Youth Bedding: Child’s Play


Whether crib mattresses or beds marketed for young, first-time mattress buyers, adding an array of options for ages 0 to 30 can grow sales

The flippable Saatva Youth Mattress has a firmer side intended for children 3 and older and another side better suited to children 8 and older.

How can you grow your bedding sales faster than an adolescent shooting past the inch markings on a height chart? Carry a selection of mattresses aimed at young sleepers, from crib mattresses to big kid beds to entry-level models for young first-time shoppers.

These groups are sometimes overlooked by mattress retailers, who leave infant bedding to stores that specialize in all things baby, and carry an inexpensive, nondescript mattress or two for children and young adults. 

By expanding your lineup, you show parents you care about helping their children get a good night’s sleep. And by targeting first-time buyers, you can create loyal customers who will return when they need to upgrade their bedding or, someday, when they are ready to make a purchase for their own kids.

Here we review mattresses designed specifically to meet the unique needs of sleepers ages 0 to early 30s.

Starting out

Parents often buy their crib and crib mattress at a store specifically for babies, but there’s no reason for a furniture store or sleep shop not to offer a high-quality crib mattress or two that can be promoted online and touted to parents or grandparents when they come into the store to purchase new bedding for themselves. 

Carrying supportive and safe infant mattresses also reinforces in parents’ minds the need to start kids out on bedding designed for their unique needs — and to make sure children have appropriate bedding throughout their childhood and adolescence.

The new Saatva Crib Mattress is two-sided, with “double-firm support” on one side for babies — a feature designed to prevent sudden infant death syndrome and other sleep-related accidents.

Online mattress brand Saatva recently introduced the Saatva Crib Mattress for infants and children up to age 4. The flippable mattress has “double-firm support” for babies on one side and “firm support” on the other for toddlers. That extra support for babies helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome and sleep-related accidents, according to the company.

The mattress also has a strong natural story. “It is designed to give new parents peace of mind as their little ones are cradled in soothing, eco-friendly comfort,” says Byron Golub, director of product and merchandising for the online bedding brand, which has offices in New York and Austin, Texas.

The core includes a coil unit made of recycled steel and a layer of natural Talalay latex that is Cradle-to-Cradle Gold-certified. The breathable organic cotton cover is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard and the entire mattress is Greenguard Gold-certified. It comes with a set of fitted organic cotton sheets and retails for $445 (available in crib-size only). 

Time for big-kid beds

Once kids outgrow their cribs, they often move to a twin- or full-size mattress — too frequently a cheap model picked up without much thought or one handed down from another child in the family. It’s not uncommon for parents to believe that because their kids can fall asleep virtually anywhere, they don’t need a high-quality mattress designed for them.

But a good night’s sleep is essential for children’s physical and mental health, as well as their academic performance, according to the Better Sleep Council, the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association. 

Mlily USA had children’s sleep needs in mind when it jumped into the youth bedding category with its Jama collection, which debuted at the Las Vegas Market in April.

Mattresses in Mlily USA’s new Jama line are made to safely fit in bunk beds and trundle beds and come with a removable, washable protector.

“The Jama line was specifically designed to deliver the support, alignment and comfort needed for growing bodies and developing minds,” says Stephen Chen, president of Mlily USA, based in Knoxville, Tennessee. “We developed Jama to fill a gap between a standard twin bed that has long been the go-to for parents, or full and even queen models sometimes used for children.” 

Mlily offers two Jama models: a 5-inch mattress available in twin and full size, and a 7-inch mattress available in twin, full and queen. The 5-inch mattress includes a layer of the company’s proprietary Adaptifoam atop a base foam. The company says the low profile keeps the mattress a safe distance from the top of bed rails to minimize children falling or rolling out of bed, making it an excellent option for bunk beds and trundle beds. 

The 7-inch mattress adds a layer of gel memory foam with cooling properties to the layers of Adaptifoam and base foam. It’s good for bottom bunks and standard bed frames, according to the company. 

Both models feature a removable and washable waterproof protector. Suggested retail price points range from $399 to $699 in queen. Mlily also offers a child-size pillow with three layers of ventilated foam that can be removed and switched up to customize it for a child’s comfort and sleep position preferences. 

By investing in a quality mattress designed to provide comfortable, supportive sleep for children from their toddler years to teenager years, “parents can rest easy, knowing the investment will last for years to come,” Chen says.

The Jama line began shipping in June and “sales are far exceeding our expectations,” he says. “The positive feedback we have received, along with the orders placed at the show, reinforced the fact that retailers are looking for these products for their floors.”

Saatva’s Golub notes that children typically need a firmer mattress than adults for proper spinal support — and waterproofing for nighttime accidents. When choosing a mattress for their child, parents also should look for models that have strong edge support so they don’t roll off or sag during story time or when tucking their child in at night, he says.

The Saatva Youth Mattress, introduced in 2019, is made with those features in mind and is designed to give kids a good night’s sleep for years. The 10-inch flippable mattress incorporates zoned firmer foams on the side intended for children 3 and older and the company’s patented Spinal Zone coil unit on the side for children 8 and older. All the foams are CertiPUR-US certified. To protect the mattress against bedwetting and spills, the organic cotton cover is treated with a water-resistant finish and the bed also includes an internal waterproof barrier, Golub says. It retails for $699 in twin, $899 in full.

