Kid-Friendly Neck Pillows For Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

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by Keri Pina
Originally Published: 
kid neck pillows
Getty Images/LightFieldStudios

The best kid neck pillows will help your little ones zonk out even if they’re miles away from their own bed, which is a must for parents who need to get all the things done. (Is it just me, or do to-do lists get longer with age?) Whether you’re on a cross-country road trip or running errands around town, letting your kids nap in the back seat or stroller while you go about your life is one of the secrets to effective adulting (and maintaining sanity).

Air travel is a whole different beast. It’s true that keeping kids entertained on a flight with their favorite travel-friendly toys will keep those meltdowns at bay, but sooner or later, that kid is going to need a nap. But sleep is short-lived if your tot doesn’t have the right neck support. Otherwise, they’ll have to sleep on you, and you’ll be trapped, and likely have to wake them up so you can pee. We’ve all been there.

These days, there’s way more gear to make sure your kid can sleep on the go, like travel beds and nap mats. (Check out these body pillows for the best naps ever.) But we promise these kid and toddler neck pillows will take your kids’ nap game to the next level, which is really a win for you.

Best Kids’ Neck Pillows

Do you hate to see your LO napping in a seat with their head flopped forward? It looks so painful! This wrap-around neck pillow provides chin support so you don’t have to worry about your kids reaching their destination with stiff necks. It’s available in 8 color options, and if the smaller size looks a bit too restricting, it also comes in a medium to accommodate most children ages 8-12.

One Reviewer Said: “Took a week-long vacation with our three-year-old. Ten-hour drive at night. Her neck was really hurting from the trip so we had it shipped to us for the ride back. It worked very well and kept her head upright. Not sure how it’ll do for larger kids but it worked great for ours. She slept the entire trip back. A definite must for road trips”

This U-shaped neck pillow is made from 100% cotton pique fabric and has thick, wide front arms to prevent the dreaded chin flop. The playful ladybug pals are super fun, but this pillow also comes in giraffe and monkey options too. The snap feature allows you to attach the pillow to your luggage or backpack so it won’t get left behind. And don’t worry if it gets a little drooly — it’s machine washable.

One Reviewer Said: “My daughter doesn't snore except when she's passed out in her car seat with her head hanging down. I hate it; it freaks me out. I'm always worried she won't be able to breathe. I [tried] the headband support but it was awkward and she didn't like it. She loves her ladybug pillow and it works perfectly to keep her head up so she can breathe easily while sleeping comfortably.”

What’s better than a unicorn-shaped pillow? A unicorn-shaped pillow that also comes with a matching sleeping mask. Your child will have no trouble catching a nap while on the road with this set from OBLoved. It offers 360-degree support and has a snap closure so that you don’t have to worry about it sliding during a sharp turn. If you have multiple unicorn lovers in your family, you’ll be happy to know that it comes in three colors, so everyone can have their own.

One Reviewer Said: “My daughter loved it! It is so comfortable and soft, just as pictured. It is going to be perfect for when we travel in a few days! It is adult sized maybe will fit ages 10+ maybe, my daughter is 5 and its a little big on her, but she doesn’t mind it still does the job.”

Always ready for adventure, this fancy little frog pillow (also available in pig, bumblebee, ladybug, and owl) has a snap feature at the neck which allows her to easily attach to your bag or hang up on the back of your cat seat. The micro-bead filling offers gentle neck support without pushing your child’s head forward. And because sh*t happens, the cover is removable and washable.

One Reviewer Said: “What a great neck pillow! It's just the right amount of support and very comfortable for my 3-year-old granddaughter! I got a different brand for the other g-kids which I definitely was not as happy with. This one the cover zips off for easy washing. It's just perfect! The ladybug one is adorable!”

With thick front arms to provide chin support, this 100% washable pillow provides 360 degrees of support for those long flights and bumpy car rides. It has over two thousand 5- star reviews on Amazon with customers calling it the “best travel pillow for car seats.” It comes in seven colors, including two kid-friendly designs.

One Reviewer Said: “This made a big difference keep my small child comfortable while sleep during a very long road trip. It held her head well and want too tight. Has two snaps to adjust for size. She's three.”

With an out-of-this-world print, this cosmic neck pillow has an adjustable velcro strap for 360 degrees of neck support. The removable polyester spandex cover is machine washable and the memory foam interior is super soft. It’s recommended for kids between the ages of four and 10.

One Reviewer Said: “I purchased this before a four-hour beach trip for my daughter and she used it every time she napped. She says it's very comfortable and soft and way better than napping normally in the car. She takes it everywhere, it is always in my car for her. Great traveling pillow for any child.”

This nylon and polyurethane blend pillow has Comforlite polystyrene microbead filling which is just a fancy way of saying it’s both soft and supportive. It’s also available in other fun prints like sports, paper airplanes, unicorns, and solid blue. The front snap means no droopy-headed naps and it can easily attach to your child’s travel bag.

One Reviewer Said: “This pillow is great. Purchased for 6 yr old who is in [a] booster seat. Nice material and easy to clean. Molds to neck, not too firm to hurt neck.”

Best Toddler Neck Pillows

Designed for little necks (ages 18 months to three years), this narrow pillow has snap closure to safely support your child’s neck and chin whether they’re in their car seat, stroller, or airplane seat. This cuddly monkey makes a great road trip buddy, but you can also pick a pig, lion, koala, or bunny if you’re feeling something else. And all Umerci pillows come with a matching eye mask to ensure a good nap.

One Reviewer Said: “Such a comfy travel pillow! I wasn’t expecting it to be so soft and comfortable. It was for my 5 yr old but I kind of want one for myself now.”

From car seat to stroller, this neck pillow is ergonomically designed for ages 3 and up and has a breathable cotton filling. The elastic fleece surface is not only super soft but super easy to clean, too. While the chicken is, without a doubt, the funniest pillow you can get, it also comes in a bunch of other animals, from racoon to zebra.

One Reviewer Said: “My kids are 3 and 5 and they LOVE these little travel pillows. They are cute, soft, and work nicely to prevent the bobblehead when the kiddos fall asleep during our long drives. Highly recommend”

Available in chick, frog, or strawberry, this cozy neck pillow is a must-have for families on the go. It’s made of plush PP cotton and has double seams, making it super durable for travel. Cozy and cute, what more could you ask for?

One Reviewer Said: “Bought this for my 2.5-year-old for a plane trip. She loved to hold it on her lap and we set my kindle on it for her to play games on the flight. She didn't really want it around her neck but when she fell asleep, I put it on her and it worked like a charm to keep her head up.”

The soft and flexible micro-bead filling in this pillow is supportive and plush. The front clip gives the U-shaped pillow 360 degrees of support and even comes with a back loop to hang the pillow up when its not in use. The ergonomic bilateral design with wide, thick arms means a cozy nap in any car seat or stroller. It works best for kids between the ages of three and six.

One Reviewer Said: “I bought two, one for each of my kids, and my only regret is that I didn't buy them sooner. The part that goes behind their neck is thin and narrow, so their heads aren't pushed forward at an uncomfortable angle. The front portion is pretty thick so it holds their heads up during naps really well. We've been using these for a few months now and I'm really pleased with this purchase.”

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