5 Best Weighted Blankets for Autism – 2020

Best Weighted Blankets - boy

Weighted sensory blankets have becoming popular with for kids with sensory issues. Used by parents to soothe their autistic children, sensory blankets can also help those who struggle with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, insomnia, and anxiety. Sensory blankets are popular because they are a non-medication treatment for children who have special sensory needs. That’s why we have reviewed the 5 Best Weighted Blankets for Autism.

There are two reasons a weighted blanket helps to induce calm in children and adults alike.

First, these blankets envelope the body,  creating a sense of security. You can liken this effect to swaddling a newborn. Newborn babies prefer to be wrapped tightly. It comforts fussy infants. 

Weighted Blankets - infant 2

Second, the gentle pressure created by a weighted blanket triggers the release of oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone”.   

There aren’t many independent studies of these sensory blankets; however, they rate highly with many parents who swear by their effectiveness.  Weighted products for children with sensory conditions are commonly used by occupational therapists. 

There are a couple of studies worth looking at:  Swedish researchers reported that men and women who suffered from insomnia reported improved sleep quality and a decrease of nighttime restlessness after using a weighted blanket for a 2 week period.   

A separate study in 2015 found that, of 32 adults using s a 30-pound blanket, 63% reported lower anxiety. 78% of these adults reported a preference of a weighted blanket over a traditional type. 

Choosing the right sensory blanket for your child might be a little overwhelming due to the sheer number available on the market. That’s why we have reviewed the 5 Best Weighted Blankets for Autism.

Best Weighted Blankets - calm girl

After our product reviews below,  you will find additional information on the benefits of weighted blankets, how they work, and details to consider before selecting the right one for your child. 

Hazli Kids Weighted Blanket 

Features:

  • Removable Cover 
  • 2 size/weight options
  • 4 color options
  • 9 layers
  • 100% cotton
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Microglass bead filling
  • Machine washable cover
  • Award-winning

The Hazli Kids Weighted Blanket was effective in helping kids fall asleep more quickly and wake in a better mood.  In addition to its gentle pressure, the minky fabric creates a sense of safety and comfort.

 

 

Best Weighted Blankets - Hazli
Courtesy of Hazli

We like the quality of this blanket. It appears to be well-constructed, with consistent stitching and sturdy fabric. While the fabric seems durable, it is still soft and cozy feeling.

Something important to consider when choosing a weighted blanket, especially with kids, is the ability to keep it clean and fresh. This Hazli sensory blanket is machine washable, making it a breeze to clean. 

BUZIO Kids Fleece Weighted Blanket

Features:

  • 5 size/weight options
  • 4 color options
  • Fleece fabric
  • 7 layers
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 30-day refund guarantee
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Micro-glass bead filling

The BUZIO Weighted Blanket is made from a fuzzy fleece material that keeps kids warm and cozy. The plush fabric is made from a super-soft 100% polyester. Don’t be turned off by the polyester. This weighted blanket feels natural and doesn’t over-heat.

Best Weighted Blankets - BUZIO
Courtesy of BUZIO

BUZIO’s adorable unicorn prints (4 options) are appealing to kids. The colors are vibrant and the cartoon graphics are friendly.

The micro-glass beads are evenly distributed within a quilt-like design, and the beads stay put.

It’s machine washable and can be dried on low heat. We recommend air drying it, though, to preserve its colors and ensure a long life.

Sivio Weighted Blanket for Kids

Features: 

  • 100% breathable natural cotton
  • 18 pattern options
  • 4 size options
  • 7 layer
  • Micro-glass bead filling
  • 4 inch baffles

On inspection of the Sivio Weighted Blanket we found that, in addition to micro-glass beads, the blanket is filled with batting.  The additional stuffing makes it thicker than your average weighted blanket.

 

Best Weighted Blankets - Sivio
Courtesy of Sivio

The baffle boxes are evenly filled, ensuring an evenly distributed weight. It washes well, and seems to stand up well with being frequently tossed in the washer.

The most unique quality of the Silvio blanket are the adorable animal patterns that come in several colors. These are sure to thrill younger children. 

A downside of the Sivio is that, while the fabric can’t be described as rough, it isn’t as soft as its competitors’. There was some fading of its bright colors after washing it, but the quality is good overall.

LUNA Kids Weighted Blanket

Features:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • 100% Cotton
  • 21 color/pattern options
  • 15 size options
  • Micro-glass bead filling
  • Machine washable 
  • 7 layers

This Weighted Blanket by LUNA is made from a soft 100% cotton fabric.  While the fabric is breathable, those whose kids are “hot sleepers” may find Florensi Weighted Blanket a cooler option. 

Best Weighted Blankets - LUNA
Courtesy of LUNA

The LUNA is offered in a slew of sizes, which makes it usable by kids, teens, and adults alike.  LUNA blankets are effective in reducing muscle pain and help to calm restlessness, including restless leg symptoms for those adults who struggle legs that won’t stop.

They also offer duvet covers that can be easily removed for washing.

