The season for family vacations is almost upon us. You’ve got everything you need to keep the kids entertained for the car or plane ride, but for those extra long trips, sleep will be involved, and you’ll want to bring a travel pillow for them.
The number one deciding factor when choosing which travel pillows for kids made our list was comfort, however, there are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing the right one.
Before we dive into our list of favorite travel pillows for kids, let’s take a look at what you need to know about choosing a travel pillow, the types of travel pillows, and if they are safe to use.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Travel Pillow for Kids
When it comes down to picking the right travel pillow for your child, here are the 3 top things to keep in mind before choosing one.
Travel pillows come in a variety of sizes, and the size of the travel pillow will mainly depend upon your child’s age. Some travel pillows aren’t suitable for kids under 8 years old, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s suggested age range first.
Comfort is also a major factor, so choosing a travel pillow that is too bulky can make a child feel uncomfortable. Inflatable travel pillows will allow for some customization in regards to the size.
Travel pillows should, of course, be comfortable, but comfort can mean different things to different kids. The stuffing can either be memory foam, polyfill or even air. The exterior can be made of fleece, a poly-fiber, velour or other soft material.
Talk with your child to get an idea of what material they’ll find the most comfortable.
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get a comfortable travel pillow for your child. All the travel pillows on this list are affordable, some even more than others, but keep in mind your budget, especially if you are looking to purchase travel pillows for the whole family.
Types of Travel Pillow
When you think of a travel pillow, most likely this is what comes to mind. The most popular neck pillow is the u-shaped neck pillow, though as you’ll see on our list, there are many other designs.
Some wrap completely around the neck to help kids’ heads from bobbing forward, while another type of travel pillows acts more like a sling instead of providing massive amounts of cushioning. No matter which style you choose, neck pillows are the most popular type of travel pillows to choose from.
Seat Belt Pillow
As the name suggests, this is a “pillow” that wraps around a seat belt. This is limited to car travel but is a good alternative for kids who don’t want something around their necks.
A travel pillow is a small rectangular pillow that can either be inflated or stuffed with memory foam, polyfill or another type of filling. Choosing one that is inflatable will make packing a little easier since it can be deflated and rolled up to be store in luggage.
Are Travel Neck Pillows Safe to Use?
Research on the use of neck pillows is limited, but there are many physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists who agree that it is safe to use and may even recommend certain people who experience neck pain to use one.
But in general, travel pillows are safe for kids to use. Make sure to choose a travel pillow that provides support for your child’s head and neck, but is also comfortable for your child to wear. And as we mentioned before, make sure to choose a travel pillow that is appropriate for their size and age.
10 Best Travel Pillows for Kids
Whether you plan on traveling by bus, plane or car, here are our favorite travel pillows just for kids. We’ve noted which are good for toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids as well as teens. We’ve also included both neck pillows and alternate solutions to help kids sleep easier on your next trip.
1. trtl Travel Pillow Junior
For kids 8 years and older, the trtl will provide the neck support and comfort they need to get some Zzz’s on the road or in the air. This travel pillow is made of hypoallergenic fleece with foam padded inserts for additional comfort.
The trtl pillow has a quick fit mitt and quick release design to help kids put it on and take it off easily. When not in use, it packs away flat and is machine washable. Kids will also love the different colors and designs to choose from.
- Easy to put on and take off.
- Soft hypoallergenic fleece is comfy.
- Machine washable.
- It comes in a variety of colors and designs.
- Easy to pack.
- Since it is made of fleece, kids may get too warm wearing.
2. BCOZZY Kids Travel Pillow
The BCOZZY kids travel pillow is exactly that: a super cozy travel pillow. This particular travel pillow is reminiscent of the traditional u-shaped travel pillows, but the complete wrap-around design helps kids sit comfortably in any position by supporting not only the head and neck but the chin as well, preventing kids’ heads from falling forward.
This soft, lightweight travel pillow is intended for kids 3-8 years old and comes in a variety of color combinations. We also love that it’s easy to clean. Simply throw the entire thing in the washing machine!
- Provides 360-degree head, neck and chin support.
- The entire pillow is machine washable.
- It comes in a variety of colors.
- Snap strap hooks onto luggage making it perfect for travel.
- It cannot be packed away easily. Must be carried or put on outside of a luggage bag.
3. Trunki Yondi Kid’s Travel Neck Pillow
This adorable travel pillow comes in different animal characters like fox, monkey, lion, and others. The “paws” are magnetic making it easy to get around your child’s neck quickly while also providing all-around support. This neck pillow is for kids 18 months to 4 years old.
The Trunki is made out of super soft plush fabric and has a microbead filling. It also has a special grip piece to attach your child’s favorite blanket to it. And to top it off, it is very reasonably priced.
- Kids will love the different animal characters to choose from.
- Perfect for toddlers.
- Super soft.
- Easy to get on and off.
- May be too small for some toddlers.
4. Cloudz Original Soft N’ Cuddly Travel Pillow
Kids will love this stuffed animal travel pillow so much they’ll forget it’s a travel pillow at all. This cute and cuddly pillow comes in different animals and creatures like unicorn, cat, dog, ladybug and many more. When they aren’t using it for sleep, they’re sure to be playing and snuggling with their new buddy.
