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Weighted Blankets for Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Calmer Sleep and Improved Focus

Weighted blankets have gained significant popularity, especially for children, as they offer a range of potential benefits. These blankets contain evenly distributed weight from materials such as glass beads or plastic pellets. The added weight creates a soothing sensation, mimicking the feeling of being hugged, which may help improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and provide comfort for children facing various challenges.

The effectiveness of weighted blankets can be attributed to their ability to provide deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS). This type of sensory input is known to have a calming effect, particularly for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, or sensory processing difficulties. However, it’s crucial to consider the appropriate size, material, and weight for each child to ensure safety and maximise the benefits of these blankets.

Key Takeaways

  • Weighted blankets provide a calming effect, especially for children with sensory challenges, aiding in improved sleep and reduced anxiety.
  • Deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS) from these blankets can benefit children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and other sensory difficulties.
  • Ensuring the right size, material, and weight is crucial to maximise the benefits and maintain safety for the child using a weighted blanket.

Understanding Weighted Blankets

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

A weighted blanket, also known as a gravity blanket, is a specially designed blanket that is filled with materials such as glass beads or plastic pellets. These blankets are heavier than regular blankets and are commonly used to help children and adults with sensory processing issues, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

Weighted blankets typically weigh between 5 and 30 pounds, with the weight evenly distributed across the blanket. The choice of filling, be it glass beads or plastic pellets, will depend on personal preference and the desired level of weight. Glass beads are generally smaller and denser, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a thinner blanket, while plastic pellets may provide more bulk.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets function by providing deep pressure stimulation (DPS) to the body. This pressure can help calm the nervous system, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. DPS is a form of touch therapy that has been found effective for individuals with sensory processing disorders, anxiety, and insomnia.

The even distribution of weight across the blanket creates a gentle, even pressure on the body, similar to a hug. This sensation can stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters associated with feelings of calmness and relaxation.

Research has shown that weighted blankets can be beneficial in improving sleep for autistic children, and some studies suggest that they may also help with reducing anxiety.

To get most out of a weighted blanket, it is important to choose the right weight. A general guideline suggests selecting a blanket that is approximately 10% of the user’s body weight. However, personal preference and consultation with a healthcare professional may also play a part in determining the ideal weight for each individual.

In summary, weighted blankets offer a therapeutic solution by providing deep pressure stimulation to help calm the nervous system, promote relaxation, and improve sleep. These blankets, filled with materials like glass beads or plastic pellets, are suitable for children and adults with sensory processing issues, anxiety, and sleep disorders. The choice of the filling and weight should be based on personal preference and consultation with a healthcare professional.

Benefits for Children

Weighted blankets for kids offer several advantages, particularly in addressing anxiety, ADHD, autism, and insomnia. This section will discuss two main benefits for children using weighted blankets: soothing anxiety and ADHD, and improving sleep quality.

Soothing Anxiety and ADHD

Many children today face challenges related to anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Weighted blankets offer a non-pharmacological approach to provide comfort and relief. These blankets use deep touch pressure (DTP) to stimulate the release of serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood and reduces anxiety levels1. The even distribution of weight across the child’s body helps to lower cortisol, a stress hormone often elevated in individuals with anxiety2. Children with ADHD can also benefit from weighted blankets, as they provide a calming effect and contribute to an increase in focus and attention3.

Improving Sleep Quality

Sleep issues are common in children with autism and those experiencing insomnia. Weighted blankets assist in improving sleep quality by replicating the sensation of being hugged or swaddled. This comforting sensation helps to increase the production of serotonin and melatonin, promoting relaxation and sleep. The blankets also suppress cortisol, contributing to a more restful sleep4.

In conclusion, weighted blankets offer numerous benefits for children struggling with anxiety, ADHD, autism, and insomnia. They help to improve mood, reduce stress, increase focus, and promote better sleep patterns. By integrating weighted blankets into a child’s routine, parents can provide a natural, non-invasive solution to enhance their child’s overall well-being.

Footnotes

  1. The Weighted Blanket Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Weighted Blankets and Deep Pressure for Autism, Chronic Pain, and Other Conditions 
  2. The Effectiveness of Weighted Blankets on Sleep Problems for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder ↩
  3. A Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Weighted Vests and Blankets on People with ASD or ADHD 
  4. Pediatric Occupational Therapy 

Safety and Precautions

When using weighted blankets for kids, it’s important to follow certain safety guidelines and precautions. In this section, we’ll discuss how to pick the appropriate weight and avoid overheating.