The weight distributes evenly while you sleep, but beads do tend to eventually gather in the corners or sides. While we prefer smaller baffling, which keep the weighted beads in place, this blanket is still usable and comfortable. Fortunately there wasn’t any issue with bead leakage.

Nicely packaged and well-made, the LUNA is definitely worth calling out among its competitors.

Florensi Weighted Blanket for Kids

Features:

  • 100% Cotton
  • Removable Duvet 
  • 2 fabric options 
  • Storage Bag included
  • Micro-glass bead filling
  • Machine washable

The Florensi Weighted Blanket for Kids is constructed with two separate fabrics. One side is made with a soft minky fabric that boasts a constellation pattern, sure to be a favorite with kids who are fascinated by all things space-oriented. The other side is silky and cool. 

The textured fabric may be helpful for your child, depending on what type of textures soothe them. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that children with sensory issues can vary greatly in aversion to certain sensations, so it’s important to know what types of sensations are bothersome to your child.

 

Best Weighted Blankets - Florensi
Courtesy of Florensi

The Florensi comes in a nice package which makes it a great choice if you plan to gift a weighted blanket. Its quality is clearly high based on a review of the fabric and the stitching. It’s also a good choice for those looking for something economical.

While this weighted blanket for kids cozy in cool weather, it doesn’t get too hot in the summer. The fabric Florensi uses in this weighted blanket does make a crinkling sound but we don’t find it annoying or distracting. Still, consider whether or not your child is sensitive to certain types of audio stimuli. 

This Florensi model comes with a cover, so no need to buy one separately.  

Choosing the Right Weighted Blanket

So you’ve decided you’re in the market to buy a weighted blanket for your child. Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding on the right one for him or her.

The first essential to know is that weighted blankets should not be used for infants or toddlers. There can be safety issues related to using one with children of this age. It’s best to hold off until your toddler is a little older (pre-school aged) before investing in one.

 

Weighted Blankets - toddlerWhen looking for the right blanket, remember to choose the right weight for your child. Manufacturers and therapists recommend choosing one that weighs about 10% of your child’s weight.  While this is a rule of thumb, each child differs and they may need one that is slightly lighter or heavier.

Make sure to check the manufacturer’s return policy, so if necessary, you can trade it in for a different weight.

When choosing your child’s blanket, make sure it fits his or her body rather than the size of the bed.  For example, if a blanket is described as being “twin” size, don’t expect it to cover a twin bed.  Base your decision on your child’s size, so that it covers them entirely, but doesn’t drape over the bed.

Be aware of your child’s sensitivities to certain fabrics. Sensory seekers may love a fleece or chenille, while kids who are particularly sensitive may find the touch annoying and distracting.

Bottom line, the most important thing in choosing a blanket is what works for your child.  You may need to try a few out before finding a perfect match.

How Weighted Blankets Work

Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) is well-known to occupational therapists who work with children who have sensory issues. The pressure exerted by this type of therapy feels like a firm but gentle squeezing – like a comforting hug.  This gentle pressure induces muscle relaxation.

Best Weighted Blankets - sleep child

In therapy, pressure can be applied with the hands, massage tools, or other products. One of the products that can work in your home is a weighted blanket.  They don’t necessarily have to be used only a bedtime. Kids can snuggle up with them on the couch for that sense of security and calming pressure.   

How does DPS work? The sympathetic nervous system has a variety of functions. One of them is the regulating the fight or flight response. The sympathetic nervous system keeps us prepared to face a threat, whether real or imagined.

Kids with autistic spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorders, and ADHD seem to spend a lot of time stuck in their sympathetic nervous mode. This creates a situation where they are very easily triggered to react when faced with uncomfortable stimuli.

Benefits of Weighted Blankets

According to an article written in Forbes, “Weighted blankets can also alleviate symptoms in people suffering from insomnia, chronic pain conditions or restless leg syndrome. They’re good for deeper psychological reasons, too, with potential benefits for those suffering from depression and, as previously mentioned, autism.”

Weighted Blankets - child

Not all individuals will experience benefits from DPS, but many do. For those kids who do benefit from DPS, they may experience some of the following:

  • a sense of calm and reduced anxiety
  • improved mood
  • improved social interactions
  • improved social communication
  • better sleep
  • improved focus
  • decrease in hypersensitivity to touch
  • ability to tolerate crowds and large groups of peers 
  • decrease in self-injurious behavior
  • reduced over-stimulation
  • Improved ability to manage emotions
  • settling down after outbursts
  • reduced symptoms of restless legs syndrome

We did find one study that contradicted all the fanfare about weighted blankets and their use for people with autism. A 2014 randomized controlled trial of 67 participants concluded, “The use of a weighted blanket did not help children with ASD sleep for a longer period of time, fall asleep significantly faster or wake less often. However, the weighted blanket was favored by children and parents, and blankets were well-tolerated over this period.”

You know your child best. Before committing to purchase a weighted blanket, try covering them with several blankets and see if it makes a difference.  Ask them how they feel when enveloped under pressure.  Knowing your kid and listening to what makes them feel better is the best guide you can go on.

Sensory swings are another tool used by parents for their children with autism. Check out our review here.

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