If your baby is rapidly growing into a toddler, you might be ready for them to move to a big-kid bed. And just like you wanted them to have a safe sleep surface as a baby, you want them to sleep safely as a bigger kid. This is why you should look for a non-toxic kid’s pillow.

Did you look for a non-toxic crib mattress (or even a firm organic mattress for co-sleeping) when you were pregnant? You’ll want to continue protecting your child in their next stage of sleep.

But just a mattress isn’t enough! If you have a natural toddler mattress for your child, but then don’t also consider the pillow their head is resting on, you’ve still lost half the battle.

RELATED: Best non-toxic toddler mattresses

Just like mattresses, pillows can be one of the biggest sources of toxicants in your home. Flame retardants, phthalates, heavy metals like lead… these can all be present in traditional pillows. Plus, they cause long term health effects (especially in kids).

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That’s why I was so excited to work with Brentwood Home, who sent me two Lilypad Kids natural pillows for my little boys (ages 2 and 5). Here’s my review of the Lilypad Kids natural pillow, which I love for my boys (and actually, it feels pretty good for me too!).

Why a non-toxic pillow is important

Traditional pillows made with synthetic fills can release toxic chemicals that have long-term effects on kids. Since children are still developing, it’s like the butterfly effect – any small problem now can lead to big problems later, including neurological issues, fertility problems, asthma, and even certain cancers.

polyester pillow with filling exposed

The cheapest pillows are often filled with polyester. While polyester generally is a safer polymer (plastic), it still off-gasses volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), which are toxic.

Memory foam pillows are usually made from polyurethane foam. The chemical smell that often comes from them are from (VOCs). In addition, memory foam often contains toxic flame retardants.

Want to learn 11 easy swaps to reduce the chemical burden in your home (plus 4 no-cost ways to get rid of toxicants already in your home)? Sign up to get my Simple Swaps for a Healthier Home Guide. And because I’ve got a PhD in Environmental Health, you’ll know it’s info you can trust.

While down and/or feather pillows may sound like a good natural alternative, some people are allergic to them. In addition, they may harbor dust mites, making allergies worse.

What to avoid in an “organic” pillow

Just like so many other products, pillows are often marketed as “organic” but really aren’t. Many products that are advertised as “organic” are actually made with synthetic materials, toxic chemicals, and even heavy metals.

Often, these organic pillows are made with an organic cotton cover, but they’re still filled with synthetic foam or polyester… probably not what you’re looking for.

So how do you know if a pillow truly is non-toxic?

Look for all natural fillings too, such as:

  • organic cotton
  • organic wool
  • kapok
  • natural shredded latex

(Note: solid latex pillows are also available, but they are likely to be too tall for small children.)

If you’re looking for a pillow specifically for a child, I also suggest avoiding buckwheat filling. If the pellets come loose from the pillow, they can present a choking hazard for toddlers.

What to look for in a natural pillow

When you are looking for a pillow for your child, there are several factors you will want to consider.

Best non-toxic pillow materials

The first is the material the pillow is made from. You will want to make sure that the pillow (both cover and filling) is made from natural materials that are free of harmful chemicals or toxins.

Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow sitting on couch

The Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow is made from natural materials that are free of harmful chemicals or toxins. It has an organic cotton cover and is filled with with GOTS-certified organic kapok and GOLS certified organic natural latex.

The GOTS and GOLS certifications assure me that these pillows are free of chemical flame retardants, heavy metals, and phthalates.

RELATED: Which non-toxic certifications are best

Kapok pillow benefits

Kapok is a natural fiber taken from the seed pods of the Ceiba pentandra tree. While it’s native to the tropics of the Americas, it is often now cultivated in Southeast Asia.

seed pods of Ceiba pentandra tree with kapok filling bursting out

Kapok fibers are very light and have a silky texture. They are often used to fill cushions, pillows, and mattresses.

Kapok is often used as a hypoallergenic, vegan alternative to down. It is resistant to molds, mildews, and dust mites, further reducing threats of allergies. Kapok is also biodegradable and sustainable.

The Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow is filled with GOTS certified organic kapok and GOLS certified latex, making it a safe and healthy option for your child.

Pillow size

The second factor is the size of the pillow. You will want to make sure that the pillow is not too tall for your child.

If you have narrow shoulders (like me), you may know what I mean. A pillow that is too tall is uncomfortable and leads to neck strain overnight, and you might even wake up with a headache.

That’s why I love the Lilypad Pillow. It has a slim profile that’s great for kids (and honestly, for me too).

If your toddler is especially young (18 months or so), you may prefer Brentwood Home’s organic toddler pillow. It is smaller and filled with GOTS certified organic kapok (no latex) with an organic cotton cover, and it is specifically designed for toddlers and younger kids. Plus, it’s at a surprisingly affordable price.

Toddler pillow firmness

You might think a softer pillow is better for small children, but that’s not the case.

A kid’s pillow needs to be firm enough to provide support (plus, it keeps your child’s face from sinking too deeply into the fluff and obstructing breathing).

little boy sleeping in his bed with Lilypad Natural Kids pillow

The Lilypad pillow is medium-firm and perfect for young kids. As a stomach and side sleeper with narrow shoulders, I like it too.

My Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow Review

I was excited to open up our Lilypad Kid natural pillows before my boys got home that day.

At first, I was concerned that they looked kind of lumpy, but then I laid my head on one. It was really comfortable!

non-toxic kid's pillow on twin bed

Even though you may feel the shredded latex in the pillow with your hand, you truly don’t feel any lumpiness when your head is on it. It’s like magic.

And while the Lilypad is a little narrower than a typical pillow, it still pretty much covers the entire width of my sons’ twin beds.

Since it’s a child’s pillow, it has a lower profile. But honestly, it might work well for adults with narrow shoulders (like me). I’ve had a few nights where I needed to sleep with my toddler in his bed, and his pillow was comfortable for me.

So far, the pillow hasn’t lost shape and is easy to fluff. Overall, I really like it and would totally recommend it for your kids.

Toddler pillows vs. standard pillows

As you might imagine, it’s better to have small pillows for toddlers. But it’s really more about height than it is length.

The Lilypad is only an inch different from a standard pillow (19″x26″ instead of 20″x26″). Technically, it’s not a true “toddler pillow” because of this. But its lower height still makes it better for children.

I like that that the Lilypad actually spans the entire width of my son’s twin bed, which a real toddler pillow wouldn’t do.

If you want a true toddler pillow, it’s much smaller than this (only 12″x20″). However, my younger son is only 2.5 years old and is on the small end of the growth charts, and he still loves his Lilypad pillow. I don’t know if you “need” to use a toddler pillow before moving up to a full size one.

But if you do prefer a toddler pillow, I suggest Brentwood Home’s organic toddler pillow, which is filled with kapok fibers.

When to give your toddler a pillow

Generally, it’s best to wait until your child is at least 18 months to introduce them to a pillow. By that point, they are generally well past SIDS risk, plus their neck muscles are developed well enough to use a pillow.

You may want to wait even longer, depending on your child’s sleep habits – some toddlers just don’t need a pillow and do just fine without one.

Conclusions on the Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow

If you’re looking for the best non-toxic pillow for your child, look no further than the Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow. This plush yet low-profile pillow is perfect for your child’s sleepy head.

It’s made with GOTS certified organic kapok and GOLS certified organic natural latex, and is free of any chemical flame retardants, heavy metals, or phthalates. The organic cotton cover makes it even more safe and healthy for your child. So if you’re looking for the best pillow to keep your child comfortable at night, the Lilypad Kids Natural Pillow is the one for you.