Disclaimer: No content on this site is nor or should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or qualified clinicians. Because weighted blankets come in varying weights, we strongly suggest that you seek the advice of your doctor or medical professional to make a safe and healthy purchase decision. Click here for full Affiliate and Medical Disclosures.
WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR CHILDREN – KNOW THE FACTS BEFORE YOU BUY
Interested and discerning parents are asking if weighted blankets are good for children, infants, toddlers, and children with special needs. These are all very good questions, that deserve an answer. Although the answer to this question is varied, I will do my best to give an unbiased answer.
Please bear in mind, however, that the information provided here is not to be taken as trained medical advice, as I am not a physician and/or a medical research professional, only someone who wants you to be well informed should you decide to purchase a weighted blanket for your little one(s).
So you want to know should you by a weighted blanket for my child(ren). Well, here’s the short answer. . .” it depends” on several things. Now, if you can stick around for the unabbreviated or long answer, you will not be disappointed, but much more informed. Sounds good? Please continue to read on.
THE RECOMMENDED AGE AND WEIGHT
Here at Calm “N” Cuddled, we do NOT recommend weighted blankets for children 5 years old and younger. There however are some manufacturers and sellers who might say differently, and that is okay, as we are not trying to when in debates. But our information is based on the research and opinions of the experts.
According to the experts, the average weight of a 4-year old child is 40 pounds, give or take a pound here or there, and because weighted blankets are designed to be heavy, they may prove to be too restrictive for a small child, toddler and of course infants. Should a small child or toddler find themselves entangled in the sheets during the night, they might not have the wherewithal to maneuver or free themselves, ultimately resulting in suffocation, babies are out of the question!
BE CAREFUL, BE CAUTIOUS, BE ADVISED – WEIGHTED BLANKETS ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE
The inherent dangers of suffocation are real, and parents should use every precaution when shopping for a weighted blanket for children, especially children with Special Needs regardless of their age.
There are 3 recorded cases involving deaths connected to the use of weighted blankets, a 7-month-old infant, and a young boy in Canada, and an autistic boy age 9 in Quebec. Although some might argue this to be a low number, it is still 3 too man, we choose to air on the side of caution, to arm parents with as much information as we possibly can, enabling them to make wise and informed purchasing decisions.
Please use the following guide to help you decide.
CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS – WHAT YOU SHOULD
The phrase, Special Needs Children is a term widely describe kids on the Autism Spectrum, who have Asperger Syndrome, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder more commonly (ADHD), etc., and these dear children struggle with many issues.
Merriam Webster defines Special Needs this in this manner: “any of various difficulties (such as a physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning disability or impairment) that causes an individual to require additional or specialized services or accommodations
(such as in education or recreation)”
SENSORY WEIGHTS BLANKETS
My two wonderful nephews who are both on the Autism Spectrum, are both enrolled in a very school for children with special needs.
The point I am wanting to make here is as part of their curriculums, they take breaks throughout the day to distress in the Sensory room. It’s an amazing room, they love it! Maybe they should install these in some workplaces. Maybe it would help to decrease some on the work-related stresses, and boost productivity. Just a thought. They are both thriving as they continue to learn, grow, and develop despite the current events of today. But I digress.
The topic is “Sensory Processing Disorders.
According to WebMD, “Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.”
Weighted blankets are also called Sensory Blankets, as they provide deep-pressure stimulation. In an earlier post, I talked a little about deep-pressure stimulation, otherwise known as deep-touch therapy. Research and other studies suggest that this sensation induced by weighted blankets can give a child the sense of being held or hugged. The serotonin that is released in the brain, helps to regulate sleep and disposition. Read more on Sensory Blankets.
According to Applied Behavioral Analysis EDU “the biological processes that take place when a person wears a weighted blanket: When you apply deep pressure to the body, the body switches from running its sympathetic nervous system to its parasympathetic nervous system.
This is the so-called switch from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and digest’… Unfortunately, kids with autism spectrum and Sensory Processing Disorders spend a lot of time stuck in the sympathetic nervous system.
Even when they do calm down, it takes very little to retrigger this system… As deep pressure is applied to the body, the parasympathetic nervous system comes online, calming your child and bringing a sense of well-being.” (ABA EDU)
WEIGHTED BLANKETS: THERE’S THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THEN THERE’S THE TRUTH
THE GOOD: Weighted blankets are a good thing when purchased wisely, and used wisely. Depending upon the person(s), they can offer many years of benefits ranging anywhere from the relief of non-life threatening physical issues in adults. In children age 4 and under with mindful supervision, a deep-touch hug-like sensation in children with or without special needs.
THE BAD: Unfortunately, weighted blankets, can also cause harm. As a matter of fact, they are known to have caused harm, and even death in a few cases. Parents and guardians must exercise caution, I cannot state this enough, ere goes the saying “an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.”
THE TRUTH: Weighted blankets have been around since the 90s. It is not a new concept, but it is not very old either. There has been much research done on weighted blankets, some with conclusive findings, others, not so much. In other words, the jury is still out on weighted blankets, as to whether or not they really, and truly work. At the end of the day, a healthy person will have to do their own research, by actually buying one, then and draw his/her own conclusions. But those with underlying or ongoing medical conditions, we do say you should this, but we do strongly recommend that you see your doctor, therapist, or medical professional before you decide to buy or try a weighted blanket for yourself, and especially for your little one(s).
Do as we do at Calm “N” Cuddled, and opt to air on the side of caution.
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