Learn about the benefits of a weighted blanket for kids along with certain safety tips to provide comfort to your kid! Follow the article for more information.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a therapeutic blanket that is heavy because of the filling of glass beads or plastic pellets or extra layers of fabric. These blankets weigh between 5 to 30 pounds and they are used as a pressure therapy to the entire body akin to a comforting hug.
How Does it Work
The pressure from the extra weight mimics a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. Deep pressure stimulation using hands helps to relax the nervous system. It helps to relieve pain, reduce anxiety and improve mood. Weighted blankets deliver the same pressure when they are wrapped around the body. It is a good home therapy that has shown positive results for autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder(ADHD), and anxiety. They calm a restless body, reduce anxiety and improve sleep. It helps people who are not able to cope with an overload of sensory stimuli and become anxious or stressed. When you are stressed, your heart rate increases.
The pressure activates the parasympathetic nervous system which lowers your heart rate. The pressure on your entire body is similar to being hugged, swaddled, stroked, or held. This also calms you down. The pressure of a hug causes the release of hormones like endorphins and serotonin that calm you and make you happy.
It is a non-invasive, effective method to relieve anxiety. Weighted blankets are available specific to age and some companies can also customize them for you. The general rule is that the blanket should weigh about 5 to 10 % of your body weight and should be suitable for the size of your bed.
For eg., for a child who is 20 to 70 pounds in weight, his/her blanket should weigh 3 to 8 pounds.
Benefits of Weighted Blanket for Kids
1. Helps in Autism
Autistic children find it very difficult to interact socially. This causes them a great deal of stress and anxiety in their homes, schools, and public places. Anxiety affects their ability to fall asleep. In such kids, deep pressure stimulation using a weighted blanket helps to bring a sense of calm and helps them sleep better.
2. Helpful in ADHD
Weighted blankets help kids with ADHD to fidget less, stay still, focus and not get distracted by other sensory stimuli, and sleep better. It helps increase their attention span and reduce hyperactive movements. By activating the sense of touch, it keeps the child from getting distracted by other sensory stimuli. When such kids sleep well and feel rested, they exhibit improved mental health, less irritability, better performance at school, and less obesity.
3. Regulates Sleep Disorders
Kids who suffer from Autism, ADHD, and sleep disorders like insomnia, have difficulty falling asleep. Weighted blankets also relieve anxiety and elevated heart rate by stimulating the autonomic nervous system. This helps reduce their heart rate, calms them, and makes them sleep better. These kids will be less cranky, have a better mood, and show improved scores at school. autonomic nervous system. This helps reduce their heart rate, calms them, and makes them sleep better. These kids will be less cranky, have a better mood, and show improved scores at school.
4. Relieves Pain
The deep pressure stimulation provided by weighted blankets helps reduce chronic pain and pain due to osteoarthritis.
5. Post Medical Procedures
It may lessen anxiety in kids undergoing medical procedures such as tooth extraction and helps keep them calm and feel relaxed.
You should avoid using weighted blankets for toddlers under 2 years of age as it can suffocate them. It is also advisable to avoid them for those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which causes disruptive breathing during sleep.
Asthmatic kids who have breathing difficulty at night, claustrophobic kids, and those with developmental disabilities or delays should not use these blankets as there is a risk of suffocation.