Children need a lot from their mattress. They are growing, their brains are developing, and good sleep is crucial. Having a good mattress to support your child’s sleep is going to feel like a good investment in your child.
Surely then, a mattress that’s been designed in consultation with paediatric sleep experts is going to be the best choice for your child? The Helix Kids mattress is exactly this, and while I think it’s a good mattress that will absolutely do a good job for your child, I’m not sure it’s worth the money.
Read on to get all the information you need about this popular kids mattress to find out if it’s best for you and your child, or if you should check out something else instead.
Helix Kids Mattress: Overview
Helix love to tailor their mattresses for the needs of specific people. Their kids mattress is a good example of this, as it has a lot of elements that make it appropriate for all children, from the age of 3 (where they are probably still in nappies and you’re cuddling on their bed with them) right up to 12 where they’re on the cusp of those fun (ahem) teen years.
To design their kids mattress, Helix got expert input from doctors, pediatric sleep specialists and family sleep consultants. They also asked children and their parents for real world experience. The mattress hit the market in 2021 and has undergone a few refinements along the way.
Here’s what Helix have done to make this mattress specifically for the needs of children:
- Flippable design “made for growing kids”. The firmer side supports healthy spine development and is for kids aged 3-7. The slightly softer side offers more pressure relief for older kids who have bigger bodies and may sleep on their sides more
- Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial cover
- Stain and water resistant
What makes a child’s mattress different to a crib mattress?
Crib mattresses are very firm. This is because it’s critical for the safety of a baby that there is no sinkage or softness to the mattress. This protects against SIDS.
A child’s mattress starts to step away from that very firm first crib mattress. Smaller children still need a firm mattress to support the development of their spine, while older children start to need more pressure relief and comfort as they grow or they start to sleep on their side.
What makes a special child’s mattress different to a regular adult mattress?
It is firmer and thinner. There is less focus on deep layers of pressure relieving materials like you’d find in an adult mattress because children don’t need this until they are older.
It is water and stain resistant, especially important during those potty training preschooler years. Yes, you can add a mattress protector to any mattress to give it these properties, but a child specific mattress often comes with them as part of the design.
Safety and Material Analysis
Materials Used in Helix Kids Mattress
The first thing to note is that there is no fiberglass in the fire barrier. I have personally verified with Helix that their fire barrier is an inherent rayon sock, which they use across their entire mattress range.
The antimicrobial layer in the cover is AEGIS microbe shield. This is a layer that kills microbees on contact, does not rub off and is safe for you and the environment.
The cover is tencel, which is one of my favorite plant base cover materials. It’s made from bamboo and feels silky and breathable (lots of breathable clothing is also made from tencel).
The foams are a high density polyfoam on the firm (3-7 year) side and gel memory foam on the softer side (8-12 year). These are pretty standard foams you find in most mattresses.
The materials all look safe to me, and I’d happily have my child sleep on a mattress made from them. In fact, my five year old does sleep on a firm memory foam mattress.
However, if you want natural or organic materials you’ll need to look at a latex mattress. My seven year old sleeps on a Peace Lily mattress, which I highly recommend.
Safety Certifications and Standards
This means it’s made without harmful chemicals, including ozone depleters, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead, and heavy metals.
GREENGUARD has two levels of certification, standard and gold, with gold being the more strict one for additional chemicals and also lower threshold of tolerance for VOCs (volatile organic compounds – released as emissions from all sorts of man-made items.
GREENGUARD Gold certified products contribute to healthier air, which is exactly what you want in your child’s bedroom.
Comfort and Support Features
As we’ve already touched on, this mattress is softer one side firmer the other. Firm for 3-7 years, softer for 8-12 as a guideline. It’s clearly marked on the cover which side is which.
There is one inch of soft foam on one side, one inch of firm foam the other side with six inches of pocket coils in between the two foam layers as the support core of the mattress.
The firm side is recommended for younger children to provide support for their growing bodies, especially their spines. I agree with this: my 5 and 7 year olds both sleep on firm mattresses and they have been great for them.
The softer side is more about pressure relief and comfort. However, it’s not as soft as the Helix mattress website reports: in my opinion it’s more of a medium feel, not soft. This is good as it will suit more people, but do be aware that you’re not getting a soft mattress here.
The support system of 6” of pocket coils gives targeted support, no matter which way it’s flipped. Pocket coils also mean good breathability and good edge support. Edge support is important if you’re worried about your child rolling off their bed or they’re transitioning from a crib.
With the spring core, the mattress has moderate bounce, which will make it easy for kids to move around on the bed (and is enough for a bit of jumping).
Kids don’t need as much pressure relief as adults because this is typically something we require with age as our bodies either get heavier or need more support for aches.
As this is a reasonably firm mattress, it’s not great for older children who sleep on their side, as there is not much pressure relief.
The mattress is only recommended up to age 12, at which point you’ll transfer them to an adult mattress.
Durability and Longevity
I don’t know how well the foams will hold up given there’s only one inch of them on each side. However, the fact that the mattress is flippable will help extend its life.
To get the full ten years of use out of the mattress, you’ll really need to buy it when your child is 3, because once they hit around age 12, or 120 pounds, or sleep on their side a lot, you’ll be wanting to change to a mattress that can offer more pressure relief.
