Best Kids Travel Pillow Reviews 2018
Like adults, children tire during long trips. They usually tend to fall asleep in their seat, but often wake up cranky due to the incorrect sleeping position that results from sleeping in a car or airline seat. That’s why you use travel pillows to keep your head steady and comfortable. But, for children, these might be too big, and they need special, smaller pillows. We’ve researched the five top brands for kids’ travel pillows and reviewed a product from each, as well as writing this guide to help you choose.
If you’re here looking for other travel pillows, we also have reviews for adult and inflatable travel pillows, as well as travel neck pillows, so check them out if you’re interested.
(Updated December 28, 2017)
Watch Our Kids Travel Pillow Review
How Do I Choose the Best Kids Travel Pillow?
Now, we know what you’re thinking – kid’s travel pillows are the same as adult pillows, only smaller. Well, that’s not entirely true. Kids’ pillows are ALWAYS hard pillows. Kids’ pillows are made in this way because hard pillows can’t be punctured. Kids fiddle with everything, and they might pierce the pillow, ruining it. Not only that, but hard pillows are made from clean materials, whilst adult travel pillows contain rubber which might have been treated with phthalates and other aggressive and dangerous chemicals. From this stems the first consideration you need to make, and that is what material is a pillow made of? Most pillows are usually made of polyester, and often have a velour cover. Velour is very soft and comfortable, and breathable enough that the child doesn’t sweat all that much.
Another consideration you need to make is the size of the pillow. Kids grow quickly, and the pillow you bought just last year might be too small and constricting. Kids’ pillows are usually made for specific ages, starting from 2 years. There are pillows made for toddlers, and kids up to 5 years old. As with any piece of clothing or child accessory, you need to look into the future and find a product that will last for two to three years.
Lastly, there is proper neck support to be considered. Children are very susceptible to developing bad postures, especially if they keep sleeping in the car with their heads hung to their chests. Not only that, they can hurt their necks if you’re driving over bumpy roads and their heads keep swinging from side to side. A good pillow provides proper support for the neck and maintains an upright position. While most pillows feature a standard horseshoe shape, some have a doughnut design, with magnets placed in the “arms” that lock around the neck, and prevent the child’s head from falling forward. These are perfect for infant car seats
and booster car seats
, and will help your little one sleep soundly. Get a good pillow, and they will love it just as much they loved their pacifier
when they were a just a few weeks old.
The price point for kids’ travel pillows is rather uniform. These products are not very expensive, and most of them will fall between 20 and 25 dollars. Some can cost as little as 5 dollars, but maybe you should stay away from such cheap kids’ travel pillows. Some pillows, however, can cost as much as 45 dollars, but these usually come with some other accessories, such as blankets and ear plugs.
Since kids’ pillows are much less complicated than adult pillows, it stands to reason they don’t have any special features. Indeed, some pillows come with an extra blanket – in fact, one of the products on our list features a panda that’s used as a pouch for a blanket. We also said that some pillows have magnets that allow the product to close. However, none of these pillows feature a zipper that lets you take the cover off. This is done so that the child won’t open the pillow and eat the polyester inside (you know how kids are)
To sum up all the features, here is a short list:
- Polyester insides
- Some kind of extra accessory
- Magnets that help the pillow close
- No zipper to take off cover
- No serrated or sharpened edges
Construction and Design
Kids’ pillows usually don’t feature a very complicated design. While adult products come in many forms and shapes, kids’ pillows are usually horseshoe- or doughnut-shaped. This is due to the fact that kids usually rest in a car seat that already straps them in a comfortable position. Travel pillows also often feature some kind of toy-like design to appeal to kids. They’re usually made of polyester and velour.
Performance and Ease of Use
Well, a pillow is a very simple item, so you should probably know all about how to use it. If a pillow closes around the child’s neck, don’t panic, it’s not possessed – it just features magnets in the arms that support your child’s neck. From this, you may deduce, and you are absolutely right, that travel pillows are very easy to use, but their performance is greatly affected by your child’s willingness to finally fall asleep and let you drive in peace!
