The best kids travel pillow: how to choose + best buys

our guide to buying a travel pillow for toddler or child

Our guide to choosing the best kids travel pillow for all ages. Tips and advice on how to choose a kid and toddler neck pillow, leg rest travel pillows for children and all you need to know to pick the best travel cushion for your child (toddler and up)Updated Feb. 2021.

It is the time in the season that I start looking at products to make our upcoming long haul flight easier on the kids.

Over the course of the years, I have learned that gear makes a huge difference when it comes to comfort on planes and a life and sanity saver when tackling long car rides with kids.

Since our first totally unprepared long haul trip, I have added to our gear collection a few things that have proved invaluable.

We started off with proper luggage for the children, then we added headphones and now is the turn for the ultimate travel-in-comfort companion: a travel pillow.

My 2 have asked several times for a travel cushion but I always resisted buying the cheap ones in airports.

While decent for adults, I felt they were not comfortable enough for kids and decided instead I would do some research to find the best travel pillow for children to meet both comfort and look.

This is the result of my search for the best travel pillow for kids.

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What are the best kids travel pillows?

The best travel pillow for kids combines safe materials, comfortable shape suited to the children’s anatomy and child-friendly look.

No time to read the post? Click here for our top pick or have a look at our at our comparison table with the best travel pillows for kids by age, shape and material.

 

Travel Pillow Name (click for product specs and price) Material / Fill Type of pillow  Age suitability
 Yondi travel pillow by Trunki Spandex, Velour, Nylex/ Micro-bead filling Neck pillow 2 -5 years
 Skip Hop toddler travel pillow  Velour / Polyester Neck pillow 2 – 4 years
 Nido Kids Travel Pillow Polyester and cotton / Micro beads Neck pillow Up to 3 years
 Critter Piller pillow and friend Polyester and feather-soft microfibers Neck pillow 3 years and up
Rest cloud kids travel pillow Cotton / Grass Coral viscose (anti allergenic) Neck pillow 3 to 12 years
BCozzy chin supporting travel pillow for kids Micro Fleece / Polyester Neck pillow 3 to 12 years
1st class kid footrest cushion Inflatable Foot rest Up to 5 years depending on height of the child

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links and if you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission a no extra cost to you.

The information on this website is intended as a general overview of family travel matters derived from my experience traveling with my own children.

I am not an expert on the subject and safety of kids’ pillows and while I try my best to include correct information, I do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. 

How to choose a travel pillow for kids

When looking at buying a travel pillow, there are several things to take into account, namely shape, material and type of support.

Travel pillow for kids shapes

Kids travel pillows come in several shapes and sizes and choosing one or the other depends largely on the age of your child and the type of journey you have ahead, may it be by car, train or plane.

In general, you can think of travel pillows as belonging to one of the following categories:

Kids neck pillows/ neck rings

This is the traditional shape of a travel pillow for adults except in a much smaller size.

The neck rings wrap around your child’s neck and support their head when they fall asleep, therefore preventing discomfort and potential strains on the neck.

Neck pillows can be used on all types of transport, provided they are the correct size to fit your child’s body.

When choosing, pay extra attention to the seams and the material.

Cheaper pillows have hard seams that can scratch your child’s delicate skin and some materials are not breathable, which makes their use uncomfortable.

  • Kids’ neck pillows pros: great selection of shapes and sizes to suit any child, easy to carry.
  • Kids’ neck pillows cons: if the wrong size they can push the head of your child forward. Make sure you buy for the correct age/height of your child.

Leg rest travel pillow for kids

Footrest or leg rest pillows are becoming more and more popular and approach the problem of keeping your child comfortable on the move in a revolutionary way.

Instead of supporting the neck, they make your child seat longer to prevent their legs from dandling, effectively reducing the discomfort of long journeys.

Leg rest travel pillows for children can be used in cars and, airline permitting, on plane journeys.

In the car, they operate as a leg rest while one the plane, once seat belts are off, allow your small child to sleep horizontally without having to occupy an extra seat.

Please note: not all airlines accept leg rest pillows on board. Therefore, if you are planning to use them on a plane, check with your carrier first to avoid disappointment! Also, check that the specific seats you have are suitable for a leg rest pillow: window seats on non-exit rows are usually the safest but ask customer service before purchasing your seat to be sure.

  • Leg rest travel pillows for kids pros: inflatable, they occupy little space and can be used in cars as well as planes
  • Leg rest travel pillow for children: not all airline accept them and they do require some work inflating them

Kids travel pillow materials

The most popular materials for children’s travel pillows are micro-beads for younger kids and memory foam for older ones.

However, adult and kids travel pillows come in several materials both inside and outside and the most comfortable for your child depends on their age and size.

When picking a travel pillow:

  • Check that the material is machine washable, especially if you are going for a kids’ travel neck pillow, which sits just on their face/beside their mouth
  • Make sure that the external material is soft and there are no hard seams
  • Ensure that the material touching your child is hypoallergenic and suitable for children’s skin
  • Check that the filling of the pillow doesn’t make it too heavy for your small child (this may be the case with adults pillows passed down to the next generation)
  • Ensure that microbead pillows have an internal lining to prevent spillages in case of tears

Travel pillow for kids size

Last but not least, take into account the size of your child vs the travel pillow you are considering.

If buying for a toddler, make sure you select a specific toddler travel pillow rather than a generic kids one.

Don’t get tempted to get a bigger one thinking it will last them longer.

The wrong type of neck pillow can push the child neck forward causing strain, especially if used while the child is in a car seat. 

Choosing the correct car seat pillow for toddlers for proper back posture is crucial.