Picking the Appropriate Weight

Choosing the right weight for a child’s weighted blanket is crucial for safety and effectiveness. The general rule of thumb is to select a blanket that weighs approximately 10% of the child’s body weight, plus one pound. For example, if a child weighs 40 pounds, a weighted blanket of around 5 pounds (10% of 40, plus 1) should be suitable.

Here’s a brief guide to help you choose the right weight:

Child’s WeightRecommended Blanket Weight
9.07 kg – 13.15 kg1.36 kg
13.61 kg – 17.69 kg 1.81 kg
18.14 kg – 22.23 kg2.27 kg
22.68 kg – 26.76 kg2.72 kg

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or occupational therapist to determine the most appropriate weight for a child, especially in cases of special needs or medical conditions.

Avoiding Overheating

Safety is paramount when using weighted blankets with children, especially to minimise the risk of overheating or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Here are some tips to prevent overheating when using a weighted blanket:

  • Material: Choose a blanket made from breathable, natural fibres like cotton, which helps with temperature regulation. Avoid synthetic materials, as they tend to trap heat.
  • Layers: Ensure the child is not covered by too many layers when using the weighted blanket, and reduce layers if the room is warm.
  • Placement: The weighted blanket should only cover the child’s body, not their head or face, to reduce the risk of suffocation.
  • Ventilation: Keep the room well-ventilated to prevent a build-up of heat.

Always monitor your child when using a weighted blanket for the first time, and be attentive to signs of discomfort or overheating. If any concerns arise, consult with a healthcare professional before continuing use of the weighted blanket.

Selecting the Right Size and Material

Different Sizes for Different Ages

When choosing a weighted blanket for your child, it is essential to select the right size based on their age and weight. Generally, the blanket should weigh around 10% of the child’s body weight plus one or two pounds. Here are some general guidelines for choosing a suitable blanket size for children of different ages:

  • Toddlers (2-4 years): 90 x 120 cm., weighing 3-6 kg
  • Younger children (5-9 years): 106 x 142 cm., weighing 6-9 kg
  • Older children (10-12 years): 120 x 180 cm., weighing 9-11 kg

Keep in mind that these are approximate values, and individual preferences may vary. Always consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about the appropriateness of a weighted blanket for your child.

Material Choices and Breathability

The material of the weighted blanket is crucial for ensuring comfort, breathability, and durability. Some common fabrics used in making these blankets include:

  1. Cotton: It is a popular choice due to its softness and breathability. Cotton is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for children with sensitive skin. Cotton weighted blankets are also easy to maintain, as they are generally machine-washable.
  2. Minky: This is a plush, soft fabric that is warmer than cotton. It is ideal for children who prefer a cozy, warm feel while sleeping or relaxing.
  3. Bamboo: Bamboo is another hypoallergenic material, like cotton. It is soft, naturally antibacterial, and known for being breathable and moisture-wicking.
  4. Polyester: It is a more budget-friendly option, which is durable and easy to clean. However, polyester is less breathable than other materials, making it a less suitable choice for children who are prone to overheating.

When selecting a material for your child’s weighted blanket, consider their individual needs and preferences. For instance, if your child has a tendency to overheat at night or is sensitive to certain fabrics, a breathable and hypoallergenic material such as cotton or bamboo would be a better choice.

Design and Style Options

Colours and Patterns

When choosing a weighted blanket for kids, there is a wide array of colour and pattern options to suit your child’s preferences. From bright and bold colours to calming pastels, you can find a weighted blanket that matches their personality and bedroom theme. Some popular patterns include fun prints like stars, dinosaurs, hearts, or geometric shapes. Choosing a visually appealing design not only enhances the bedroom aesthetic but also increases the likelihood of your child enjoying the blanket.

Textures and Comfort

A crucial aspect of weighted blankets for kids is the material and texture. Different materials provide varying levels of comfort and sensory experiences, which could be essential for children with sensory issues, like those on the autism spectrum. It is important to consider your child’s preferences and needs while selecting the fabric.

One popular choice is faux-fur, which is soft, plush, and provides a luxurious feel. For those who prefer a smoother texture, cotton or a cotton-blend fabric can be a good option. There are also weighted blankets that come with a removable cover, allowing for easy cleaning and fabric-swapping based on preference or season.

