Is Carpet A Good Idea When You Have Kids? Here’s How To Select The Right Carpet For Any Type Of Child

If you have children or are planning to, then kid-friendly flooring is a must. 

Think about it. 

Children—especially young children—spend a lot of time on the floor. So, the question isn’t whether or not carpeting is a good idea; it’s which type of carpet is best for kids?

You may need to consider things like – 

  • Kids cause stains (like fruit punch on your  neutral carpet
  • Kids may be more sensitive to the carpet material and how it feels
  • Some carpet may be more prone to dust mites 
  • Low VOC carpet & low toxicity may be important to you
  • Will it be a low traffic area vs high traffic play room?

Obviously selecting a carpet that offers maximum stain resistance is a must, but what about some of the other kid scenarios? In this article, we’re covering all the pros and cons you could think of when selecting carpet for your kids bedroom. Keep reading to learn more!  

The Pros and Cons of Carpeting For Kids

Like anything else, finding that perfect carpet has it’s own set of challenges, and each set of pros and cons will vary based on your needs. Do you have a child that is highly active, or perhaps has allergies. Or do you care more about aesthetics of the room and are looking for easy maintenance with superior stain resistance? What about budget friendly carpets? 

With so many options, the best way to to select the right carpet is to weigh the pros and cons and see which makes the most sense for you and your family.

The Pros:

  • Carpet provides thermal resistance. That means they’ll retain heat during colder months, which make it a good choice when you need to keep your small children warm while playing
  • Carpet naturally provides a cushiony place to sit—or crawl. That makes it a more comfortable flooring option for children of all ages
  • Carpet offers a certain level of safety against slips and falls, thanks to their fibers that create a natural and soft cushion  
  • There are thousands of styles and colors you can choose from to fit the aesthetic you’re going for
  • They create a natural sound barrier for more quiet playtime
  • Carpet naturally becomes a protective play mat. Which makes it a best choice option for concerned parents and high energy children

The Cons: 

  • Unlike hardwood flooring, carpeting typically does not increase the value of your home
  • Most carpets are manufactured synthetically, which gives them a shorter lifespan than other types of flooring
  • Carpets easily trap allergens, dust, and pet dander, making them a poor choice if you have asthmatic children or family members with respiratory problems
  • Due to their fibers, most carpets become stained easily
  • Carpeting requires more maintenance than other types of flooring, such as consistent vacuuming and the occasional deep clean
  • Carpet may be come less durable over time and new carpet may quickly look like old carpet 

Will My Kids Destroy My Carpet? Carpet Construction Basics

Younger children may be like little wrecking balls. They’ll unwittingly destroy everything in sight if you don’t keep an eye on them, and your carpeting is no exception. With little kids in the house, your carpeting is vulnerable to dirt, stains, food crumbs, pulled fibers, beautifully spilled fruit punch stains, and God knows what else.

That’s why it’s best to understand carpet construction basics:   

Carpet Pile

“Pile” refers to the fabric loops of a carpet. In other words, it’s the makeup of a carpet’s soft surface. If a carpet has a high pile, it means that the fabric loops are taller and looser. Carpet with low piling means the fabric loops are shorter and more tightly woven.

There are quite a few carpet pile height options, but the two main types are the cut pile and loop pile. The main difference between the two is that loop carpet piling refers to the carpet fibers forming a loop pattern while cut pile refers to the evenly cut fiber ends. 

The carpet piling also gives way to the various carpet styles and textures. There are a variety of pile styles, including:

  • Plush or velvet
  • Berber
  • Saxony
  • Friézes
  • Shag
  • Level-loop
  • Multi-loop
  • Cut and loop

Each style has a different look and feel to it, as well as a different purpose (i.e., decorative, footprint minimizing, durability, dirt hiding, etc.) More importantly, how carpets are constructed is what you need to pay attention to. 

Should I select a high pile carpet or a low pile carpet for my kids bedrooms?

Carpet pile is a way to guage how the fabric loops are constructed. A taller and looser carpet will be considered high pile, while shorter fibers with tighter loops are considered low pile.

Why high pile carpet may be right for you?
  • You prefer the a more luxurious feel that feels fluffy to touch
  • You are more interested in comfort and warmth for your childs bedroom 
  • You prefer a carpet that maintain it’s structural integrity as low pile carpet may appear flat over time
Why low pile carpet may be right for your child?
  • This style of carpet is better suited for kids with allergies. 
  • Low pile carpet is easier clean and easier to remove stains 
  • Your child may find it easier to move their toys across low pile carpet as it is a flatter denser surface

Verdict – A low pile carpet may be best suited for a kids bedroom as it can stand up better to high traffic areas or where you need maximum stain resistance. You may be tempted to select a plush style carpet like those high pile options, but you may end up regretting the added maintenance over the long term. 

Carpets are constructed in two ways: woven or tufted.

Woven carpets are made on a loom, and the fibers are intertwined in a way that keeps the fibers locked in, making for a very robust and durable carpet. Woven carpets have been around for over 200 years, and they’re known to last for up to 30 years—making them the more costly option.