Always read care instructions carefully. Without removable covers, kids’ travel pillows must be stored and cleaned appropriately to prevent damage or potential build-up of bacteria or mold.
What is the Best Kids Travel Pillow?
Though most of the kid pillows are very similar in design, they boast vastly different looks, often based around bright colors and an animal theme. Well, here your little one might help you with picking out the pillow. A child might reject the pillow if they don’t like what it looks like – they’re not concerned with the benefits. However, you are, so you need to find a compromise with your child when it comes to the benefits of the pillow and its visual aspects. Only then will you find the perfect pillow.
Our Top Choice
Endangered Species by Sud Smart Pillow and Blanket Travel Buddy, Panda
Endangered Species by Sud Smart Kids Travel Pillow ES-1889-C
Kids love animals, and they'd hate if any of them went extinct. That’s why Sud Smart is donating 1% of all sales to the Defenders of Wildlife, and why their travel pillows bear the likenesses of many endangered species. Sud Smart products are soft and cuddly and will help you feel a little better about contributing to this planet.
This pillow is made of 100% polyester. However, this polyester has been recycled, making it one righteous pillow to buy. The pillow has a panda’s head on the side that can serve as a toy for the child, though it might be a little inconvenient for their neck if they try to lean back in their seat. The pillow is very soft and has no smell, so you can be sure no aggressive chemicals harm your child during use.
The panda’s head, aside from being all cute and cuddly and an obvious nuisance if the child tries to lean back, serves another purpose too. The panda head also contains a blanket. So, by purchasing this pillow, you will also be getting a convenient blanket and a pouch in which to carry it. The pillow is easy to clean and maintain – just wash it in some cold water and leave it out to dry, and that’s it.
What more can be said about this pillow? It will make your kid snug and cozy, and save the wildlife. We’d say this is a 2-in-1 deal, both literally and figuratively.
Need a pillow for your toddler? Have a look at Manhattan Toy Travel + Comfort Raccoon Neck Pillow. Already have a pillow, but want a gorgeous cuddly animal toy for your child? Check out the Manhattan Toy Adorables Mason Hippo Plush, 12"
Manhattan Toy Travel & Comfort Raccoon Neck Pillow
Manhattan Toy Kids Travel Pillow 213150
Our second product comes from the company founded by the grandson of the famous Samuel Goldwyn. Don’t know who that is? Let us drop you a hit: Leo the Lion. Remember now? Yep, he of MGM fame. Apparently, Francis Goldwyn moved out of Hollywood and started a toy manufacturing company in the heart of the Big Apple, back in 1978. Its first toy was a plush dinosaur but, since then, Manhattan has expanded to other animals as well.
The product we're presenting today is a toddler-sized travel pillow with a raccoon theme painted on it. The pillow is light blue and black, but with a raccoon's face staring from the top of the arc, and little raccoon ears sprouting there as well. The pillow is very comfortable and fits around a child's neck snugly so it's not too tight or loose. The product is perfectly suited to use in cars and planes and during long trips.
One of the best things about the product is how easy it is to take care of. It requires only an occasional wash, and it’s ready for use anytime. To wash it, you only need do what you would do with the Panda – simply wash it by hand in cold water and leave it out to dry. Do not machine wash the pillow, as it may damage it.
Manhattan Toys is a very experienced company when it comes to toys and animals. Plush toys are some of the best around, and these travel pillows are tailored to small children, which is not so easy to find on the market.
Critter Piller Kid's Neck Pillow – Available in 22 Designs
Critter Piller Kids Travel Pillow 2201 – Brown Dog
Wolf Manufacturing is a company based in Waco, Texas. It’s responsible for the Critter Piller range of children’s travel pillows, as well as the World’s Best Travel Pillows brand, which produces adult travel pillows. Its products can be bought direct through the company website or via selected resellers, including Amazon.