Children can be very hard on mattresses (hello pillow fights, bouncing and wrestling matches) so I think if you get 10 years out of the mattress you’re doing well.
I’d reduce the lifespan to about 7 or 8 years if your kids use their bed like a trampoline (like mine sometimes do) – again, latex is a great choice here because it’s got less bounce than springs so it doesn’t invite as much bouncing, and it’s more durable than memory foam.
Size Options and Suitability
The Helix kids mattress is available in twin or full sizes only. Twin is great for that first bed out of a crib.
I think you’ll get more use out of a full though, because if you intend for your child to use this right up to their preteen years, they’ll want more space to sprawl and lounge on their bed. Even with your littles, the full would be a good choice because there’s more space for you to snuggle with them on it.
Remember, this mattress is not intended for adult use so it does not come in standard adult sizes like Queen or King. The rest of the Helix mattress range come in every size you could want.
Price and Value for Money
Twin is RRP $748 (get a deal for $599)
Full is RRP $999 (get a deal for $748)
Never pay full price for a mattress in a box. There’s always a deal to be had. Always.Helix also often run deals where you can get free pillows and discount mattress protectors with your children’s mattress purchase.
I personally do not think this mattress is good value for money. For the same price, you can get a more durable and more natural latex mattress. Latex is a great choice for all ages and stages and I prefer it out of the two mattresses my kids sleep on.
This is a thin mattress with only 2 inches of foam in the whole thing, so I’m a bit dubious. If it was under $500 I’d think it was a better deal.
For comparison, you can get the exact same natural latex mattress my 7 year old uses, which also is flippable with a firm and softer side, for a similar price but you can expect 25 years of life out of it. This means that if your child outgrows their kid size bed you can keep this for a spare room because it’s also suitable for adults to use. Much more versatile and better value ofr money! I think Peacelily is better and that’s what my 7 year old has been happy with for 2 years.
Trial Period, Warranty, Shipping, and Returns
As you’d expect with an online mattress purchase, shipping is free within the United States. Helix also ships to Canada, but this will incur hefty freight costs.
Helix offers a 100 night trial period with a 30 night break in period. This is the same as for their adult mattresses, and is pretty standard across mattresses online.
The 30 night break in period just means that you have to keep your mattress for at least the first 30 days of your 100 night trial. this is the generally agreed time frame it takes for us to get used to a mattress.
The trial starts from the day you recieve the mattress, not the day you order it so you’ll have plenty of time to decide.
Should you decide to return your mattress, Helix will arrange for it to be collected from your house and either recycled or donated to charity.
The Helix Kid’s mattress comes with a 10 year warranty. Again, this is pretty standard. However, kids can be rough on mattresses so it’s important to note that any wear and tear or rips and stains can void the warranty.
If you decide to make a warranty claim on your mattress, you will have to pay to return the mattress to Helix, where they will assess it. If it meets their criteria for a defect caused by their manufacturing and/or materials, they will reimburse you for this cost, but it is a risk you have to take.
Customer Reviews and Feedback
At the time of writing, the Helix mattress for kids had 438 reviews with an average score of 4.7 out of 5 stars. This means hundreds of people are really happy with it.
I spent a lot of time reading through the hundreds of comments, and these are the themes that emerged and the comments that really stood out to me:
- The mattress is comfy and quiet (no squeaking springs when you sneak away from putting your child to bed)
- The 8” height is good for smaller children because it’s easy for them to climb up onto it (but because it’s not as deep as standard mattresses some commented on sheets and mattress protectors not fitting that great)
- Many parents find it comfortable to lie on too, important for putting kids to bed or if they need you in the night
- Some felt it’s a bit expensive but were happy to pay for their kids comfort
- Some felt the foam layers were too thin. I think they’re okay for kids, but a heavier adult would definitely sink through those. This is not designed for adult use. Some adults were also dubious about whether it’s a good fit for older kids due to this thinness. Remember, this is a children’s mattress. The foams are designed to feel comfortable for kids, but I am not surprised to hear about adults feeling uncomofrtable on this mattress when they tried to sleep on it (or fell asleep with their kids)
- Kids loved the idea of their own special kids mattress rather than just any mattress.
- I saw a few mentions of the mattress being up to 2 inches shorter than it should be (73 inch instead of 75 for a twin). Helix states on their website that mattress sizes range within 1.5 inches, but this is quite a lot especially if you’re worried about little limbs getting stuck. I’d personally want to know the mattress was a good fit for the frame so I asked them. They said that it should be 75 inches but there was up to 2 inches of variance in manufacturing. I pressed them on this as a potential safety issue for small children, they said they’d flag it with their team.
- Parents like the flippability, and that the mattress can adapt to their child’s changing needs as they grow
You can see that parents generally find the mattress good for their children. The majority think it’s comfortable and their kids like it.
The negative aspects included variation in size, questions about value for money (which I agee with) and it not being suitable for adult use.
I think overall, Helix have made a good mattress that is suitable for children of different ages and stages. They have engaged experts to help them carefully design this mattress to adapt to the changing needs of growing children.
However, I’m not convinced that it’s great value for money. I think the foams are thin and there are more durable (and natural) mattresses out there that are better value for money, like Peace Lily.
Do I think it’s a good mattress for children? Yes. Would I let my own child sleep on it? For sure. Would I pay Helix’s asking price? No. I’d get something else.