Mental health disorders are more common in children than many parents would like to think. Anxiety, depression, and ADHD are among the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children, and many of these conditions occur together.
More than 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States, according to the CDC, and more than 4 million have been diagnosed with anxiety. Before turning to medication, any responsible parent will consider the options. If your child is going to therapy, but you’re looking for a way to mitigate symptoms, a weighted blanket could help.
Weighted blankets are simply blankets made with weighted material sewn in, and they can provide an instant calming sensation for children dealing with all kinds of issues.
If you’re thinking about buying a weighted blanket for your child, keep reading to learn about the benefits and to receive tips for shopping. You’ll also see our top 7 picks for the best weighted blankets for kids that we recommend.
What is the Best Weighted Blanket for Kids?
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for Kids?
A weighted blanket is simply a blanket with weighted material sewn into it. If you’ve never heard of a weighted blanket before, this might sound a little strange. What you need to know, however, is that the weight of the blanket produces something called deep touch pressure (DTP) which stimulates serotonin production in the brain to reduce nervous system activity, calm anxiety, and improve sleep.
The benefits of weighted blankets can be enjoyed by both children and adults, though there are some risks of weighted blankets for certain age groups.
Weighted blankets are not safe for children under 1 year of age. The weight of a blanket could restrict an infant’s breathing or his ability to turn over. There are a few cases of death associated with weighted blankets, and there is some concern that using weighted blankets for children could increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Key Components of a Weighted Blanket for Kids
Most weighted blankets look alike, but there are some key differences you should know. The materials from which the blanket is made determines how much weight it retains and whether it adds a sensory experience or not. These are just a few of the details you need to think about.
Before getting into the details of the different components in weighted blankets for kids, you should be familiar with the different types. Here is an overview of the types of weighted blankets:
- Fully Sewn – This is a weighted blanket that is all one piece with no removable cover. These blankets are often made from cotton or a soft minky material.
- Removable Cover – These blankets consist of two different parts – the weighted component and a removable, washable cover. The cover itself may be made from a variety of materials.
- Box Construction – This is a construction in which the weighted material is sewn into even-sized squares, usually 4 to 6 inches in width. It is similar in appearance to a down comforter.
- Channel Construction – This construction features narrow channels filled with weighted material and generally offers more even distribution of weight than a box construction.
- Shoulder Blanket – Many weighted blankets for kids are designed to be used in bed, but there are also smaller blankets that can be draped across the child’s shoulders or lap.
Now that you have a better idea what kind of weighted blankets for kids are out there, how do you choose the right one? Think about the different components that make up a weighted blanket and choose the one that you think is right for your child.
Here is a summary of the different components of a weighted blanket for kids:
- Size – The size of the blanket should be determined by how you want to use it. Smaller blankets can be draped across the child’s lap or shoulders while larger blankets can be used in bed.
- Weight – The ideal weight for a weighted blanket for children is 10% of the child’s body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds. Most weighted blankets for kids weigh 3 to 7 pounds.
- Fabric – The fabric from which the blanket itself is constructed determines how much heat it retains. Some blankets are made from cotton or bamboo to stay cool while others are made from a minky material for a warmer and more sensory experience.
- Filler – Most weighted blankets use glass or plastic beads as the weighted material, though some utilize natural materials like rice or millet. Avoid any blankets weighted with lead.
- Cover – Many weighted blankets come with a removable cover which makes washing easy for you. Covers made from cotton are lightweight and breathable while minky covers provide more warmth and a tactile experience (especially if they have a dot pattern).
Many parents buy their children a weighted blanket to improve sleep or to reduce stress and anxiety. There is a great deal of research, however, that shows the benefits of weighted blankets for kids with a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions. Keep reading to learn more.
9 Conditions in Kids that Weighted Blankets May Help With
As a parent, all you want is for your child to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, many children struggle with mental disorders including anxiety, mood imbalances, attention deficits, anger issues, impulse control, sensory regulation, and more. For some children, these issues are part of a bigger problem. Regardless of your child’s specific diagnosis, using a weighted blanket may help provide a calming sensation when he needs it most.
