sleeping child
Earth911 Mattress Ranking research is sponsored by Avocado Brands

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all babies be placed on their backs to sleep. Sleeping on a firm, flat mattress devoid of pillows, blankets, and bumpers eliminates the risk of suffocation. But once a child graduates to regular bedding, eco-minded parents will be looking for a pillow that is as safe for the planet as it is for their child.

Most experts seem to agree that introducing a pillow when a child transitions from a crib to a regular bed is safe. This usually happens between 18-24 months of age. Parents should look for a pillow scaled to a toddler’s body — around 12 by 16 inches long and only 2 to 3 inches thick to eliminate neck strain. Ideally, a pillow would also be sustainably manufactured.

As long as your child is sleeping well without a pillow, there is no need to make a change. But eventually, a child’s shoulders will become enough wider than their head that sleeping with a pillow will be more comfortable. By this time the risk of suffocation is small, but a firm toddler pillow filled with hypoallergenic material is safest.

For babies who are too young for pillows, SavvyRest makes GOTS-certified latex crib mattresses that are free from toxic flame retardants, phthalates, or pesticides. New parents know that it can be hard to stay green with a baby. Earth911 has researched the greenest pillow manufacturers, and fortunately, several of them make pillows for toddlers.

Holy Lamb Organics

Ranked very highly on Earth911’s list is Holy Lamb Organics, a family-owned company with a strong environmental ethic. Holy Lamb makes five different toddler and child-sized pillows. All of them use the same Eco-Wool and organic cotton as their full-sized pillows. Their smallest pillow uses wool fleece for a soft texture.


Naturepedic makes two organic children’s pillows. They use PLA (a non-GMO plant-based polyester) and an organic cotton cover to make a machine washable toddler pillow. They also offer a GOTS certified organic children’s pillow with an organic cotton cover around a blend of organic kapok and organic cotton.

White Lotus

While not specifically made as a toddler pillow, White Lotus’ travel pillow is toddler-sized. The organic buckwheat hull fill is firm enough for safety. Parents can add or remove fill to achieve the appropriate thickness. Buckwheat hulls could be a good alternative for children with wool sensitivity or who find latex memory foam too hot.

Nest Bedding

If you’ve waited a little longer to transition your child to sleep with a pillow, Nest Bedding’s Easy Breather, Jr. child’s pillow is a bit larger and softer than a toddler pillow, but still small enough to be comfortable for a child. This foam pillow is covered in Tencel fabric.


Snugglepedic makes a machine-washable memory foam child’s pillow with a bamboo-blend cover.

Feature image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay


By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.