- Are weighted blankets safe?
- Safety for kids
- Safety for babies
- Safety for toddlers
- Safety for elderly
- Are weighted blankets bad for you?
Safety first! While weighted blankets are not out to get us, this question seems to haunt some skepticists. While there are a few things to consider before purchasing your new favorite bedding item, let’s discuss why we opt for weighted blankets in the first place.
Weighted blankets are used to ground sleepers that tend to feel anxious or have difficulties remaining asleep throughout the night. There are many reasons why people turn to these readily available therapeutic blankets, but most conditions and motives relate to unwinding the mind and body before catching some shut-eye.
Weighted blankets act as a form of pressure therapy to accomplish a good night’s sleep. There’s a solid list of benefits, with some tailored to those who may especially enjoy these blankets due to specific conditions.
But back to the question of the day – how safe are they?
While meant to offer pressure, the goal is not to suffocate. If it were, we would not be recommending them at all. The pressure provided is intended to caress the body, similar to being swaddled as a child.
Sound epic? Let’s hop on the weighted blanket train. But first, there are a few items to check off the list when picking out the perfect blanket for you, your partner, child, or whomever you’re blessing with the gift of a weighted blanket. Let’s get started.
Are weighted blankets safe?
Most of the time, yes. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow when choosing/using your blanket:
- Choose a weight that is 10% of your body weight
- Pick a size that is appropriate for your bed size
- Do not cover your face/head with your blanket
- Must be a minimum of two years old to use
- Must be at least 100 pounds
Not too serious, right? Abide by these guidelines, and you should be set for the amazing sleep you’ve been yearning for.
If other conditions give you pause, like claustrophobia, severe asthma, or other restrictive conditions, you may want to refrain. But if you think being hugged to sleep sounds appealing, give a weighted blanket a shot.
Safe for kids?
Mostly, yes! Occupational therapists have sworn by weighted blankets for many moons, long before they were available to the public. They are especially useful for children diagnosed with ADHD and autism to calm the nervous system.
Additionally, small weighted blankets assist in increasing focus and decreasing anxiety while learning or during times of stress. Regardless of the circumstance, weighted blankets are an excellent bedtime tool to get the wiggles out before falling asleep.
For kids, we mainly want to refer to numbers 4 & 5 when considering whether your child is ready for a weighted blanket or not. To summarize and reiterate – your child must be at least the age of 2 years old and be a minimum of 100 pounds to use a weighted blanket.
These are safety requirements and should not be brushed off. We definitely don’t want to restrict movement, and thus, the development of your child.
Kids should be able to put on and take off their blankets independent of any parental help or supervision. Can you imagine being trapped under a blanket, unable to escape? Just don’t do it.
However, if your child meets the two benchmarks and is an independent little guy or gal, a weighted blanket could be a tremendous anti-anxiety tool for them.
Safe for babies?
If we’re going by general terms including newborns (0-2 months), infants (2 months – 1 year), and toddlers (1-4 years), then I think we already know the answer based on prior information.
Children under two years old should not be given a weighted blanket.
We understand the desperation to lull a baby to sleep after long days and nights of no sleep, but weighted blankets should not be introduced to newborns, infants, or young toddlers that are under 100 pounds.
Not to completely scare you off from weighted blankets in general, but have you heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? It typically happens during sleep and is associated with defects in an infant’s brain where breathing and arousal from sleep are controlled.
Why this is related – babies who have difficulty breathing or overheat during sleep are at risk. While rare, why throw a weighted blanket into the crib with this as a possibility?
So while very safe for adults and children that meet the requirements, it’s a no for babies.
Safe for toddlers?
Circling back to the general age terms, with toddlers being 1-4 years old, weighted blankets are safe for some but not all because let’s remember the two golden rules for children: they must be at least two years of age and a minimum of 100 pounds.
These suggestions are not to discriminate, but to put your child’s health and wellbeing at the forefront. However, if they do meet these two benchmarks, the benefits could be life-changing. These perks could be especially helpful for those who struggle with focusing and fidgeting.
The pressure from weighted blankets lowers cortisol levels and reduces pulse rates, resulting in a more relaxed mental state. This shift creates space for better decision-making and reactivity. Worst case – your child doesn’t love it, but many children have found peace in utilizing their weighted blankets. What do you have to lose?
Safe for the elderly?
This is an excellent question because most adults fit the criteria of the guidelines listed above. However, one thing to seriously take into account, as it remains true for everyone, is to make sure the weighted blanket can be put on and taken off independently by its user.
If the adult is too frail to do so, it may not be the best option. The blanket should never end up covering the face, and the user needs to have the ability to pull it down. We want to avoid any potential mishaps, but the positive effects on some adult-specific conditions have been proven successful.
Some mental commonalities that seem to receive weighted blankets well include anxiety and depression. Further, these blankets offer a great non-medicated option for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, as moodiness and agitation are common side effects.
They also claim to alleviate pain and restlessness in Parkinson’s patients. Similarly, the weighted pressure of the blankets acts as a great sleep tool for those who suffer from chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome.
Overall, the whole goal is to lessen pain in the mind and the body. Please just make sure to think about these things before checkout.
Are weighted blankets bad for you?
No, weighted blankets aren’t bad for you. They are meant to be good for your mental and physical health, whether it be soothing pain and agitation or suppressing the pre-bedtime monkey mind.
Pressure therapy, the purpose of these blankets, works to provide proprioceptive touch to the body, acting as a firm hug to let the brain know it’s safe. It plays a role in hormone regulation and, thus, a happy mind.
It’s a truly remarkable natural tool to aid in sleep and anxiety. However, your body may disagree with some of the materials used in manufacturing or as you shift at night.
Some of the most popular weighted blanket fillings contain plastic, or polypropylene. While these tiny beads are typically strictly regulated, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and chemical-free, if you have extreme allergies, perhaps reconsider.
However, these are regularly a crowd favorite due to their low cost and resemblance to their fancier cousin, glass beads.
Speaking of beads, maybe consider any sensory or auditory sensitivities before you purchase. If you wake at the sound of a pin drop or hate the subtle feeling of beads shifting, maybe consider the finest option.
More stuffing could be an easy fix, but weighted blankets may cause more stress than relief if we’re in the extreme category.
Certain fillings that could be legitimately bad for everyone: organic materials, or food. For the love of God, please don’t opt to fill your blanket with anything that could be found in your pantry. If not thoroughly dried before entry, little creepy crawlies may get you, or it will just flat out rot.
To my night sweaters out there – avoid these materials at all costs. Mold is bad for you, don’t let it in your blanket.
Other than these minor details and rare cautionary tales, weighted blankets have the potential to unwind the mind and hug you to sleep.
We really hope you feel empowered to take advantage of the fantastic benefits of a weighted blanket. While we suggest you take the precautions listed and abide by the guidelines, there is no need to fear these guys.
We want to cover anything that would deem a weighted blanket “not safe,” but really, the pros often outweigh the cons. Weighted blankets are here to help you, not hurt you, and are incredibly safe to use most of the time. Feel free to check out some of the other articles linked to fully prepare you to purchase your new favorite sleep buddy.