is a little larger in size than others, this may be what you need.

One great thing about the Dreamtown Kids is that it’s breathable. The poly/cotton blend chosen for this pillow won’t mold or mildew over time like some others on the market.

A nice medium-sized pillow, it will grow along with your child. At 14 x 19 inches, this pillow is ideal for sleeping on back, stomach, or side.

What's nice is that it also comes with a pillowcase, so you won’t have to waste your time shopping around for a pillowcase that will fit your toddler’s pillow.

One thing to keep in mind is that it can become a bit lumpy if washed wrong. To avoid this issue, follow the manufacturer’s instructions before washing it in the machine.

#4. KeaBabies Toddler Pillow With Pillowcase

KeaBabies has brought us a high-quality pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon), which is both certiPUR-US and Oeko-Tex certified, so you can feel good about purchasing a pillow that has your child’s well-being in mind.

If you're on the lookout for a high-end pillow that will provide your little one with head and neck support, this might be your best bet.

First off, the KeaBabies is very easy to clean. It has a waterproof surface, so spills slip right off. You can give it a quick wipe down or toss it in the washer when needed.

This pillow is also ventilated so that it won’t trap heat even in the hottest of climates. The fabric is made from temperature managing material to disperse heat evenly.

Another thing that a lot of moms like is that it's safe. This organic pillow is non-allergenic, anti-microbial, mildew proof and dust mite resistant.

One thing to note is that it’s not great for smaller kids; it's a bit higher than some designed with younger kids in mind.

#5. My Little North Star Toddler Pillow

This medium sized toddler pillow from My Little North Star (click here to check the price on Amazon) will provide just the right amount of support without being overly firm.

You can transition your 2-year-old or higher into using an adult-sized pillow with this fluffy 13 x 18 inch design.

If your child prefers a pillow on the softer side, this might be just the pillow for you.

The first thing to note about the My Little North Star is that it’s comfortable. The micro-fiber filling provides your child with a good amount of support while maintaining it’s coziness.

It's also made from high-quality materials. From the materials to the stitching, it’s easy to see this pillow was made with care; it will last longer than most.

The My Little North Star pillow is also great for travel. The small size allows you to use this pillow on-the-go without lugging a larger sized pillow.

You should note that there's no pillowcase include. So if you decide on this pillow for your little one, you make need to spend some extra time searching for a case that will fit it.

#6. kinder Fluff

kinder Fluff has brought us a toddler pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon) that both parents and kids will adore.

This pillow has been recommended by chiropractors because of the head and neck support it provides.

If your toddler is having trouble maintaining a position throughout the night, this pillow might work well for them.

What's great about the kinder Fluff is that it really maintains its shape. Even after years of use, this toddler pillow won’t become lumpy.

There's also no pillowcase needed, which is nice; that's because the pillow itself features a high 240 thread count to serve as a pillowcase. Save yourself the hassle of shopping around for a case with this choice.

The kinder Fluff is also made with premium materials. Between the 100 percent high-quality cotton case and the 100 percent premium synthetic polyester cluster fiber, you can be assured you are getting a high-end pillow.

One thing to be aware of is that this pillow can be slightly too fluffy for younger babies, so you may want to consider something different if your little one is ready for a pillow but on the smaller side.

#7. A Little Pillow Company

This fun pillow from A Little Pillow Company (click here to check the price on Amazon) is ideal for just about any family.

Whether you choose one of the many colorful designs or stick with a plain white pillow, your toddler will be thrilled to use it.

The comfortable design encourages your little one to sleep throughout the night so you can both wake up refreshed.

Not only can you wash this pillow easily, but you can simply toss it in the dryer instead of hang drying it.

There's also no pillowcase needed for this one. The soft 200 thread count cotton is stuffed to create a cozy sleep for your little one.

This toddler pillow is also double-stitched, so you won’t lose any stuffing. Pillows that have ripped seams can create possible choking hazards for your toddler.

Some moms did think that there is too little stuffing with the pillow. The stuffing can be manipulated, so some spots are thicker and some thinner.

If you are looking for a flatter toddler pillow, this won’t be an issue for you.

Wrapping Up

Overall, a toddler pillow is a must to go in conjunction with a toddler bed.

If your child is ready to move from their crib to a bed, chances are they are definitely ready to transition into a pillow too. 

Watch for signs and abide by their cues.

Once you select a great pillow, your child will be ready and willing to give their new sleeping experience a go, and will gain a better night’s sleep with their new, big kid accessories!


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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