A Weighted Blanket for Toddler Sleep

If your toddler has a sleep problem, it’s going to be a tricky thing to do. How can you calm them down? It must be a bad idea to use drugs, after all, they are so frail. Now, you can solve this with a weighted blanket,if your baby is over one year old.

Because weighted blankets are a popular therapy tool for children, parents often wonder if weighted blankets are safe for babies. Before you use a weighted blanket for your toddler, it’s important to talk to your doctor or therapist.

What Is a Weighted Blanket and Are They Safe?

Like the name indicates, weighted blankets are made with added weight so that they feel heavier than a typical blanket. This might make you wonder, Why on earth would I want a heavier-than-normal blanket?

A great deal of scientific research shows that weighted blankets help with a variety of health conditions.

As you can see, weighted blankets may help alleviate everything from insomnia to sensory processing disorder. Made with around 10 percent of the user’s body weight, they work by providing a form of therapy called “deep touch pressure stimulation.” Therapists perform deep touch pressure stimulation by squeezing and applying firm but gentle pressure to the body.

Autism researcher Dr. Temple Grandin got the idea to use deep touch pressure stimulation with autism patients after observing cattle led through a “squeeze machine” for vaccinations. The squeezing devices gently held the cattle still for their shots, which seemed to soothe and calm the animals. When Dr. Grandin developed a similar device for people, she observed that patients with autism had less anxiety and fewer meltdowns.

Squeeze machines are very effective, but they are usually quite expensive and out of reach for most people’s budgets. This is where a weighted blanket may help. Portable, durable and affordable, weighted blankets deliver the soothing, calming benefits of deep touch pressure stimulation without the high cost of a squeeze machine.

Why Weighted Blankets Are Not Safe for toddler

Weighted blankets are safe for both children and adults, but you should not use a weighted blanket for any toddler under one year of age. According to the Children’s MD blog at the Children’s Hospital of St. Louis, the primary concern with the use of weighted blankets and babies is the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) — the sudden, usually unexplained death of a baby during sleep.

While most SIDS cases are unexplained, medical experts say that certain factors can increase a baby’s risk. To reduce this risk, parents should avoid sleep positioners, loose blankets, pillows, plush toys or anything else that could restrict or impair an infant’s breathing. Parents should also place babies on their backs to sleep, as this is the safest position.

Babies are at the highest risk of SIDS when they are between one and four months of age. Additionally, 90 percent of all SIDS cases occur within the first six months of life. According to Baby Center, “by definition, SIDS doesn’t happen after a child’s first birthday.”

This is why you shouldn’t use a weighted blanket for any child under one year of age. After your child’s first birthday, speak to your pediatrician or family doctor about weighted blankets and when it’s safe to use one for your child.

Recommended Weight for Weighted Blankets (Important for Kids)

Although a weighted blanket is not a good fit for toddlers, it is especially important for older children to choose a suitable weighted blanket.

These are only guidelines, but too much weight may not be good for kids. You’ll also want to consider the actual size of the blanket. If it’s very large, a lot of the blanket won’t be touching your child so it can be a little heavier. Use these recommended weights as a starting place:

If a blanket is roughly the size of your child, then 10% of their body weight plus one pound is perfect. For larger blankets, like ones that cover the whole bed, you can have an additional 2-3 pounds on top of the 10% of their body weight.

For example, if your child is 40 lbs, a small weighted blanket should be around 5 lbs, and a larger blanket around 7-8 lbs.

Use your best judgement, and of course, talk with your child’s pediatrician or occupational therapist if you have concerns!

How to Use a Weighted Blanket

This may seem a bit obvious, but I want to give you some more ideas for how to use your weighted blanket!

First and foremost, NEVER force a child to use a weighted blanket. You can demonstrate on yourself and encourage, but remember we’re talking about sensory input and a weighted blanket may actually feel painful to your child.

When first presenting the weighted blanket to your child, pull it up slowly from their feet and lay it down on top of them. Ask them what they think!

If your child could benefit from some calm down time outside of bedtime, try wrapping the weighted blanket around them while they sit on the couch or floor while reading, playing board games, doing homework, etc.

Put inside a sensory tent that you use as a place to calm down. Your child can go in and use it whenever they need it!

Weighted blankets can also be used in a classroom setting, as part of a sensory diet. Some classrooms have sensory tents or corners of their own. Head to Sensory Strategies for the Classroom to learn more.

Where to Buy A weighted blanket for toddler

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