Tummy, Back, or Side Sleeper? Does Your Kid Need a Standard or Less-Fill Toddler Pillow?

Choosing the right toddler pillow for your small sized sleeper is the perfect way to ensure comfort while supporting the neck and spine throughout the night.

By deciding to choose a toddler pillow or youth pillow instead of a typical “grown-up” pillow, you’re already off on the right foot. The smaller size of these options automatically ensures a better fit.

That said, depending on whether your son or daughter sleeps on his/her tummy, back, or side (or all three!), you may also want to adjust the amount of fill within those kids pillows. This will help to make sure that your child’s spinal alignment and even respiration will receive the support they need all night long.


The goal is to try to achieve a neutral position for the spine. This means that the head, neck and upper back should line up nicely while in the preferred resting position. If a toddler pillow is forcing the head and neck into another position, it may add unnecessary pressure to muscles, nerves, and discs.

Consider the following as you choose a standard fill, less fill or custom fill for your child’s toddler pillow or youth pillow.

  •         Back sleepers – Back sleepers are often given thicker pillows than are actually ideal for their spinal alignment and their comfort. Many people feel that back sleepers need a thick and fluffy pillow, elevating the head slightly. However, this causes the spine to curve and can make it tougher to breathe comfortably. The ideal pillow for a back sleeper will usually be a standard fill pillow.


For kids who are back sleepers, the standard fill pillow is usually perfect because its loft is not too great, and it is very soft, allowing the back of the head to sink into it while the neck remains supported.

  •         Tummy sleepers – Although it’s usually recommended that we don’t sleep onour stomachs as it makes it quite difficult to maintain a neutral spinal position, try telling that to your little one when he or she is sound asleep! If your son or daughter is a tummy sleeper, the best thing you can do is to make sure he or she has the right kind of pillow. Choosing a thinner, low-loft pillow is usually best for a tummy sleeper because it stops the head from being forced upward and the spine from being bent unnaturally backward.

Kids who sleep on their tummies usually do best with the less-fill pillow, instead of the standard.This will help to keep the spine aligned and the head and neck comfy.  Extra tip: using a breathable, hypoallergenic pillowcase and a washable pillow is particularly important for tummy sleepers.



  • Side Sleepers – Side sleeping is the most common position for kids and adults alike. Fortunately, it’s also one of the best ways to keep the head, neck, and spine aligned, provided the right pillow is used.

Kids who sleep on their sides usually sleep best with a standard fill pillow, that keeps the spine aligned.

Naturally, no child stays in one position all night long.  Usually, they change it up quite a lot, turning in many directions (sometimes upside down!).  Choosing the pillow based on their most common sleeping position can help to ensure the most comfortable and restful sleep at night and during naptimes.