Good ZZZs for Gen Z

Corsicana’s Early Bird brand uses bright colors, a playful Earl E. Bird mascot and well-priced mattresses to attract young bedding buyers.

After kids grow up, leave their parents’ house and start setting up their first apartment or house, they typically need a new mattress. Online mattress brands have captured much of the business of first-time mattress buyers but other bedding manufacturers now are offering lines that target younger consumers — and those lines are perfect for retailer’s e-commerce sites.

Corsicana Mattress’ Early Bird brand, launched in 2019, is designed to appeal to younger millennials and Gen Z, says Gary Gray, general manager of digital for the Dallas-based company.

“We set out to create a brand focused on younger consumers who primarily shop online,” Gray says. “Early Bird is about getting more out of your day. … Our messaging of ‘Wake Up Inspired’ and ‘Blaze New Trails’ strongly connects to 18– to 34-year-old consumers. They relate to being a self-starter and have goals of being a morning person and liking it.”

Early Bird uses bright, bold contrasting colors in its marketing and packaging, and the company has created a mascot, Earl E. Bird, a “quirky, happy-go-lucky friend who embodies the optimism and playfulness” of the brand, Gray says.

“Comfort is king to young adults,” he says. “This segment of consumers does a lot more in their beds than older generations. For many, their beds are where they do most of their work and movie streaming. … Our proprietary comfort curve mapping ensures the ideal comfort levels for sleeping, as well as sitting in bed.”

Early Bird models also feature foam and cooling properties — two features important to these younger consumers, Gray says. The line includes three collections: Essentials (with cooling gel memory foam), Fusion (in hybrid constructions) and Performance (copper-infused foam in hybrid and all-foam models). All have Tex-Cel moisture- and heat-wicking cover fabric. Models retail from $399 to $749 in queen.

Serta Simmons Bedding LLC took to TikTok to market its revamped Simmons brand, aimed at Gen Z shoppers who want to buy online.

And because young shoppers like to buy online, the mattress comes with free shipping in a single box. Early Bird first was sold on Amazon but has been picked up by e-tailers, including Wayfair,, and, Gray says.

Atlanta-based mattress major Serta Simmons Bedding LLC has made a big push for younger consumers, revamping its Simmons brand to target Gen Z with lower-priced mattresses, bright colors and fun marketing campaigns, especially on TikTok.

“We relaunched in 2020 to compete and win in the segment of mattresses that sells below $500. There’s probably a billion dollars’ worth of mattresses sold on Amazon every year and 90% of them are below $500. (We weren’t) really playing there,” Andrew Long, senior director of Simmons marketing, told Adweek in June. “We took the Simmons brand and re-energized it and relaunched it to play down at those price points. … We wanted to go after Gen Z because we felt they made up the majority of consumers at that price point looking to buy their first mattress.”

A bestseller for the refreshed Simmons brand is the Medium mattress, available in all-foam or hybrid models, retail priced at $439 in queen. The all-foam version incorporates a gel memory foam that reduces motion transfer; the hybrid model includes wrapped coils to improve airflow and isolate movement. Both versions feature CertiPUR-US-certified foams and Climate Cool covers with moisture-wicking properties.

This spring, the Simmons brand launched the Charli + Dixie x Simmons mattress with Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio, two sisters with a huge social media following.

Part of Simmons’ effort to reach younger consumers is a special-edition mattress in partnership with social media stars Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio. To launch the mattress, Simmons held a contest in which the TikTok influencers made over two winners’ bedrooms in a friendly sibling rivalry to see whose refresh was best. 

The 10-inch all-foam Charli & Dixie x Simmons mattress includes 2 inches of gel memory foam. The white and cerulean crossover cover pattern was chosen by the sisters, the company says. It retails for $599 in queen.

To attract first-time mattress buyers, mattress retailers — like mattress manufacturers — should keep it fun and easy.

“(These consumers) don’t wake up sore, they don’t think about their mattress a lot and they’re not as worried about quality sleep,” Long says. “Our focus was delivering a quality product at a great price, but we wanted to have a bright, fun brand to attract them and get their attention.”

3 Tips for Selling More Youth Bedding

1: You don’t have to turn your store into a playground but group youth mattresses in one spot and use brighter colors to designate the area. Add a basket of toys to keep little ones busy while their parents or grandparents shop.

2: Instead of giving away a protector or sheets with a crib or juvenile mattress, send customers home with a book for bedtime reading. “Goodnight Moon,” “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,” “The Going to Bed Book” and “Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book” are good choices.

3: When targeting first-time mattress buyers, go where they are. Market on TikTok and Instagram. Partner with social media influencers. Heavily promote your entry-level boxed beds on your e-commerce site.

Julie A. Palm has been covering the mattress and home furnishings industries for more than 25 years and is a past editor in chief of both BedTimes and Sleep Savvy magazines. As chief wordsmith at Palm Ink LLC, she specializes in writing, editing, publications management and communications consulting for a variety of clients. She can be reached at