What To Know About Mattress Protectors For Kids

Go for breathable coverage, and double up on your protectors for the best night of sleep for everyone.

A young asian boy in a bed with white sheets holding the duvet away from his face.
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Let’s be honest: kids can be messy, and many of those messes occur right smack in the middle of the night. Whether the mess is a spilled bottle or drink, a potty training accident, or an icky illness, the kids’ mattresses tend to bear the brunt of these messes. That’s why using a mattress protector when you have kids is a must.

The importance of a mattress protector

The most obvious reason why you should use a mattress protector is to protect against stains and other superficial damage to your mattress. But that’s not the only reason why you want to make sure there is a protective barrier between your sheets and the mattress itself.

Montrail, a Sleep Expert™ and store manager at Mattress Firm in Round Rock, Texas, says that a good mattress protector will prevent bacterial growth and allergen proliferation. Besides that, mattress protectors increase the overall lifespan of your mattress.

“Those same stains and spills and accidents also break down the materials inside the mattress, prematurely,” says Montrail. “So you decrease the longevity of the bed that you have, the more you lie on it without a protector.”

What is the best mattress protector for kids?

Wondering what you should look for in a good protector? Here are Montrail’s top tips for picking the best mattress protector for kids:

1. Stay away from plastic

Many parents tend to pick mattress protectors made of plastic, thinking this will offer better protection. But this isn’t the best choice, because plastic mattress protectors can lock in humidity by not allowing the mattress to breathe, which may cause premature breakdown of your mattress.

2. Pick the right material

Montrail recommends looking for a mattress protector made of breathable material, such as bamboo, cotton, or TENCEL. That breathability will not compromise their effectiveness. You also don’t want your kids to get overheated while they’re sleeping, so you also want to stay away from wool and other thicker materials.

3. Check the warranty

You’ll want to pay attention to the warranty information for your mattress protector. Many mattress protectors will cover the warranty of your mattress if an accident makes it through the protector, and that’s always a useful perk to have.

4. Easy to wash

You’ll want to pick a mattress protector that is super easy to wash. Some mattress protectors have detailed restrictions on how you can wash your protector. But when you are a bleary-eyed parent cleaning up a late-night mess, the last thing you want is complicated.

5. Opt for 5-sided coverage

Though a 5-sided protector can be harder to put on a mattress, that coverage is key when a spill occurs. Five sides refer to the top of the mattress and all four sides, meaning if a drink spills down the sides, your mattress won’t absorb it as it follows the trail of gravity.

Why are two protectors better than one?

Here’s a tip that not everyone knows: Two are better than one. If you are going to use a mattress protector for a kid, it’s almost always better to go ahead and double them up.

Think about it: If you are dealing with a diaper blowout, a bedwetting issue, or something like the dreaded stomach flu, you may be in for a repeat performance, meaning you could be changing your child’s bedding more than once in a night.

But even if you only have to change the bedding one time, to have another mattress protector already in place will save you the trouble of having to go searching for a solution at 2 a.m.! You’ll already have coverage in place, meaning you can rest a little easier.

Montrail says you can go ahead and place two, or even three mattress protectors on the bed. This way, your mattress will be protected at all times. And don’t worry about overloading your bed with protectors. That shouldn’t be an issue if you make sure to pick a mattress protector made of breathable fabric, says Montrail.

Quality over low price

Montrail’s last tip for parents is not to go straight to the cheapest option when purchasing a mattress protector. “A lot of times, for kid options, we always go for the lower-price option, and that may not necessarily be the best-quality buy,” says Montrail.

Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it. A higher quality mattress protector — especially one made of breathable material — will ultimately save you money in the future because your mattress will be protected and you won’t have to invest in a new mattress as quickly.

A mattress that can endure years of endless kid disasters? Now that sounds like a way to rest easier.