Tufted carpets, on the other hand, consist of rows of machine-punched yards that are held together by adhesive backings. While tufted carpets are hardwearing, they only last for up to seven years. However, they’re still an incredibly popular choice

What Carpet Fiber For A Kids Room

Carpets are also made from a variety of natural and synthetic fibers. Each of the different types of carpet has specific characteristics, which mainly come down to the following factors:

  • Eco-friendliness
  • Stain resistance
  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Practicality

Natural fibers are made from sustainable sources, such as wool and cotton, creating a much more eco-friendly carpet. Of course, that also makes them the more costly choice. Synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, olefin, and triexta, are made from various chemicals that have the potential to release VOCs (volatile organic compounds—we’ll get into that later!)

Synthetic fiber carpets are much more stain-resistant as well as easier to clean. This makes them a little more practical than natural fiber carpets, especially when you have juice- and marker-wielding children in the house.

How To Decide On The Right Type Of Carpet For Your Child’s Room

Deciding on the right type of carpet for your children’s bedroom or playroom, comes down to a few key factors:

  • Their needs: Are they active? Are they allergy sufferers? Are they accident-prone? Do they have any sensory issues?
  • The color: the color should complement the aesthetic of the room, i.e., the wall paint, bedding, bed frames, furniture, etc. Go for a middle tone color like neutral brown, beige, tan, or a darker cream color. Middle tone colors keep the room bright, give it a larger appearance, and still hide dirt and stains quite well, whether you’re outfitting a family room or living room.   
  • The texture: Choose a cushiony texture that tracks well and doesn’t leave footprints or tread, such as Berber. Avoid anything velvety, plush, or shag, as they ruin easily and don’t provide the level of soft safety a child needs.
  • The room: A playroom will likely get more child-traction than kids’ rooms, so you should choose the texture, style of carpet, color, and other features accordingly. For example, a nylon carpet is better for a playroom because it’s durable, maintains its color, and the fibers are more likely to stay in place. Similarly, high-traffic areas like family rooms will require a more durable carpet, as well. 
  • Your Budget: Your budget will set the tone for the type of carpet you’re looking for since the prices vary greatly depending on the fiber.  A synthetic fiber will be more budget friendly, while a natural fiber like wool will cost you more.

Things To Consider With Carpet Installation

Your carpet underlay is just as important as the type of carpet you choose. The two best types of carpet underlay are foam and rubber. Both vary in density and height, and both contribute to noise reduction, cushioning and shock absorption, the look and feel of your carpet, heat retention, and cleanliness.  

Of course, the main factors to consider with your carpet pad are comfort and durability. Foam is much easier to handle and gives your carpet a nice, plush feel. Rubber is a bit more challenging to handle, and while it’s shock-absorbing, it’s not as plush. The choice here comes down to personal preference for your child and budget. 

Carpet Maintenance 

Another thing to consider when choosing the right carpet for a kids bedroom is the maintenance requirements. Carpets come with various warranties, so the first thing you should consider is which warranty is relevant to you and whether it’s offered with the carpet you choose.

Additionally, you want to keep in mind how well the carpet’s fibers deal with stains, allergens, and dirt. For example, the natural fibers in wool carpets are tough—but once a stain sets in, it’s there for life. Ideally, the type of carpet fiber you want for your children is durable, stain and allergen resistant, and easy to clean. To that end, synthetic materials like nylon or polyester fiber may be a better fit.  

Verdict – synthetic fibers require the least maintenance and may be most suitable of a kids room. However, keep in mind, they are not the most toxic friendly like natural fibers such as wool or hemp carpet.

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Environmental Considerations & Safety For Your Children

As we mentioned before, one thing to be aware of with synthetic fiber carpets is VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and chemicals. Carpets can emit VOCs such as formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene glycol, and carbolic acid for up to five years, which can pose various health risks.

Before purchasing any carpet, you’ll want to check for a Green Label Plus Certification or a Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label certification. Both industries aim to improve and set a standard for indoor air quality (IAQ). Both of these certifications indicate that you’re purchasing the lowest VOC emitting carpet on the market.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends vacuuming your new carpet with a HEPA filter vacuum. They also recommend cleaning with a hot water extraction method to remove as many VOCs as possible.

The Best Kid-Friendly Carpeting 

The best carpeting for your kids is the one that will fit their individual needs and the needs (plus style aesthetics) of your family. There are tons of different carpeting options on the market to choose from. All you need to do is narrow down your options for the best carpet for kids based on this in-depth guide. Then, you can relax knowing your children are safe and comfortable playing in every carpeted room in  your home.

Helpful Chart

SituationCarpet PileCarpet FiberNote
For Comforthigh pileSynthetic , Natural Suggest foam padding
For Maintenance low pile Synthetic Low pile is easier to clean
Reduced Toxicity high pile, low pile Natural Also look for low VOCs
For Aestheticshigh pile, low pile Natural Look for woven
For High Trafficlow pile Synthetic Look for durability and strength
For Sensory Issueslow pile Synthetic , Natural Grab a sample first
For Messy Kidslow pile Synthetic Low pile is easier to clean
For Hypoallergenic high pile, low pile Natural Synthetic reduces mold however you may react less to wool
For Cozyhigh pileSynthetic , Natural Suggest foam padding
For Budgetlow pile Synthetic Olefin made from polypropylene is budget friendly
Mold low pile Synthetic Synthetic fibers are typically mold resistant

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