Car Beds for Kids – Everything You Need to Know

Good quality inflatables can make excellent car beds for kids.

Please make sure that you visit our guide to inflatable backseat car beds on the main page.

Safety comes first when choosing car beds for kids

Even though some adults with years of road tripping and camping experience can deal with the relative discomfort of sleeping straight on a car seat, most children cannot do so without a fuss. Car beds for kids are almost a must when it comes to medium to long term travel with a family.

Before I go over what is so great about investing in a backseat mattress, I want to start with a very strong and important safety warning.

Never, ever, without any exceptions, tried to set up a car bed for use while the vehicle is moving. Kids, as well as adults, should always be buckled up and sitting in a proper upright position whenever a vehicle is in motion. I’m serious, no matter how many times you think you’ve gotten away with it in the past, the risks are just too high and you never know when the time will come that you regret it.

It’s kind of like rolling the dice in a craps game at the casino. Just because you haven’t rolled snake size were crapped out yet, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. It just means that it hasn’t happened yet, and if anything it means that you might be pushing your luck.

I’m really sorry to have to talk about this. Thinking about your children being injured in a particular accident is a horrible thing, and I’m sure it’s not what you came to this site to think about. I just want to emphasize how high the stakes are when it comes to this, it’s never something that I would want any of you out there to mess around with.

For more resources on keeping your kids safe in the car, please visit

That being said let’s get into how to evaluate good car beds for kids.


Backseat inflatables are almost made for children. While some taller adults may complain that the clearance is not enough for them to fully stretch out from head to toe, this is never an issue for adolescence and younger kids.

The maximum height you’re going to get out of a car mattress that stretches out horizontally across the backseat is a little under 5 feet. For a child, this makes for the perfect comfy nests, as it is not too large to move around and leave an insecure feeling.

Most kids want to feel like they’re tucked into a small and cozy space, which most car beds for kids will create naturally when they are inflated.

Frequent Stops

Allowing for plenty of travel time, and making frequent stops is the number one key to success for traveling with kids.

All of us parents have perhaps learned the hard way that frequent bathroom and food stops are non-negotiable on a long road trip. But how many of us are allowing for adequate nap time?

Sleep is absolutely critical to the health and well-being of a developing child’s brain. Even a 12-hour long haul in the car may be too much time for a young child to go without sleep. Many doctors recommend frequent nap times, and just because you and your family are traveling does not mean that this rule goes out the window.

Car beds for kids really shine when it comes to taking a 30 minute to 1-hour long break to split up your long haul trip. Did you know that as little as 20 minutes of sleep can be enough to keep the brain going for another 8 hours? It all has to do with REM cycles, and this is about the length of time which it takes the body to complete one full cycle.

Choose an inflatable backseat bed with a stronger (and faster) pump, as they are the most versatile for this purpose. If you are just pitching your bed at a campsite at the end of the night, it’s no big deal to wait for 20 minutes or so for the bed to reach maximum capacity. However, if you’re traveling with kids and using the frequent ‘stop and nap’ strategy, you’ll want a quick 1-2 minute pump so that you can get them rested and back on the road ASAP.

I know that this idea might seem like heresy, especially for those who ‘like to make good time’, like myself. You’ll soon find that taking this slower, more deliberate pace of travel is more rewarding. It truly allows you to be more present and fully breathe in the relaxing nature of your vacation.

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