Are Weighted Blankets Safe?
Every household item can serve you well if used correctly. If you ignore safety rules, it can be dangerous. Understanding the item's purpose should guide you on how to use it properly. It lets you know the possible consequences of every action.
For weighted blankets, you should take the time to immerse yourself in the nuances of its use.
Just because it’s a blanket doesn’t mean anyone can use it at any time. Remember that it’s not your ordinary blanket.
They’re heavier than your regular blankets for a reason. Their extra weight enables the user to experience deep pressure touch stimulation. Occupational therapists have been using them to treat their patients with special needs and sensory processing disorders.
Are weighted blankets safe?
The answer mainly depends on the user’s age and current physical condition.
Weighted blankets are generally safe for people in good health. But seeking clearance from your doctor before purchasing or using one is a logical move.
They're heavier than your regular sheets. They should be around 10% of the user’s body weight and should be strong enough to lift the blankets on their own easily. The extra weight can restrict movement. It might be a cause for concern, panic, or alarm for some while others don’t seem to mind at all.
For children, it’s 10% and must have an allowance of a pound or two as they’re still growing. When they’re using a weighted blanket, it should not cover their neck and head.
For adults, the weight is subject to the individual’s preferences. The manufacturer’s chart only serves as a guide for those who have a hard time deciding which one to buy. Some adults prefer weighted blankets to be below or beyond the recommended weight. They should base their buying decision on the weight they’re most comfortable with.
The individual must never be forced to use the blanket just because it offers health benefits. Their decision to use it must be consensual.
The use of weighted blankets is for therapeutic benefits. It should help address their anxiety issues or inability to fall and stay asleep.
Who are advised not to use a weighted blanket?
- Infants or babies below two years old.
Weighted blankets are dangerous for babies under two years. They’re still developing and are not yet strong enough.
The added weight will only make them uncomfortable. Babies should sleep for at least 16 hours a day. Infants should be carefully monitored when sleeping even without the use of weighted blankets for they are also at risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Children or adults who have heart or respiratory problems.
The extra weight and thickness might constrict their breathing and suffocate them as a result.
People with heart problems should always be mindful of not exerting too much force. It causes their heart to work doubly hard and might trigger a heart attack or something fatal.
The extra thickness may cause you the person to sweat heavily and trigger negative consequences. That’s why children or adults who have respiratory or heart problems and other pre-existing medical conditions should never use a weighted blanket.
Are the filling materials safe?
Fillers are the materials stuffed in between the weighted blanket’s sheets to make them heavier than the standard blankets.
Most manufacturers or makers use poly pellets or glass beads. These are non-toxic materials.
However, they can pose a choking hazard because of their size. When the blanket has damaged or loose seams, there’s a possibility for the fillers to spill out.
If you plan to order a customized sheet, you can specify the filling materials they’ll stuff your blanket with. Some manufacturers offer to make weighted blankets according to your needs and preferences. Better ask them firsthand how much it will cost you to make sure it’s well within your budget.
Why are young children with special needs allowed to use weighted blankets?
The therapy sessions are under the supervision of a medical professional. They've worked hard to become competent caregivers. A single case of malpractice will result in losing the license that allows them to practice their profession and earn a living.
Their parents and caregivers also receive training or a simple overview of their use to ensure their safety.
The extra pressure due to the blanket’s added weight stimulates deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS). It’s been scientifically proven to help them relax and feel calm, secure and protected. The production of serotonin enables them to calm down as the brain tells their body to rest.
The use of weighted blankets helps address their present conditions. These children are never forced to use weighted blankets. It’s done in a fun and engaging way to put them at ease.