For enhanced sensory experiences, some designs incorporate various textures and elements for tactile stimulation. For example, a blanket might have raised dots, ridges, or minky fabric, that contributes to comfort and helps calm a child.

When selecting a weighted blanket for your child, prioritise style and design elements that cater to their unique needs and preferences. Experimenting with different colours, patterns, and textures ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience when using the blanket.

Care and Maintenance

Washing and Cleaning Instructions

Weighted blankets for kids require a specific approach when it comes to care and maintenance. To keep the blanket in good condition and ensure its longevity, follow these instructions on washing and cleaning. For weighted blankets with a removable cover, it is recommended to remove the cover and wash it separately. Most covers are suitable for being machine washed on a gentle cycle with cold water. It is essential to use a mild detergent and avoid using bleach or fabric softener.

On the other hand, frequently cleaning the inner weighted blanket might not be necessary. However, when needed, it can be spot cleaned using a cloth dampened with a mild soap and water solution. Gently dab the soiled area, rinse the cloth, and dab again to remove excess soap. Allow the blanket to air dry completely before using it again.

Durability and Lifespan

Taking proper care of your child’s weighted blanket will significantly impact its durability and lifespan. Here are some useful tips to ensure the optimal condition of the blanket:

  1. Always follow the manufacturer’s washing and cleaning instructions.
  2. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach that might damage the fabric or filling material.
  3. Be mindful of high heat that may cause shrinkage or melting of the filling material.
  4. Rotate the use of blankets, allowing the weighted blanket to rest and regain its shape.
  5. Properly store the blanket in a cool, dry place when not in use.

By adhering to the proper care and maintenance guidelines, your child’s weighted blanket can continue to provide comfort and relaxation for an extended period. Remember, investing time in the proper upkeep of the blanket will ultimately lead to a more satisfied and well-rested child.

Product Recommendations

Choosing the right weighted blanket for your child is important, as it can help improve their sleep and overall well-being. In this section, we will discuss three of the top product recommendations for weighted blankets, suitable for various needs and budgets.

Best Overall Weighted Blankets for Kids

Our top pick for the best overall weighted blanket for kids is the NOXNOX® Kids Weighted Blanket. This product offers exceptional quality, comfort, and durability. The blanket includes a soft, plush cover, which is machine-washable and features evenly distributed weight throughout. Our weighted blanket for kids is available in various weight options to cater to the specific needs of your child. You can find this top-of-the-line option on the product page where you can explore its features, sizes and buying options.

Best Budget-Friendly Options

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option without compromising on quality, the Basic+ Weighted Blanket is an excellent choice for teenagers. With its affordable price, it features a soft, two-sided bamboo/minky cover and comes in various weight and size options, suitable for older children and teenagers of different ages. You can purchase this blanket on the product page and read user reviews to make an informed decision.

Best for Big Kids and Teenagers

For those with older children or teenagers, the Classic Weighted Blanket is our recommended choice. This blanket is designed specifically for bigger kids and teenagers, offering weight options appropriate for their age and size. Made from high-quality materials, it provides excellent temperature regulation and support. Learn more about this blanket and buying options on the product page.

Purchasing Considerations

When considering the purchase of a weighted blanket for kids, it is essential to keep a few key factors in mind to make the best decision for your child’s needs. In this section, we will discuss price and value for money, as well as where to buy a suitable weighted blanket.

Price and Value for Money

The price of a weighted blanket may vary depending on factors such as material, size, and brand. It is essential to consider the value for money and the quality of the product rather than focusing solely on the cost. Some blankets may come with additional features, such as removable covers, that can also influence the price. It is crucial to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your child’s needs within your budget. Be sure to check for voucher offers or sales that could make your purchase more affordable.

Price Range of Weighted Blankets for Kids:

Budget49EUR – 139EUR
Mid-range49EUR – 89EUR
High-end99EUR and above

Where to Buy

There are several options for purchasing a weighted blanket for kids, ranging from small businesses and medium businesses to larger retailers. Local shops within your community might offer unique, handmade blankets crafted by artisans. These can prove to be valuable finds, as they often use high-quality materials and more attention to detail.

On the other hand, online shopping offers a wider selection and more competitive pricing, making it easier to find a suitable product. Make sure to read reviews, explore the available stock, and be aware of the qualifying items for any offer or discount you intend to use.

