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Are weighted blankets safe for babies?

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Due to the popularity of weighted blankets, especially for children, parents often wonder, and we have also been asked directly, if we manufacture weighted blankets for babies.

We understand that parents are probably thinking it will help to calm their baby at night and assist with sleep training, etc.

It is highly recommended NOT to use a weighted blanket for any child younger than 1 year of age. It is recommended that you always get a doctor or therapists’ opinion as well, just to be 100% sure that it is the right choice for you.

The main reason for the 1 year rule is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. – the sudden, usually unexplained death of a baby during sleep. Most SIDS deaths happen in babies 2 to 4 months old. Cases rise during cold weather and is the leading cause of infant deaths between 1 month to 1 year of age.

Despite this, there are many things a parent can do to minimise the risk of SIDS.  Most importantly, babies younger than 1 year old should be placed on their backs to sleep — never facedown on their stomachs or on their sides. Sleeping on the stomach or side increases the risk for SIDS. Parents should also avoid sleep positioners, loose blankets, pillows, plush toys or anything else that could restrict or impair an infant’s breathing. 

With that being said, 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.

 

How to choose a Weighted Blanket for your child

At PrettySpecial we have made our sizing options appropriate to ages and weights for both adults and children alike. Our smallest being our toddler sized blanket, starting with a user weight of 31kg. This is equivalent to a blanket weight of 3.1kg.

Of course we are flexible and can custom make your blanket to be as light or as small as you want, bearing in mind the effectiveness of the weight on the child. The ideal weight is between 8 – 12% of the user’s  body weight. Ideally you do not want too much extra blanket, as this will defeat the purpose of weight distribution. It should be sized to fit the user and not the user’s bed. The blanket’s weight should be a consistent, focused pressure on the body itself. Another reason for this is that if the blanket drapes over the sides of the bed, the weight will pull it toward the ground and will fall off.

A lighter option for children older than 1 year would be a lap pad, which has its own benefits including being an amazing sensory tool or toy to help improve your child’s attention, focus, or ability to calm down and relax.
They can also improve your child’s body awareness and prevents sensory meltdowns, tantrums and aggression.

For more information of the benefits of sensory and weighted products please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help you in deciding what would work best for you and your child.

Weighted blankets – Not just a passing trend

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We have received many questions around the authenticity of weighted products and their benefits.

With the current trend of weighted blankets around the world starting around 2017, and more recently in Cape Town and South Africa, it’s not uncommon to have concerns. “Is this the real thing or just a passing trend?” Rest assured that the benefits of Deep-Pressure Touch and weighted products have been around for decades and clinically proven to be effective methods of treatment for anxiety, depression, insomnia, ADD, ASD and many other conditions.

We will be detailing each condition and how weighted therapy can help relieve them in future posts, but for now, I have listed a few studies for you to reference for your own information. 

 

Deep-Pressure Touch 

Most notable is Dr. Temple Grandin, PhD, who lives with autism spectrum disorder. She was one of the first to point out the benefits of deep-pressure touch provided by weighted blankets to help relax overstressed nervous systems. It was, in fact, her research that lead to the development of the weighted blanket.

In the published Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology  she says, “Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. In contrast, light touch pressure is a more superficial stimulation of the skin, such as tickling, very light touch, or moving hairs on the skin.”

In addition, PrettySpecial Weighted Blankets are made of 100% pure cotton provide deep-pressure touch stimulation without any uncomfortable restrictions. They mimic a nice, warm hug, which comfort and aid sleep without being too bulky or uncomfortable. This results in significant and longer hours of sleep, while waking up refreshed and well rested.

 

Regarding the Therapeutic effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket

According to Occupational Therapy in Mental Health A mixed methods exploratory study on the safety and effectiveness of a 13kg weighted blanket with a sample of 32 adults. Safety was investigated measuring blood pressure, pulse rate, and pulse oximetry, and effectiveness by electrodermal activity (EDA), the State Trait Anxiety Inventory-10 and an exit survey. 

The results reveal that the use of the 13kg weighted blanket, in the lying down position, is safe as evidenced by the vital sign metrics. Data obtained on effectiveness reveal 33% demonstrated lowering in EDA (Electrodermal activity) when using the weighted blanket, 63% reported lower anxiety after use, and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality. 

At PrettySpecial we have standard sizes and weights of our blankets, however we do customize according to your individual weight and size, and our newly updated range include prints which are trendy too :) We welcome all feedback and we encourage an open dialogue from our customers, so please feel free to contact us  if you have any questions about our products. We look forward to discussing how our weighted blankets can help you.