If your child has Sensory Processing Disorder, you may have been recommended to buy them a weighted blanket*. But just what is a weighted blanket, and how can you tell if it will be helpful for your child?
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is just a heavy blanket, right? It’s actually a bit more complicated.
Weighted blankets come in a variety of weights to suit the person who will be using the blanket. Weighted blankets can weigh anywhere from five pounds to 25 pounds! So, how can you tell which weight is best for your child?
The key to choosing the right weight is to figure out what ten percent of your child’s body weight is. Take this number and add a pound or two. This is how heavy the blanket should be. So, for example, if your child weighs 80 pounds, then the blanket should weigh around ten pounds. It’s also important to note that the heavier a blanket is, the bigger it will be. Of course, it will ultimately come down to what your child feels most comfortable with. If it seems that the blanket is too heavy or not heavy enough, then it’s best to replace the blanket with a better fit.
Buying a Weighted Blanket: What to Look for
Weighted blankets can be made from many different types of fabric. For a child with sensory processing issues, this can make or break their experience with the blanket. Some blankets are simply made with cotton fabric, while others can be made with soft, textured materials. Be sure to let your child weigh in on what feels best to them.
Most companies use very safe materials to weigh down the blankets. These can range from poly-pellets, glass beads, or steel shot beads. Some even use rice or barley! A good weighted blanket will be stitched in sections so that all of the filler can’t end up on one side of the blanket.
Finally, be sure to check the cleaning instructions for the weighted blanket. Some weighted blankets can be machine washed at home, but others will require dry cleaning. If it is especially important that you are able to wash the blanket at home, be sure to check the cleaning instructions before making a purchase.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
*Always remember to consult with an occupational therapist or other qualified healthcare professional before purchasing any medical equipment, such as a weighted blanket.