Here are 9 conditions in kids that might benefit from weighted blankets:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Sensory processing disorder
- Behavioral problems
- Attention-deficit disorder (ADHD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
You must remember that weighted blankets are not designed to treat any medical conditions, but they can help mitigate your child’s symptoms. Talk to your doctor before using a weighted blanket and make sure you choose one that is the correct weight for your child.
The 7 Best Weighted Blankets for Kids
The best weighted blanket for 2-year-old children may be different from the blanket you choose for a 5-year-old. It all depends on your child’s size as well as the benefits you hope to provide. Taking what you’ve learned about weighted blankets in general, consider our top 7 picks for the best weighted blankets for kids reviewed below:
Overall Best Weighted Blanket for Kids: If you’re looking for a weighted blanket that comes in a wide variety of sizes and weights for children of all ages, try the Quility Premium Kids Weighted Blanket. This blanket comes in four different sizes and weights ranging from 7 to 30 pounds as well as several different colors. It features a unique 7-layer construction for supreme comfort using the most advanced sewing technology as well as high-quality materials to deliver a comforting experience. This blanket features a breathable cotton outer layer lined with polyester padding and is filled with premium micro glass beads. This structure prevents leakage and provides optimal temperature control. Plus, it comes with a minky cover for tactile sensation.
- Pros: Unique 7-layer construction for supreme comfort, comes with minky cover, excellent temperature regulation, premium micro glass beads, wide variety of sizes and weights
- Cons: May be too warm for some with cover, stitching may not hold up to heavy stress
6 More Top Rated Weighted Blankets for Kids
The weighted blanket reviewed above may be our top pick, but it isn’t necessarily the best weighted blanket for your child. Here are six more top-rated options for you to consider:
Brought to you buy one of the most popular weighted blanket brands on the market, this blanket is perfectly sized for children. Choose from weights ranging from 7 to 20 pounds and three different sizes so you can choose the perfect option for your child’s bed. This blanket is machine-washable for your convenience, and you can choose from three different covers. The cotton and bamboo covers are the most lightweight while the minky duvet cover provides a soft, sensory experience as well as added warmth. The blanket is surprisingly affordable and made with a quality 7-layer design to conform to your child’s body shape and ensure even distribution of weight.
- Pros: Unique 7-layer system conforms to body, choose from several face fabrics, use with or without cover, 5-inch box construction, premium glass beads, wide variety of sizes
- Cons: May not last as long with machine washing
To provide the ultimate sensory experience for your child, try this Roore 5-lb Children’s Weighted Blanket with Dotted Minky Cover. This weighted blanket features an inner blanket made from silky soft microfiber fabric and filled with hypoallergenic, odorless glass beads. The cover is made from ultra-soft minky fabric with a dotted pattern to provide a sensory experience. The blanket comes in two weights and three sizes, all priced under $70. The removable cover is machine-washable to maximize longevity.
- Pros: Microfiber fabric and hypoallergenic beads, soft minky cover with sensory dots, affordable price, removable, washable cover
- Cons: Only two weights to choose from, cover could use more ties to secure it
Whether you’re looking for a weighted blanket for 2-year-old children or older, the ZonLi Weighted Blanket for Youth and Kids offers a wide range of size and weight options. This blanket features a simple box construction made from breathable cotton materials and filled with polyester padding and hypoallergenic glass beads. It offers even weight distribution for ultimate comfort and is durably constructed to prevent leakage. You can choose from three different covers as well as a variety of different colors to perfectly match your child’s preferences.
- Pros: 100% cotton materials, wide range of sizes, non-toxic pellet materials, box-construction for even weight distribution, machine washable, several covers to choose from
- Cons: Fiber filling may make it too warm for some, may be smaller than expected
If you’re looking for a weighted blanket for kids that offers a durable construction and even distribution of weight, try the Hypnoser Weighted Blanket for Kids. This blanket features smaller diamond-shape pockets to ensure even weight distribution with new sewing technology to prevent leakage. It comes in four different sizes (Twin to King) and weights ranging from 3 pounds to 30 pounds. The blanket itself features premium materials in a neutral gray color, though a variety of covers are available for sale as well. The cover attaches with loops and is removable and machine washable.