The product we're presenting today is a Brown Dog-based neck pillow for children. Right from the start, we see the Brown Dog is a very plush and very soft pillow. It does have the traditional horseshoe shape, but it doesn't go all the way around. Perhaps Critter Piller thought that such a design will prevent choking. However, this makes the pillow a little easier to fall off when the child is wearing it.
When it comes to construction, the pillow is made of 100% recycled polyester. As we said, there is a plush coating over the polyester to provide comfort. The pillow is made without phthalates or any aggressive chemicals. It’s also completely hypoallergenic and it’s our first machine-washable pillow on the list.
Such pillows aren’t found often, as most require you to wash them by hand. Critter Piller is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to bother with hand washing.
Have a look at Trunki’s Yondi Green Dino Pillow – a brilliant product with an interesting design. If green is not your kid’s thing, then maybe they’ll look more favorably on the Trunki Yondi Travel Pillow, Blue, Small
Trunki Yondi Travel Pillow – Available in 7 Designs
Trunki Kids Travel Pillow 1019 – Green
So far, we've had products from manufacturers that produce toys. This time, we've got a product from a company that specializes in kids' travel gear. With Trunki, you can find everything you need to make trips for your little bundles of joy enjoyable. And, indeed, this is crucial, as car crankiness can be a very serious thing to deal with, even more so if your little bundle has got a sibling to squabble with.
The Yondi Green Dino Travel Pillow is a part of a series of pillows that have a rather unique design. These pillows are round in shape and go around the entire neck, keeping the head up and neck in a proper position. The way the pillow achieves this is with two magnets. These magnets are placed in the "arms" of the dino, and they go underneath the child's chin. In this way, your child will be in a proper and comfortable position so they can get some sleep and leave you alone to drive.
When it comes to the construction, Trunki chose the materials carefully. Yondi is made of 38% spandex, 25% polystyrene, 4% Nylex and 33% velour. This combination allows the pillow to be flexible, soft and hypoallergenic at the same time. However, you'll have to hand wash it, due to the magnets having the potential to damage your washing machine.
All in all, this is one of the best pillows due to its very ergonomic design. The pillow really stands out with its use of magnets, and its hypoallergenic materials make it perfect for your child.
Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid and Toddler Travel Neck Rest with Soft Plush Velour – Available in 5 Designs
Skip Hop Kids Travel Pillow 187102 - Owl
For our last product, we have the Skip Hop Zoo Pillow. Skip Hop is a brand manufactured by Carter’s, a dedicated company that makes baby clothes and other baby accessories. The company is very prominent, and there's a good chance your child is actually wearing something from Carter's. Carter's products are very well made and tailored to be as gentle toward babies as possible, so you can be sure there aren’t any aggressive chemicals in the manufacturing process.
This pillow looks very much like the Trunki. It's donut-shaped, but, instead of having magnets in the "arms", it simply relies on a snug fit. The pillow is made of polyester and covered in velour for maximum comfort and minimum sweating and irritation of the skin. The pillow features a blue and red owl design and is a part of a themed set comprised of backpack, case, rolling luggage, raingear and other accessories.
All in all, what you’ve got here is one good travel pillow for a 2 – 4 year old. It’s soft, it doesn’t contain any bad chemicals, and it features a good design that supports the child’s neck. The only problem is that your child will outgrow it in two to three years.
Get the Best Kids Travel Pillow of 2018!
Well, that concludes our talk about kids’ travel pillows and their characteristics. As you’ve seen, kid pillows aren’t that different when it comes to their overall design, so picking one out isn’t as hard as picking out a travel pillow for the adults, which only goes to show we’re much bigger children than our kids! If none of these was quite right, remember to see what else these trusted brands have to offer.
Our Top Choice
Endangered Species Kids Panda Travel Pillow
Manhattan Toy Travel Pillow
Critter Piller Kid's Neck Pillow
Trunki Yondi Travel Pillow
Skip Hop Zoo Travel Neck Rest