Weighted Blankets - Why & How to find the right one for you or your child
You cannot walk into a big box store or jump on Amazon without coming across a weighted blanket. The concept was first brought up to us at one of my daughter’s Occupational Therapy appointments when we started exploring weight and compression items for home therapy use. They provide a much needed feedback for those who are sensory seekers and weighted items have become a staple in our household. Whether it’s weighted lap pads, toys, or vests, weighted items can have a valuable place in helping your child or you to regulate sensory wise.
That said, what’s interesting is that the weighted blanket is in fact an American invention. What most companies don’t want you to know (and honestly, I didn’t until some amazing Autistic Advocates shared about this company), is that in 1998, Keith Zivalich had the concept of creating a weighted blanket after his daughter put a beanie baby on his shoulder and he had the spark of a though of what if that weight could be put in a blanket that would hug you back? He went on to make his weighted blankets as a family company in the USA and has done so for 21 years.
As far as it goes with the ‘competitors’ in the space, we have owned some of the weighted blankets in this market space, and you may have noticed that I’ve never wrote about them. There’s a few good reasons.
All of the blankets we tried before the original Magic Weighted Blanket had some key flaws. Let’s talk about a few of them.
- Quality of Materials
If we are going to talk items that are going to be for therapy use in our home, I want them well made, of quality materials, and not leave me questioning leaving an item with my child. There was a particular blanket that was sent to me for consideration that had glass beads that would pool in the sewn channels creating heavy spots. While this may not seem like a big deal- if we are talking a 5 or 7 lb weighted blanket on a small body, pooling weight can cause bruising, be unsafe on chests, and give too much feedback which will disrupt sleep/regulating. The Magic Weighted Blanket is made with BPA-free, non-toxic, hypo-allergenic polypropylene pellets. All the weighted blankets I’ve looked at other than this brand are made in China and do not take the time or care to choose safe materials like Magic Weighted Blanket does.
- Care With Design
While some blankets seem to be a better “deal” they often come without covers, or when they do they aren’t sensory pleasing. If my child can’t stand the feel of the cover of a blanket, it’s not going to get used. I was so impressed by the washable cover that is included in your purchase of a magic weighted blanket. According to my 4 year old “it’s the softest soft ever”. We tried out the popular Chenille cover and it feels like a minky blanket that is perfectly fluffed. The fibers aren’t so long that they will mat and lose it’s lustre. I love the rosette style design in the fibers which makes it look new use after use. I was shocked to find out that blankets are made to order and typically ship within 3 days of purchase. There also was no assembly required with our blanket.
There was one particular blanket off Amazon that we tried out. It was highly rated and what was most frustrating to me was that the cover was thin, scratchy, and after a couple uses it was clear that this product wasn’t meant to be lived with. If you were to replace these $80 blankets annually (which we would have to do with how much my child uses ours), we would have spent more than investing in a quality blanket that was made in the United States by a family made company that happens to come with a lifetime warranty. Not to mention the fact that if you happen to order the wrong size, they include free return shipping on exchanges.
When we started to navigate the space of weighted blankets, it was so easy to fall into the big box store trap, or the low cost of some other blankets. Don’t make that mistake. Also, if you haven’t had success with a weighted blanket before, let me share some of our tricks and tips on how to make this investment really work for you.
Get the right size
One thing you don’t find expressed in the big box stores or on Amazon per say, is the fact that if your blanket is too heavy or too light, you may not find any sensory benefit, or it could even make you uncomfortable. Heavier does not mean better. Also, please consult your doctor before using any weighted or compression item on young children. There are a lot of factors at play with a child’s core strength, sleeping habits, and the safety of sleeping with a weighted item. If you choose to have a child keep one in their bed while sleeping, there are risks as with any bedtime item.
You’ll find in the pictures where we have our blanket shown, it does not cover a twin size bed. Weighted blankets aren’t meant to replace your bedspread. The size of your weighted blanket should cover you. If your blanket is mostly spread out on the bed and not covering you, the weight isn’t distributed properly. It should literally feel like a light hug. Not heavy enough to feel like it’s pressing on your chest or that it’s squishing you. If you’re looking for a blanket that just gives light pressure, or if you’re very sensitive sensory wise, check out the Magic Lite. It’s a great alternative to a 15+ lb blanket and still have a larger size to wrap up in as an adult.
This means though, that if you and your sleeping partner want a weighted blanket, you need to realize that you both will need one that corresponds to your personal height/weight, and you will sleep with your own blanket.
Use it as a part of your tool kit
We tend to keep our weighted blankets in our bedrooms since usually that’s where we also keep our sensory tool kits. What belongs in your sensory tool kit will vary greatly depending on what is comforting and regulating for you or your child. We love noise cancelling headphones, chewy tubes, slow rise squeeze toys, playdough, coloring books with crayons, compression clothing, and sour or minty candies for oral feedback. Having a safe space where noise and sensory input can be throttled is a big part of how we are modeling to our kids ways to regulate in a world that is not sensory friendly.
However, there are times that we bring them in the car with us for long drives, or as a calming transition after tough activities like after doctor appointments, field trips, and other sensory challenging situations. They are fantastic for traveling or huge changes in routine (like a long thanksgiving day outside the home or noisy holidays).
Now is the part you’ve been waiting for right? Magic Weighted Blanket has been so supremely wonderful in giving a 16 lb Chenille blanket that matches the one in the photos as a very special giveaway! To enter use the link below. Be sure to head over to Magic Weighted Blanket on Instagram and show them some love. Also, if you know someone interested in purchasing a Weighted Blanket, be sure to share this post with them so they can learn some helpful tips on how to select one and use one!
This post’s giveaway was done in collaboration with www.magicweightedblanket.com. I contacted them when I decided to create a post about how helpful weighted blankets are for our family especially since they are the original creators and ground breakers in this field. I have not been paid for my review or this post. They were happy to provide a blanket for the giveaway for one of my followers though. Be sure to go show them some love and to enter for this incredible giveaway at the end of this post!
Also, I’m not a doctor. I’m a parent who is sharing what works for me and our family. So, be sure to talk with your therapists or health care providers with any concerns you may have before making a decision especially for young children.