This budget-friendly travel pillow is soft and cozy with its plush polyfill body. The u-shaped design won’t provide support for the front of kids’ heads.
- Soft and comfy.
- Kids love the different animals it comes in.
- Machine washable.
- No support for the front of the head.
5. NIDO NEST Kids Travel Pillow
This classic u-shaped neck pillow by NIDO NEST is simple, adorable and of course, oh so comfy thanks to the microbeads inside the pillow. The u-shape pillow has a front snap to ensure it will stay on kids’ necks as well as the handle of luggage.
Choose from a pig, frog, ladybug, bumblebee and owl design. The cotton cover is lightweight and can be removed in order to wash it. (Yes, it’s machine washable too!)
- 5 animal designs to choose from.
- A simple front snap allows you to hook it to luggage.
- The cotton cover is lightweight and keeps kids cool.
- Machine washable.
- It may not work with some car seats.
6. Critter Piller Kid’s Travel Buddy and Comfort Pillow
Here’s another cute animal companion travel pillow that will support kids’ necks as well as provide them a soft cuddly friend for their travels. This is another u-shaped travel pillow stuffed with hypoallergenic fiberfill made from recycled materials.
This travel pillow is suitable for kids 3 years and older. It comes in a variety of animal characters to choose from like an alligator, dog, cat, raccoon, hippo, tiger, zebra, and more.
- Adorable characters to choose form.
- Made of hypoallergenic material.
- Fiberfill stuffing made from recycled materials.
- Very thick. Some kids may not like the angle of their headrests on it because of the thickness of the pillow.
7. Skip Hop Zoo Travel Neck Rest
The Skip Hop Zoo travel neck rest doesn’t have the most complex design but it’s comfortable, cute and great for kids 2 to 4 years old. Kids will love how cozy the velour fabric cover is and you’ll like that it’s machine washable.
This travel pillow comes in four characters: owl, monkey, ladybug, and dog. And if you are looking for matching travel gear, Skip Hop Zoo also makes rolling luggage to match their travel pillow.
- Comes in ladybug, monkey, owl and dog character.
- Matches Skip Hop Zoo’s rolling luggage (sold separately).
- Comfortable velour cover.
- Classic u-shape travel pillow design.
- Might be too bulky for some toddlers.
8. SSAWcasa Seat Belt Pillow for Kids
If you are looking for a travel pillow that doesn’t go around your child’s neck, check out this modern marvel. The seat belt pillow by SSAWcasa is a great alternative to traditional neck travel pillows. It’s easy to put on a seat belt and provides a soft, cushiony space for kids to nod off on. It fits every seat belt and can be easily removed and washed.
This seat belt pillow is stuffed with cotton and has a micro suede exterior. We also love that this is the most affordable option on our list.
- Super affordable.
- Soft microsuede exterior
- Easy to attach to a seat belt.
- A great alternative to neck travel pillows.
- Stuffing flattens over time.
9. DPIST Hooded Unicorn Neck Pillow
Your tween, or even teen, will love this adorable unicorn travel pillow. It’s available in blue and pink and allows them to keep their heads and necks cozy on the next family trip.
The hood on this neck pillow also acts as an eye mask to aid in some much-needed rest on a flight or in a car. The exterior is made of soft microfiber polyester and it is stuffed with a cotton filling.
- The comfy hood acts as an eye mask while keeping head warm.
- Soft microfiber exterior.
- Fun unicorn character.
- It comes in blue and pink.
- Not available in other characters.
10. Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow
For kids 8 years and older, this is another great alternative to a neck pillow. It will provide support for the whole upper body, so kids can snuggle up and take a snooze on the road or in a plane.
This pillow can be inflated and deflated quickly, which means it also packs away compactly when not in use. It has an adjustable strap that allows kids to wear it as they would a messenger bag. Covers for this travel pillow including a soft velour and a memory foam cover, are sold separately.
- Inflates quickly.
- It can be rolled up and stored away when not in use.
- Adjustable strap.
- Great for both cars and airplanes.
- Optional covers for this pillow are available for purchase.
- Not convenient to switch from one side to the other if wanting to change positions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can my child use a travel pillow in a car seat?
A: We strongly suggest that you do not allow your child to use a travel pillow while riding in a car seat. A car seat should provide the cushioning kids need to take a nap. Any added pillow or cushioning would be a safety risk.
Check the car seat manufacturer’s instruction manual for more precautions.
Q: Can travel pillows be washed?
A: Most travel pillows can be washed, and in terms of the ones on our list, we made sure to choose ones that were either machine washable or easy to spot clean. As with all products, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
It’s hard to go wrong with any of the travel pillows on this list. What it does come down to when choosing one of these great travel pillows for kids are age and preference. For toddlers and preschoolers, we love the Trunki Yondi. Not only is it comfortable, but kids will love the animal characters it comes in.
For older kids, the trtl Travel Pillow Junior is the way to go. It packs away easily and isn’t bulky like some travel pillows. But if you need something simple for car rides that don’t go around your child’s neck, definitely check out the SSAWcasa Seat Belt Pillow.