- Posted by MCRC Staff
- On February 18, 2020
For many people, weighted blankets have become a routine part of stress relief and healthy sleep habits, and for good reason. Research suggests weighted blankets may benefit people with anxiety, autism, and insomnia, among other conditions.
Compression garments are elastic clothing with an engineered compression gradient that can be worn on limbs, upper, lower, or full body to use for therapy and play.
Let’s explore the difference between weighted blankets and compression garments as well as the benefits and best practices when using them.
Weighted Vest vs a Compression Garment
- Choose compression garments instead of weighted ones for kiddos with low muscle tone
- A swim suit can be worn under clothing to get added proprioceptive input to the body
- Weighted vests need to be periodically removed after 20 minutes to gain full benefit
- 10% of body weight is recommended for a vest
Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
- Boosts serotonin and melatonin levels to help alleviate anxiety and stress
- Helps provide calming input to those with sensory processing difficulties
- Simulates being hugged, swaddled or cuddled
- Provides extra warmth
- Helps promote focus due to a restful night of sleep or within the classroom when used as a lap blanket
- Can be used to help those with PTSD, Restless Leg Syndrome or Fibromyalgia pain
- Reduces cortisol (stress) levels therefore boosting one’s mood for improved emotional health
- Most children prefer about 15% of their body weight to be used in a weighted blanket
- When using a weighted blanket, a child should be able to put it on and remove it themselves. Their head and neck should remain free at all times.
- Although a minor, the child must also consent to the use of the cover. Any sign of refusal, verbal or nonverbal, must be respected. The calming effect of a weighted blanket works best when it is self-administered.
- Weighted blankets must never be used as a restraint (including rolling a child up in a blanket, using a very heavy blanket on a child); doing so can be fatal.
- Children should not use blankets weighted for an adult or a child much larger than they are.
- Never use a weighted blanket on infants or children younger than 2yo; doing so can be fatal. If they are having trouble sleeping, please consult your healthcare provider for other options.
- Children suffering from any of the following conditions should not use a weighted blanket: diabetes, circulation issues, respiratory issues (asthma, sleep apnea, etc.), temperature regulation issues, and anyone with compromised skin conditions (open wound, rash, fragile skin, etc.)
- Always check arms/hands & legs/feet for any discoloration
Weighted Blanket Options and Variations
- Types of fillers can be either glass, steel, plastic or poly pellets
- Some are water resistant, moisture wicking, or water proof
- Some have removable washable covers
- Some are designed to have cooling properties
- Broad range of fabrics (important consideration with sensory issues)
The views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MCRC and any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk.