Is 3" latex topper enough for a child to use as mattress?

Hello Mattress Gurus!

I have been reading your mattress forum for a while now and figure it was about time I posted.

My goal is to get the most nontoxic most affordable sleeping surfaces for my family.My question today is, would a 3" firm latex topper be enough of a “mattress” for a child who weighs around 40 lbs? And if so, how long would this be suitable? At which point would I need to add more latex inches? I plan to use this on top of a bunk bed. Would it be okay over a slatted base or should I put a piece of particleboard between slats and topper? Does it matter if it’s Talalay or Dunlop? I was thinking of ordering from and their Dunlop seemed like the most Natural choice (I was told they use water-based chemicals in the Talalay and I’m not entirely sure what that means).

Unfortunately, I only discovered how toxic mattresses could be through internet research AFTER I bought my eldest a firm memory foam mattress from a couple of years ago. Is it safe to say that it has completely off-gassed and is no longer toxic? Or should I try and replace it as soon as I financially can?

I am also open to other nontoxic affordable mattress suggestions if you feel there is something more suitable.

Thank you for your help!

Hi cristalyte,

You’ve may have seen this but just in case post #2 here includes links to some of the better forum threads about children and mattresses in the forum.

My guess is that a three inch topper would probably be OK if there were no better alternatives … at least for a while … but it’s outside of my experience so I don’t know how long they would be comfortable on it. I would just use your best judgement about when it appears they are no longer sleeping well on it and may need some extra layers on top.

That would depend on how far apart the slats were. A latex “mattress” needs to be evenly supported by a firm non flexing and evenly supportive surface and the slats should be no further than 3" apart (and preferably less, especially with such a thin mattress).

A piece of MDF or plywood (I don’t think I would use particle board) would work for support but it would also lack ventilation so it would be a little more risky than a support surface that had better ventilation. You can read a little more about this in post #10 here. If there were no other risk factors that would increase the risk of mold or mildew or other ventilation or mousture issues then it would probably be OK as well.

Generally no but in an apples to apples choice of the same ILD I’d probably lean towards Dunlop in a layer that thin because it gets firmer faster with compression and there may be less risk of going through the topper and feeling the support surface underneath it.

The initial offgassing would be over but foam also breaks down and becomes part of the household dust as it ages. While most people would say it’s fine and wouldn’t be concerned, there is really no way to answer this with any certainty because each person may have a different answer to “how safe is safe enough for me”. Post #2 here has more information and links to some good resources about a very controversial subject that has no clear answers but lots of strongly held opinions on both sides of the argument.


Phoenix, thank you for all of your help.

A few more questions - do you know anything about I can get more latex for my buck from them and their site says Eco Institut tested. What ILD would you suggest? Sleepwarehouse toppers come in Medium-Soft 16-18 ILD 4.75 lb density, Medium-Firm 28-30 ILD 5.2 lb density and Firm 33-36 ILD 5.9 lb density toppers.

Thank you!

Hi cristalyte,

Eco-Institut is a testing organization that tests products including testing latex for offgassing and harmful chemicals and purity. It’s one of the more common latex testing protocols along with OekoTex and a few others.

Sleep Warhouse is included on the list of better topper or component sources in post #4 here. I’m not so sure I would trust their latex ILD numbers though because their ILD’s don’t match the density of their Dunlop layers .,… especially the soft which is likely much firmer if it is really 4.7 lb density.

I’d probably choose a medium firmness (Dunlop doesn’t come in exact ILD’s) which would typically be in the low 30’s or so.