Weighted Blankets for Children
There’s no denying the fact that the use of weighted blankets has gone mainstream.
It’s no longer just for children with special needs. Healthy adults and children alike can also benefit from deep pressure touch stimulation. It’s a form of therapy that relaxes any individual who puts on a weighted blanket, vest, or lap pad over a period of time.
Thus, weighted blankets are highly touted as relaxation or anti-anxiety tools. Due to their rising popularity, more and more people are using them without even knowing the risks involved. As a result, two deaths, a 7-month old baby and a 9-year old child with autism, are linked to the misuse of weighted blankets
So, before you start planning about buying one for your child, it’s best that you should know the guidelines for using weighted blankets for children.
When can a toddler sleep with a blanket?
Toddlers are children between the age of one and three years old. If their age is below 12 months, they should be considered infants or babies.
With regards to the use of weighted blankets, the general rule is that that it should be around 10% of the user’s body weight. Medical experts who have studied the use of weighted blankets all agree that only children above two years old should be allowed to use them.
Upon reaching two years of age, they’re old enough to understand what a weighted blanket is.
They’re also strong enough to lift the appropriately weighted blanket for their age. Toddlers can freely move around and can lift it off their bodies without any help. Parents must understand that weighted blankets should never be used to restrain their movements.
Anything heavier than 10% of their body weight will be too much for their current age and strength. You’re putting your kids in mortal danger (strangulation, suffocation, and SIDS) when you let them use heavier-than-recommended weighted blankets.
Remember the two young kids who died because of the misuse of weighted blankets?
Toddlers and young children must consent to the use of weighted blankets. They must also be under close supervision when they put it on to avoid accidents. They should never be forced by anyone to try it on. Parents who push the issue can potentially traumatize young kids. They might feel anxious, fearful, or terrified as weighted blankets are thicker and heavier than the standard ones.
You’re doing it wrong if you’re forcing them to use it.
Parents should understand that a weighted blanket is a safety hazard for young children
If your child has special needs, be extra careful when you allow them to use a weighted blanket. You must seek medical clearance before buying one for them. It also applies to children below nine years old.
How to make the use of weighted blankets safer for children?
- Children should be carefully monitored whenever they sleep with a weighted blanket.
- Extra attention is needed to ensure the safety of young kids with special needs for they might harm themselves unknowingly.
- Keep it out of their reach when not in use to prevent accidents.
- The use of weighted blankets should never be used as a form of punishment.
Should I let my child sleep with my weighted blanket because it helps me sleep better at night?
Weighted blankets should be used accordingly. Just because it helps you sleep better at night doesn’t mean it will also work for your child. They should be the one to ask you to let them try it and not the other way around.
Always remember the 10% rule because weighted blankets come in different weights and sizes. Your 20-pound weighted blanket is light for you but is probably too heavy for them.
If you can’t help yourself to let them try it, do it slowly. Try sleeping beside your child with your weighted blanket on. In this way, you’re ready to assist them in case they need your help. You can also ask how they feel when they’re under the extra weight.
Never ever put it on them while they’re sleeping. Children should want to use your weighted blanket in the first place. If they continuously bug you to let them try it, allow them but under close supervision. Don’t let them use your weighted blanket on their own to avoid accidents.
How you can help your child sleep better
- The temperature in their sleeping area must be regulated.
People can sleep well if the temperature in their sleeping area is maintained. It must be not too cold or too warm. Keep the room temperature between 68°F to 72°F (20°C to 22.2°C). There must be proper ventilation, so the warmth or cold isn’t concentrated on a single area. Keeping your child in a comfortable state helps them sleep soundly.
- They must wear comfortable clothing.
Letting them wear comfortable clothing regulates their body temperature. It must also be appropriate to your area's climate conditions. During spring and summer, let them wear light clothing. By fall and winter, it must be thicker to protect them against the cold.
- Let them sleep with a blanket.
Sleeping with a blanket makes them feel secure and protected. For now, let your child use a regular sheet so you can also sleep well at night knowing they are safe.
- Read to them a bedtime story.
Reading a bedtime story lets children use their imagination. As a result, they forget about other things and focus on the story. Because you’re speaking to them with a low tone of voice, it’s like you’re singing to them a lullaby. It lulls them to sleep by the time you're done reading the whole story.