The Must-Read Weighted Blanket Guide for Children
What are weighted blankets?
Weighted blankets are specially designed with extra weight sewn in to make them heavier than normal blankets. Weighted blankets, vests, and lap pads are used to help children who do not process sensory input properly.
Weighted items can help children improve their body awareness, help to calm them and increase their ability to focus. These types of weighted materials are sometimes used for children with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder.
How do weighted blankets work?
The pressure from a weighted blanket causes the brain to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which naturally improve mood and induce a calming effect. This both helps soothe the nervous system and encourages restful sleep, without the need for synthetic drugs. Medically it is called Deep Pressure Therapy.
Are weighted blankets safe for children?
With various benefits associated with weighted blankets, parents have turned to weighted blankets to help their child to reduce bedtime anxiety. But are they actually safe for your young ones?
This is an important question every parent should ask, as weighted blankets are constructed to be relatively heavier than normal blankets. Weighted blankets should never be used for toddlers below 2 years of age.
A standard rule that ensures the effectiveness of weighted blanket is that they must be approximately 10% of your body weight plus 1-2 lb. Choosing the wrong size of weight of weighted blankets can pose safety risks to children. A 5 lb weighted blanket is commonly used for children above 2 years of age, where the typical body weight falls between 20lb -30lb.
When it comes to safety, don’t take what you read from the manufacturers for granted. Instead, follow these guidelines to ensure that the safety of your child is not compromised at all time.● Always ensure that your child has the ability to remove or put on the weighted blanket on themselves.● Do not roll the weighted blanket on your child. It should cover your child leaving the neck and face unrestrained.● Never use a weighted blanket meant for adults for your child.
Key benefits of weighted blankets for children.1. Help children with anxiety or stress. Anxiety or stress can leave your child, feeling physically and mentally exhausted, but still unable to asleep. Using a weighted blanket to apply gentle pressure to the body helps to naturally relax the nervous system and induce restful sleep. It’s similar to the act of swaddling a baby, where the weight and pressure provides a sense of security, safety and comfort.2. Help children with sensory disorders. If your child have a sensory processing disorder (SPD) or suffer from Aspergers or autism, these conditions can make responding to sensory stimuli difficult, often with an over or under sensitivity to touch or noise. This can make it hard to calm down, putting stress on the nervous system.
This in turn can lead to anxiety, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. This is where a weighted blanket may help, as the gentle pressure it applies helps the body release the ‘happy chemical’ serotonin. As we’ve already seen, serotonin converts to melatonin, which helps aid natural sleep.3. Help children with ADD/ADHD.Is your child on the ADD or ADHD spectrum? Then you’ll understand only too well how hyperactivity can lead to sleep deprivation.Using a weighted blanket can help ease the restlessness in kids with ADD and ADHD through its calming deep touch pressure stimulation.4. Help children focus better. Today’s over stimulating, media saturated, society is often linked to the fact many children are finding it harder to focus, especially in a classroom environment.Weighted vests have been shown to help children with attention deficit disorders focus up to 18% better. Similarly, weighted blankets have been shown to help children transition more smoothly from a high energy activity to a low energy one.5. Help children with down syndrome.Children born with Down Syndrome have cognitive and growth impairments, which can make learning how to fit into society, in an independent way, emotionally and physically draining.Children with Downs Syndrome may benefit from the gentle, comforting stimulation of a weighted blanket, which helps calm the nervous system by encouraging the release of serotonin. Serotonin is associated with wellbeing and also plays an important part in the body’s sleep-wake cycles.
The best budget-friendly weighted blankets in my opinion.
Personally I recommend Kid’s Weighted Blanket by YnM (Weight: 5lb Size: 36″ x 48″ Price: US$89.90) as the best budget-friendly blankets for children. Unlike other weighted blankets that are filled in poly pellets, this blanket by YnM is made of high-quality breathable cotton with hypoallergenic glass beads sewn in pockets of the inner layer. This gives a smoother sensation and is reasonably quiet compared to plastic materials. YnM is one of the best sellers on Amazon, got 4.4 out of 5 stars and over 3000 customer reviews.