A child, like any adult is also susceptible to neck aches. While adults would know to ask when help is needed, a child may be oblivious and may easily confuse neck aches for growing pains.
Neck aches will cause serious damage to your child’s growth if prolonged as it presents a sign that the bones and muscles are not developing as they should.
There are many contributing factors to neck aches. A common factor is because a child uses a wrong pillow.
Pillows provide us with support and comfort. However, it is recommended that you do not allow toddlers and children below the age of 2 to use any form of pillows. While fairly uncommon, it is possible for children at that young age to suffocate especially if they sleep facing down.
You can allow the use of pillows once your child hits the age of 2 if he / she requests for one, possibly because your child wishes to follow your sleeping habits. The recommended age for a child to use a pillow is 3.
Your child’s first pillow should be a firm one. To check if a pillow is firm, simply press the pillow down with your hand. If the pillow does not rise as soon as you lift your hand, then it is not firm enough for your child. A firm pillow will encourage proper muscle and spinal development as your child will be able to maintain the right posture when sleeping.
There is no minimum age requirement for pillows. Thus, it is perfectly fine for your child to use any pillow that you have at home so long as the pillow supports the neck and allows proper alignment of the spine.
The type and filing of your child’s pillow is mainly a question of preference. Choose a pillow that your child can sleep well in based on his / her sleeping style. A good starter pillow would be the memory foam range as they are generally able conform to most sleeping styles. Water based pillows are equally good and comfortable as such pillows retain their coolness throughout the night when used.
If your child is a side sleeper, we would recommend a firm body or knee pillow to be used along with his head pillow. A body or knee pillow will prevent the knees from coming together and causing a strain on your child’s spine. This will also avoid any strain on your child’s neck since the spine is connected to the neck.
Also take note that if your child is allergic to certain filings such as feather, be sure to avoid such pillows. A safe choice would be hypoallergenic pillows.
Using the wrong type of pillow will not only cause neck aches but it will also hamper your child’s ability to have a good night’s sleep. A child with inadequate sleep may fall into depression and more often than not perform badly in school. Your child may also suffer from stunted growth, though this may not be obvious until his teenage years. These problems are fairly common nowadays. If you notice any of the foregoing symptoms, we advise you to change your child’s pillow immediately before the effects worsen or become permanent.
A good pillow well suited for your child may also encourage good sleeping habits such as sleeping at the set bedtime every night without you shouting or yelling at them.