- Pros: Highly affordable, smaller 4×4-inch pockets, even weight distribution, smaller tighter stitches for improved durability, very quiet during movement, removable, washable cover
- Cons: Cover not included (sold separately), limited color choices
Whether you’re looking for the best weighted blanket for anxiety in children or simply a product to help your child sleep better, the CMFRT Weighted Blanket for Kids is a great option. This weighted blanket features advanced uniform stitching and the smallest pockets in the industry to ensure even weight distribution and to prevent leakage. The blanket is engineered with the highest quality fabrics including 100% clima-cool cotton for breathability, and it is machine-washable to boot. Choose from two weights (5 and 7 pounds) and four different color combinations.
- Pros: High-quality materials, advanced sewing technology to prevent leaks, smallest pockets in the industry for even weight distribution, affordable price tag
- Cons: Only two weights and one size option
If you’re looking for a weighted blanket your child can sit with, try this Reach Therapy Solutions Weighted Lap Pad. It comes in three different weights (3, 5, and 7 pounds) and three sizes. This weighted lap pad is specifically designed for children, so it comes in a variety of bright colors and patterns. It features plush cotton and minky materials for maximum comfort and is filled with non-toxic, food-grade high-density poly pellets. Each blanket is hand-made and safe to machine wash and dry.
- Pros: Specifically designed for children, three weights and sizes, bright colors and patterns, plush cotton and minky materials, food-grade poly pellet filling, handmade, machine wash and dry
- Cons: Some variation due to handmade construction, not intended for sleeping
- Are weighted blankets safe for babies? – No. Weighted blankets are not safe for children under the age of 1 year (though some manufacturers recommend that children be at least 5 years old to use the blanket). Because one of the main benefits of a weighted blanket is improved sleep, many parents wonder if this type of blanket could help their infant sleep better, but the risks of weighted blankets for babies are very high. There have been several reports of deaths due to weighted blankets, and there is some connection between weighted blankets and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies under 6 months.
- How heavy should a weighted blanket be for a child? – The ideal weight for children and adults is slightly different. For children, choose a weighted blanket equal to 10% bodyweight plus 1 to 2 pounds. So, for a 30-to-50-pound child, you’d need a 4-to-7-pound blanket. A 50-to-70-pound child would need 6 to 9 pounds, and a 70-to-90-pound child would need 8 to 11 pounds. The math is fairly simple to figure out, and most manufacturers provide a weight chart.
- Are weighted blankets too hot? – Every weighted blanket is different, so some may be warmer than others, depending on the materials from which it is made. Many weighted blankets are made from cotton materials but come with a removable cover. Covers made from minky material are often warmer than cotton and may be too hot to use in the summer. If your child is prone to overheating, look for a weighted blanket for kids that is specifically made with cooling fabrics.
- What age is appropriate for a weighted blanket? – Weighted blankets are deemed safe for children and adults, but not for babies. Using a weighted blanket may increase the risk of sudden death in infants, particularly infants under 6 months of age. The lowest appropriate age for a weighted blanket is 1 year old.
Whether your child struggles with anxiety, ADHD, or another disorder, a weighted blanket might help. By creating a calming sensation, weighted blankets can help mitigate the symptoms of numerous psychiatric and mood disorders in addition to reducing general stress. You should still familiarize yourself with the risks of weighted blankets but know that these blankets can be beneficial for any child over the age of 1 year.
Weighted blankets come in all kinds of designs, so how do you choose just one? The truth is that the best weighted blanket for your child might be different than the best blanket for another child. It’s your job as a parent to understand your child’s needs and to make the best choice. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the 7 weighted blankets for kids we’ve reviewed above.