In summary, selecting the best-weighted blanket for your child requires careful evaluation of factors like price, value for money, and where to buy. By being informed and considering these aspects, you can make a well-rounded decision and find the perfect weighted blanket to suit your child’s needs.

Support Small and Sustainable Businesses

The Importance of Community Support

Supporting small businesses like our brand goes beyond the advantages of purchasing a high-quality weighted blanket for kids. These businesses often have a greater commitment to their local communities and contribute to a healthier, more diverse economy. By prioritising small businesses, consumers can foster a sense of community and encourage sustainable practices.

Some benefits of supporting small businesses include:

  • Generating local job opportunities
  • Ensuring fair wages and better working conditions
  • Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Reducing environmental impact through local sourcing

Expert Opinions and Certifications

Consulting with Healthcare Professionals

When considering a weighted blanket for your child, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a paediatrician or occupational therapist. These experts can provide guidance on the appropriate weight and size of the blanket, as well as any potential contraindications for your child. Moreover, they can offer insights into proper usage to ensure your child’s safety and comfort.

For example, some healthcare professionals may recommend introducing a weighted blanket in short increments to help your child gradually adapt to the added weight. They can also provide guidance on checking for signs of discomfort or adverse reactions to the blanket, such as difficulty breathing or becoming too warm.

Certifications to Look for

When choosing a weighted blanket for your child, it’s essential to consider any relevant product certifications that indicate the blanket’s quality and safety. Some notable certifications to look for include:

  1. OEKO-TEX Standard 100 – This certification ensures that the blanket’s materials have been tested for harmful substances and are safe for human use.
  2. Certipur-US – For blankets with memory foam fillings, this certification guarantees that the foam is made without ozone depleters, heavy metals, or harmful chemicals.
  3. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) – If you prefer an organic blanket, this certification ensures that the textile materials used are organic and processed without any hazardous chemicals.

By consulting with healthcare professionals and looking for relevant product certifications, you can confidently select a safe and suitable weighted blanket for your child, ensuring their comfort and wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of using a weighted blanket for children?

Weighted blankets for children offer numerous benefits, including improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and enhancing focus. By applying deep pressure, the blanket can create a sense of calm and relaxation, similar to being hugged. This comforting sensation helps children feel secure and can improve their overall well-being. Research suggests that weighted blankets may also have positive effects on children with autism, ADHD and other sensory processing disorders.

How can a weighted blanket help a child with ADHD?

Children with ADHD often struggle with restlessness and focus. A weighted blanket can provide gentle pressure that soothes and calms their nervous system. The sensation of deep pressure promotes the production of serotonin and melatonin, which help regulate sleep and mood. As a result, children with ADHD may experience better sleep and improved focus during the day when using a weighted blanket.

What considerations should be made when choosing a weighted blanket for a child with anxiety?

When selecting a weighted blanket for a child with anxiety, it’s important to consider the weight, size, and fabric of the blanket. The blanket should be approximately 10% of the child’s body weight, and it is crucial to ensure that the child can move comfortably and safely beneath the blanket. Additionally, choose a fabric that is soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic. Sensory preferences should be taken into account, and the child should feel comfortable and secure with their weighted blanket.

What is the appropriate weight for a weighted blanket for a toddler?

For a toddler, the weighted blanket should be approximately 10% of their body weight, plus one or two pounds. It is essential that the blanket is not too heavy, as it could pose a safety risk. Always consult a healthcare professional, such as a paediatrician or an occupational therapist, before introducing a weighted blanket to a toddler.

Can children with autism benefit from sensory blankets, and how?

Yes, children with autism can benefit from sensory blankets, as they often have sensory processing difficulties. Sensory blankets, such as weighted blankets, help regulate sensory input by providing deep pressure, which can reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and enhance emotional regulation. The calming effect of a sensory blanket may help children with autism feel more comfortable in their environments and better able to engage in daily activities.

What safety precautions should be taken when a child is using a weighted blanket?

When using a weighted blanket with a child, it is vital to follow safety guidelines. The blanket should never cover the child’s head or face, as this could impair their ability to breathe. Regularly check for signs of wear and tear to ensure the blanket remains safe for use. Always supervise young children when using a weighted blanket and consult a healthcare professional for guidance on appropriate usage and safety.

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