Best toddler travel pillows airplane /car

The best travel pillow for toddlers is safe, cute and easy to carry.

Some of our favorite small kids’ travel pillows suitable both as car pillows for toddlers and plane seats pillows are:

Trunki Yondi

I am a huge fan of Trunki products. My kids adore their ride on bags and fell suitably in love with their toddler travel pillow too, the Yondi.

This travel pillow for small kids is compact, easy to carry and perfect for long flights and it is also a great car seat pillow for toddlers since it is deemed car seat compatible.

Trunki Yondi neck travel pillow for kids is:

  • Made of microbead filling giving soft yet supportive fit
  • Equipped with a second internal lining to prevent spillages in case of tear
  • Suitable for ages 2 – 5 years (also has a bigger size, age 5+)
  • Car seat compatible
  • Comes in several colors
  • Has magnetic clips to safely wrap around your child’s neck
  • Made of soft fabric
  • Dimension: 22 x 20 x 5 cm
  • Max neck size: 30cm

Skip Hop toddler travel pillow

Another brand I trust for all things toddlers, Skip Hop, has good quality toddler travel pillows with their signature super cute characters.

This is a good car seat neck pillow and can be used on road trips and plane rides.

The skip hop toddler travel pillow, aka Skip Hop Zoo Travel Neckrest

  • Is suitable for both car and plane journeys
  • Features a signature characters from the Zoo collection
  • Made of soft, plush velour
  • Recommended for ages 2-4
  • Polyester fill
  • Non-toxic materials according to current regulatory standards
  • Kids travel pillow dimension: 10.5l x 3w x 10.5h (inches)

Nido nest kids travel pillow for preschoolers

Another travel pillow marrying comfort and a cute character.

The Nido Nest travel pillow for toddlers comes in several animal variety and suitable for both car and plane journeys. This is another one of our favorite car seat neck pillows for small children.

The Nido nest toddler neck pillow:

  • Is lightweight
  • Is made of breathable material to prevent overheating
  • Has micro beads filling not to push your toddler’s delicate neck forward
  • Comes in a lovely variety of colors
  • Has removable and washable exterior
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches

Best travel pillows for kids aged 3+

Older children have a wider range of options when it comes to kids travel pillows materials.

They can choose between microbeads and memory foam travel pillows, more child or adult-like designs and can still go for the leg rest option, provided their height allows.

Critter Piller kids travel pillow and friend

Being an ‘older’ kids doesn’t mean giving up on cute and cuddly gear. Critter Piller caters for kids 3 and up with their super cute range of animal travel pillows.
Critter Piller travel pillow for kids specs:

  • Material: polyester and feather-soft microfibers
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Machine washable
  • Soft, cute, and cuddly
  • Suitable for age 3 and up 
  • Filled and finished in the USA. The zipper tab is removed for safety 

Rest Cloud kids travel pillow

 This kids’ travel pillow has an ergonomic design that holds the child’s head upright back or side of the pillow.

This is a good pillow for airplane journeys and also works well as a kids’ car pillow.

The RestClouds kids travel pillow:

  • Ergonomic design holds child’s head upright
  • Naturally antimicrobial and resistant to allergens material
  • Comes with a stuff sack 
  • Can be used both on cars and planes
  • Cover Material: 69.7%cotton,30.3% Grass Coral viscose fiber
  • Product size: 9.0″ x 8.7″ x 2.8″
  • Suitable for age 3-12

Bcozzy chin support travel pillow for kids

The bcozzy pillow has an innovative design that makes it suitable for both adults and kids (2 sizes available).

Unlike other pillows that effectively only have one fixed shape, the Bcozzy can be wrapped around the neck as loosely or as tightly as comfortable, adjusting to the individual wearing it.

The children Bcozzy travel neck pillow:

  • Supports the neck from all angles
  • Is fully machine washable
  • Is made of polyester fiber inner, micro-fleece outer
  • Gets easily attached to luggage thanks to built-in strap
  • Is light and flexible
  • Comes in a variety of colors

Best kids travel pillows for cars: seatbelt cushions and leg rest pillows

If traveling by car, you can choose one of the travel cushions above or go for a different concept, a seat belt cushion or leg rest.

Seat belt pillows help your child sleep supporting their neck and use the car seat-belt to be kept in position.

When choosing, the same type of concerns a plane travel pillows apply, especially when it comes to materials.

Our top picks for car seat pillows for children are:

Car Seatbelt Cushion Pillow

Seat belt pillows or seatbelt cushions for kids come in several shapes, some appealing to younger kids (a rocket, dinosaur).

When choosing a seatbelt cushion for children, make sure you check that they have:

  • Safe-for-baby materials
  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable and fully machine washable
  • Fits seatbelt of car or baby pram

First Class Kids leg rest pillow

First Class kid travel pillow does what its name suggests: turns your child economy seat in a first-class style one (aka: one where they can sleep flat).

Or at least, sort of! This is a leg rest pillow and works as a leg support: it wedges between your child seat and the seat in front of them and prevents their legs from dangling.

On planes, when permitted, it also allows your small child to lie flat and therefore sleep better.

The First class kid travel pillow:

  • Inflatable leg pillow with one-way valve for easy set-up
  • Can be used in the car, bus and some airlines (to be set up at cruising level only and only on permitting aircraft)
  • Can be rolled or folded for ease of transport
  • Non-stick, non-sweaty material (PVC base and Flocking)
  • Damp cloth cleaning

I hope you found this round-up of the best travel pillows for kids useful and this guide helped you pick the best one for your children

Safe travels!

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