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Weighted blankets may create a calming effect on children, particularly if they experience anxiety or sensory over-responsivity.
This article looks at the potential benefits of weighted blankets, points to consider when buying, and weighted blanket options for children.
A weighted blanket provides deep touch pressure, which may have a calming effect on some children. Many blankets use beads within quilted pockets to provide an even distribution of weight.
If a child gets too hot under a weighted blanket, people can look for blankets with cooling properties and breathable fabrics.
Although not suitable for very young children or infants, weighted blankets might be a soothing addition for an older child to use when sleeping.
The study defines deep pressure as the sensation of being hugged, squeezed, stroked, or held. Weighted blankets may help to provide a similar feeling.
Deep pressure may also help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A 2014 study found that wearing a weighted vest may help improve attention and behavioral problems of children with ADHD during tasks.
Researchers are studying whether weighted blankets may help children with ASD sleep better. A pilot study of two children with ASD and sensory over-responsivity looked at the effects of weighted blankets on quality of sleep.
The study reported improved overall quality of sleep, including time falling asleep, frequency of waking up in the night, duration of sleep, and behavior upon waking in the morning.
Researchers concluded they need larger-scale studies and further evidence to support these findings.
A study of 67 children with ASD found no measurable improvement in sleep quality with a weighted blanket than a control blanket. The use of the weighted blanket was safe, and parents and children participating in the study preferred the weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets may be an effective tool in helping to reduce anxiety, though this study was not specific to children. The study found there is not enough evidence to recommend them as a treatment for insomnia.
It is important to choose the right weight and size blanket for each child. Some children may find weighted blankets claustrophobic or get too hot sleeping under them.
Weighted blankets are not suitable for young children and infants, as the beads inside the blanket could fall out and cause a choking hazard. A heavy blanket may also be a suffocating risk for young children and infants, especially babies under 1 year old.
It is important children only use a weighted blanket to cover their body and never their head.
Caregivers considering using a weighted blanket for children under school age should discuss safety with a pediatrician.
People may want to consider the following points when choosing a weighted blanket for a child:
- find a texture that a child enjoys touching, especially if children are sensitive to textures
- it is important a weighted blanket feels soothing for a child, rather than too hot or heavy
- consider looking for hypoallergenic products if a child has allergies
- consider cost, as larger, heavier blankets may be more expensive
- look for a machine-washable blanket if easy washing is an important factor
- consider products that use sustainable, non-toxic fabrics and finishes
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
The Mosaic Coolmax weighted blanket provides an option for kids, measuring 38 by 50 inches (in).
The Coolmax breathable fabric allows airflow and is quick-drying and moisture-wicking. This blanket is 65% cotton and has a soft feel.
The company claims that the quilting ensures even distribution of weight.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the plastic pellets for weight.
- 5, 8, or 10 lb weight options
- light gray color
- BPA-free, hypoallergenic
According to the product website, the Harkla weighted blanket creates a calming effect by applying deep touch pressure.
This weighted blanket for kids has soft, textured fabric for sensory input.
- 5, 7, 10, or 15 pound (lb) weight options
- three color options
- removable cover for easy washing
- a breathable bamboo inner fiber
The YnM Kids Original Weighted Blanket is 100% cotton.
- 7 lb weight, measuring 41 by 60 in
- grey, pink, or penguin pattern options
- hypoallergenic glass beads for weight
- small pockets for beads allow even weight distribution
- advanced sewing technology for durability
According to the product website, the Dream Weighted Blanket is suitable only for children weighing 30 lbs or more, who can remove the blanket themselves.
It is best for children aged 3-8 years and not suitable for children under 3 years or still using a crib.
The company claims that the lightweight, moisture-wicking, breathable fabric is suitable for use year-round. The even distribution of pressure may mimic the feeling of being hugged.
- 4-pound (lb) weight
- measures 36 by 48 in
- dual fabrics, with a fleece side and a cooling side
- satin edge trim
- hypoallergenic, fine-grade glass beads secure inside the inner pockets of blanket
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, ensuring the product is safe from harmful, allergenic chemicals or additives
- machine washable
According to the product website, Southpaw weighted blankets provide proprioceptive input for the whole body to create a calming effect. This means a person can sense the whole of their body while they are using the blanket.
- a range of sizes and weights, starting from 3 lbs
- a non-toxic steel shot between outer layers to weigh the entire blanket
- soft texture, which Velcro will attach to
If people are looking for a lighter option to a weighted blanket, they may want to try a compression sheet.
The Sensory Bed Sheet hooks over a mattress like a fitted sheet, with an open end for a child to slide into.
The company claims this weighted bed sheet may help relieve stress or anxiety, particularly in children with autism or ADHD. It provides proprioceptive input and deep touch pressure.
The material is soft and stretchy. This product is not suitable for children under 3 years.
- nylon and spandex blend
- available in Twin, Full, or Queen size
- machine washable and air dry
People may also want to tailor their weighted blanket to a child’s specific needs and preferences. However, a DIY weighted blanket may be unsafe.
Some children may find a weighted blanket calming and relaxing. Early research suggests weighted blankets might help calm anxiety in children with ASD, ADHD, or sensory over-receptivity.
A weighted blanket should feel comfortable and not too heavy. Weighted blankets are not suitable for young children who cannot remove the blanket by themselves.
If people are unsure whether a weighted blanket is suitable for their child, they can discuss options with a healthcare provider.