Are Weighted Blankets Safe to Use Every Day?
In the last couple of years, weighted blankets have become extremely popular. When you consider all of the health benefits they provide, it's no surprise. Weighted blankets reduce insomnia, relieve pain from fibromyalgia, and decrease anxiety, among several other health conditions. If you're considering purchasing a weighted blanket for yourself or a loved one, you might be wondering if they're safe to use every day. The good news is research shows that, yes, they are safe and have very few risks.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the safety of weighted blankets and explore why they're a safe option for home use. When we're done, you'll know everything you need to make an educated decision on which weighted blanket to purchase for you or your loved one. Enjoy.
Weighted Blankets Are Exceptionally Safe
Over the last few years, there have been several studies about the health benefits of weighted blankets. All of them have found that, indeed, they do provide excellent benefits for a wide range of health problems. These studies have also shown that there are very few risks when using a weighted blanket.
The truth is, a weighted blanket is simply a regular blanket that's been manufactured to be heavier and provide extra weight for the user. This extra weight is what provides a weighted blanket's health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and restless leg syndrome, among others.
For the average adult, teenager, and even children, weighted blankets pose no risk whatsoever. They're simply heavier than a regular blanket. In fact, they're quite similar to a blanket a person might use in the winter to provide more warmth when sleeping. Like a regular blanket, a weighted blanket is simply laid over the top of your body while you're sleeping. They're not electric, they aren't filled with anything harmful and they don't weigh so much as to be crushing.
Choosing the Correct Weight for Your Weighted Blanket
If there's one small risk that weighted blankets have, it's a blanket that's too heavy for a small child. For example, you wouldn't want to use the heaviest weighted blanket for your six-year-old child because it might be too heavy and make them uncomfortable. The risk that they could suffocate is incredibly small except for toddlers under 3 years old. (More about that in just a moment.)
For everyone in your home to be comfortable using a weighted blanket, choosing the correct weight is important. Here are a few tips to help you make the correct choice:
- Whoever you're buying the weighted blanket for, it should be between 5% and 10% of their body weight. For example, if your teenage son or daughter weighs 100 pounds, you should purchase a weighted blanket that's between 5 and 10 pounds.
- Adults who are in generally good health with no mobility problems can use the same 5% to 10% rule. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should purchase a weighted blanket that's between 7 and 15 pounds. If you weigh 200 pounds, a weighted blanket between 10 and 20 pounds would be best.
- For an older adult suffering from, for example, arthritis, a lighter weighted blanket is suggested. For them, a weighted blanket between 5 and 15 pounds is a good suggestion.
- Any weighted blanket you choose should be slightly smaller than the bed where it will be used. Unlike a regular blanket, it doesn't need to hang over the sides of the bed. Indeed, this is discouraged because it can fall off more easily if it's too large.
One thing you want to keep in mind when purchasing a weighted blanket is you want to make it easy to toss to the side if needed. For example, some people might get a little too hot under a weighted blanket and want to take it off in the middle of the night. Making sure it's not too heavy to easily do that is a good idea, especially for a younger, smaller person.
What Are the Risks of Using a Weighted Blanket?
As we mentioned earlier, there are very few risks when using a weighted blanket. Researchers have found them to be exceptionally safe for practically everyone to use regularly. That being said, certain conditions might make it slightly risky to use a weighted blanket. Here are a few conditions that you should keep in mind when considering a weighted blanket:
A person who suffers from sleep apnea should probably not use a weighted blanket. Sleep apnea causes a disruption of breathing when a person is sleeping and a weighted blanket might make their symptoms worse.
Asthma is a condition where a person's airway narrows and swells, which can produce extra mucus and make breathing difficult. It can also trigger coughing and shortness of breath, especially when sleeping. For this reason, a weighted blanket is not recommended for anyone who suffers from asthma.
People who suffer from claustrophobia can experience mild to severe anxiety when placed in a confined space. The weight of a weighted blanket can sometimes trigger the same response and, for this reason, isn't recommended for people who suffer from claustrophobia.
Children Under 3 Years of Age or Who Weigh Less than 50 Pounds
While this isn't technically a "condition", it is recommended that any child under three years old or who weighs less than 50 pounds not use a weighted blanket. The reason is simply that there is a slight risk of suffocation. Frankly, it's not a huge risk and there have been very few incidences of children suffocating under a weighted blanket. Still, there is a slight risk and, for that reason, children under 3 or who weigh less than 50 pounds shouldn't use a weighted blanket.
The Risks Of Weighted Blankets for Babies and Toddlers
We would be remiss if we didn't touch on this subject again, just for safety's sake. The fact is, using a weighted blanket is extremely helpful for many health conditions. Also, as we've talked about, it's incredibly safe and extremely low risk for practically everyone. Children with ASD and ADHD have used weighted blankets with much success and a significant reduction in their symptoms. They help them to sleep better at night and get through their days much more easily.
That being said, when it comes to babies and toddlers, a weighted blanket should not be used. As we mentioned above, any child under three years of age or who weighs less than 50 pounds shouldn't use a weighted blanket. The risk of suffocation, while not incredibly high, does exist. While it is very small, the last thing that we would ever wish on anyone is that their precious child was harmed in some way.
Research Shows That Weighted Blankets Are Safe
As we've mentioned, many studies have been done on weighted blankets to determine their benefits for a wide variety of health conditions. None of those studies has ever shown weighted blankets to be a danger of any kind except to, as we mentioned, very small children.
For example, the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders found them to be safe and effective. Then there's another study that concluded that weighted blankets are both effective and safe in reducing adult anxiety. Another study in 2010 specifically looked at children and weighted blankets. It concluded that they were both effective and safe. There was also another study in 2014 that showed no adverse effects when children were using weighted blankets.
The reason we provide all of this information and links to studies is simply that, for anyone worried, we want to prove that weighted blankets are indeed safe. Even better, they're extremely effective for a wide variety of health conditions including anxiety, restless leg syndrome, ASD, ADHD, insomnia, and several others.
The truth is, there are very few home remedies that are safer than a weighted blanket. They're very easy to use, provide excellent benefits, and can be safely used by almost everyone. The risks that they do have are very slight and only affect a very small amount of the adult population. For children over three years old who weigh 50 pounds or more, they're also safe and effective.
While this doesn't have a lot to do with the safety of weighted blankets, it can still be helpful. Just like any blanket, a weighted blanket can get stained and dirty over time. Since they're quite heavy, washing them in your home washing machine might be difficult (if not impossible). For that reason, we recommend that you purchase a duvet cover to put over your weighted blanket. That way, if it gets dirty or stained, you can simply take off the duvet cover and wash that instead. Also, it can be helpful if you or the person using the weighted blanket has allergies. You'll be able to wash it more easily and more often.