Before we begin to discuss whether weighted blankets are suitable for kids and toddlers or not, let us talk about the safety guidelines first. Please note that using a weighted blanket is not recommended for kids below 2 years of age.
When we mention toddlers, we are talking about kids who are 2-3 years old. For parents wondering if they can use a weighted blanket for a baby less than 2 years of age, the definitive answer is no.
A weighted blanket should ideally weigh 10% of a person’s body weight, plus a few pounds. Therefore a weighted blanket for toddlers or kids should ideally be about 5 lbs. 5 lbs weighted blankets are not easy to find and it is like you have to find the gems as there are only a few companies which make them.
Sleeping Issues for Kids or Toddlers
Kids and toddlers often have trouble falling asleep, which creates problems for their parents as well. It is a common topic of discussion for parent support groups and their social circles. Many parents also consult pediatricians for their kid’s sleeping problems.
Most toddlers and kids learn to sleep peacefully as babies. But some of them do not fall asleep as easily as others. Moreover, sleeping patterns for kids and toddlers can change overnight without any warning or explanation. Lack of sleep for a child can affect the entire family. That is why many patients decide to purchase a sleeping blanket for their child who might be having trouble sleeping at night as you don’t wanna give them a feeling like they are sleeping on a 12 ft trampoline right?
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
The weighted blanket is a self-explanatory term as it is heavier than traditional blankets. An adult weighted blanket can weigh about 15-20 lbs, while a kid’s weighted blanket should be 5-7 lbs. The blankets are usually filled with glass beads or plastic pellets to add weight to the blanket.
We would suggest parents choose one with glass beads, as they make the blanket less bulky. Moreover, weighted blankets with glass beads are easier to clean, environment friendly, and last longer. Some weighted blankets claim to use rice or other organic substances to add weight. But they may not be the best solution for kids since only the outer cover of these blankets can be washed.
The added weight of these blankets provides Deep Touch Pressure therapy, which helps in pacifying children. Occupational therapists also recommend using these blankets for kids undergoing treatment for autism, attention deficit disorders, ADHD, or other cognitive challenges.
Even though parents can purchase weighted blankets for their kids and themselves without a prescription, they should consult a pediatrician before buying one for their toddlers. They can also check if they can borrow one from their pediatrics office or a local sleep clinic.
Should Parents Use a Weighted Blanket for Their Kids and Toddlers?
Weighted blankets can be a wise decision as long as parents educate themselves about their use. They are certainly a better choice compared to other sleeping tools and medications.
A parent does not need a prescription to purchase a weighted blanket and won’t have to worry about side effects. Most kids and toddlers love using a weighted blanket because it gives them the feeling of getting hugged when they sleep.
The sleep therapy community recommends the use of weighted blankets for kids and toddlers. Parents who use them for their kids have found that weighted blankets contribute positively to their children’s sleep. It might be difficult to find a study that can prove their benefits conclusively. But several studies have outlined the obvious benefits.
Weighted blankets were originally designed to comfort children suffering from autism, ADHD, or other sensory disorders. Since then, several studies have found that the continued use of weighted blankets benefits children outside the clinic as well.
Other studies have also examined the effects of weighted blankets on the sleep quality and found positive results. These studies have been conducted on kids of different age groups, and the results were consistent.
However, parents who wish to use them for their toddlers should consult a pediatrician beforehand. If parents notice that their toddlers are facing anxiety or breathing issues, they should not use weighted blankets.
The continuous use of weighted blankets has shown that it lowers Electrodermal activities (EDA). EDA is a property of the skin that cannot be controlled by an individual. It is regulated by the nervous system that drives behavior, emotions, and cognitive states.
Lower EDA means a kid or toddler can sleep deeper with less tossing and turning. Many parents resort to medicines and treatments to lower EDA, but weighted blankets are a safe and side effect free alternative.
There is a lack of specific studies or research to prove that weighted blankets can help kids and toddlers. However, there is adequate user-generated information to suggest that weighted blankets help children sleep better at night. Many parents also use them to snuggle their kids when they read a book or watch TV.
However, we can’t stress enough that weighted blankets should not be used for toddlers aged less than 2 years. Parents should always consult a pediatrician before they start using one for their kids.