Is a weighted blanket the answer to your child’s sleeping issues?

What is a weighted blanket?

It’s pretty much exactly what it says. It is a blanket that is filled with something (usually plastic pellets) designed to make it heavier to give a sense of deep pressure. It is like a hug you can take with you and have all the time.

Benefits of a weighted blanket

Who would not like sleeping in a permanent hug? The hug gives feelings of safety, relaxation and comfort based on the principles of deep touch pressure or deep pressure stimulation.

Weighted blankets are effective as a calming tool, helping children to relax or sleep. They are especially beneficial for children with sensory processing disorder and ADHD and who are on the autism spectrum.

They are also very beneficial for restless sleepers. The calming pressure helps to reduce cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone, and in turn boosts the production of serotonin, the hormone that makes us happy.

Weighted blankets:

  • Lower stress and anxiety
  • Eases restless legs
  • Improve sensory processing disorder
  • It can improve sleep, especially insomnia
  • Can improve focus especially for ADHD
  • Hugs you without having to ask or needing another person

“The American Academy of Pediatrician’s (AAP) sleep safe recommendations for children include not using blankets (any blankets) with children under the age of one year because they pose a risk of strangulation and increase the risk of SIDS.”

Are they safe to use?

The most important part when it comes to safety is to choose an appropriate-sized weighted blanket. This is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing and, especially when it comes to kids, should be chosen according to the individual. The weight should be about 10% of the user’s body weight.

They can pose a choking hazard to very young kids if the pellets fall out of the blanket. Choose a good quality blanket and check that the seams are secure.

Because the blankets are custom made for the individual and according to their weight, it is said that even babies could use it BUT The American Academy of Pediatrician’s (AAP) sleep safe recommendations for children include not using blankets (any blankets) with children under the age of one year because they pose a risk of strangulation, and increase the risk of SIDS. Weighted blankets are no exception to this.

Disadvantages of weighted blankets

In this heat, who wants to be sleeping with a permanent hug? Especially to those with claustrophobia, sleep apnea, asthma and blood pressure problems, the weighted blanket can feel suffocating. They can also be quite expensive since they are custom made.

Despite this, many medical professionals from around the world agree that deep pressure stimulation helps relax and soothe the human body, which makes it an option to consider.

This article has been specifically written for BabyYumYum by Good Night sleep consultancy expert, Jolandi Bekker. Article references available on request.

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As BabyYumYum’s exclusive sleep experts, Good Night specialises in all things sleep when it comes to babies and young children. Their sleep consultants are trained professionals who undergo strict screening and education processes. They believe in creating a start-to-finish solution for families. Good Night is associated with international associations and accredited by the South African Sleep Association.