When your baby is a newborn and for several months after, the official advice is not to use a pillow, so it's quite an exciting step when you can buy your toddler a pillow and their very first bedding set.
It's best to wait until they are a toddler and ready to move to their big bed before you introduce a specifically designed toddler pillow and a duvet that's suitable for toddlers.
NHS advice is not to use a pillow under the age of one year, as having a pillow in your baby's cot creates a risk of suffocation and overheating. The Lullaby Trust also advises: "Pillow use alone has been shown to increase the chance of SIDS occurring by up to 2.5 times."
• Best toddler pillow overall: ClevaMama ClevaFoam Toddler Pillow
• Best sustainable toddler pillow: Panda Kids Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
• Best affordable toddler pillow: Slumberdown Little Slumbers Toddler Super Soft Pillow
But once your little one becomes a toddler and moves into a cot bed or toddler bed, you might find they're more comfortable with a pillow and toddler duvet, and they might enjoy sleeping in their own bed.
Best toddler pillows
Best toddler pillow overall
This toddler pillow is made from ClevaFoam, the creation of ClevaMama. It's breathable and
- Keeps toddler's head and spine correctly aligned
- Moulds to fit toddler's head
- Ideal for toddlers with eczema and asthma
- Doesn't come with pillowcase
Best sustainable toddler pillow
A memory foam option, which you might have as your own adult pillow. Panda Kids Memory Foam Pillow
- Memory foam keeps toddler's neck and spine correctly aligned
- Temperature-regulating technology helps keep toddlers cool in summer
- Comes with soft bamboo cover, which is machine washable
- A little pricey
Best Silentnight toddler pillow
You will have heard of the Silentnight brand, and it's a reputable company to put your trust in
- Pillow suitable for washing machine and tumble dryer makes it easy to keep clean
- Part of Silentnight's award-winning Safe Night's collection
- Some mentioned it loses shape when washed
Best toddler pillow with pillowcase
An ergonomic pillow designed to look after your toddler's spine, neck and head. The KeaDreams
- Comes with pillowcase with a cute design
- Pillow and case can be machine washed
- Designed with experts to provide spinal support
- More expensive than other pillows
5. Slumberdown Little Slumbers Toddler Super Soft Pillow
Best affordable toddler pillow
Made from 100 per cent polyester with 100 per cent recycled polyester filling, the Slumberdown
- Easy to keep clean, suitable for washing machine and tumble dryer
- Anti-allergy protection helps with asthma, eczema and against dust mites
- Doesn't include pillowcase
Best breathable toddler pillow
A great starter pillow, this Baby Works Toddler pillow is made from memory foam and comes with its
- Soft, hypo-allergenic pillow case included
- Pillowcase suitable for washing machine and tumble dryer
- Some mentioned it's not easy to clean
Toddler Pillows: All you need to know
Choosing the right pillow for your toddler
When buying a toddler pillow, it's important to remember to choose materials that are soft against your little ones' skin. It's also handy to get a smaller pillow than your own that fits them better.
When can toddlers have a pillow?
Parenting expert and founder of The Regular Parent, Fi Star-Stone, says little ones really don't need pillows like we do, "They're perfectly comfortable (and safer) without one until they're ready to move to a big bed with toddler bedding (between 18 months - 3 years).
"Until then, quilts and pillows can cause a threat of suffocation or overheating. So, keep these items out of your little one's sleep routine. The emptier the crib or cot, the safer the sleep."
Do toddlers need a pillow?
As adults, we can't imagine going to bed without tucking up with a comfy pillow. But we know how much a toddler moves during their sleep. How often do you nip into their room to check how they are, only to find them upside down, feet hanging off the edge and head at the opposite end of the bed from where they started?
If you're going to introduce a pillow, manage your expectations. Your toddler might not sleep soundly in one position with a neatly placed pillow all night long.
It's best to wait as long as possible before giving your toddler a pillow. Wait until they show interest in one and aren't moving around so much at night. Keeping your child's bed as clear as possible from toys, bedding, and cushions is the best approach for as long as possible.
Remember, when your little one transitions to a bed, you don't need to use a pillow right away. "In fact, to make the transition from cot to bed easier, use their sleeping bag or blankets that they are used to so they feel familiar and settled.
"When they're comfortable with their new bed, choose quilts and pillows that conform to British safety standards," says Fi. "Toddlers don't need a standard-size pillow. Choose a pillow that is small, offers support, and retains its shape so as not to pose a suffocation risk.
"Think about investing in an anti-allergy pillow or pillow protector. Keep an eye on how your toddler gets along with it. If they're throwing the pillow on the floor - don't worry! As long as they're sleeping, then they're comfortable, so don't worry that they don't use it."
Can toddlers use normal pillows?
When you decide your little one is ready for a pillow, you can keep the bedding to a minimum by not using a pillowcase or looking for a pillow with a built-in washable cover instead. And there's no need for an adult-sized pillow – buy a specific toddler pillow that's smaller and firmer.
This article contains expert advice from parenting expert and founder of The Regular Parent, Fi Star-Stone.