Weighted Blankets: The do’s and don’ts

For our son, a weighted blanket has been what I call a game changer. He was getting up 5+ times a night for no real reason. It was something I had heard of and considered but they can be pricey and it’s not like you get to try them out first. Well, after becoming overwhelming sleep deprived I took to the internet to learn everything I could. I found a store on Etsy called RedBarnBlankets, I felt like I had nothing to lose. I emailed with the owners and they provided me guidance on how to select the correct size and weight. My only regret was that I didn’t order it sooner! He slept 14 hours the first night!! As time has gone on he now needs a new one and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival – I cannot wait to sleep again. I bet he can’t wait to sleep again either. Let me be clear, I am not saying that these work for all children. I am only saying that it worked wonders for mine and I have had nothing but an excellent experience with RedBarnBlankets and the quality is outstanding. I do think allowing my son to pick his fabric made him excited to receive it and use it. As always, I am not a medical professional. I am solely a Momma sharing my journey and what has or has not worked for my son. I hope if you decide to order your child has the same positive experience. I have not been paid for sharing my experience with this company I just believe very strongly in their product, service, and how it has helped my son.

How to select a weighted blanket:

The following article is written by Irlanda Corrales – owner of Red Barn Blankets. With her permission I have shared it here because I think it is the best summary I have ever read and truly helpful regardless if this is your first time ordering or your sixth.

Not every weighted blanket is created equal. Here are a few things that your watch out for, when selecting your new blanket:

The Weight

Good Choice: People will use a wide variety of things in order to give the blanket weight. Most folks use small plastic pellets known as either polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE) or Copoly. These are generally a good choice because they are hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, do not have sharp edges and have a high heat tolerance so that they can be put in a washer or dryer without melting or giving off any toxic fumes.

Poor Choice: On the other hand, you will find a plethora of other materials being used as well. Some of the more common items are river stones, beach sand, black beans, rice, corn kernels or even various grains such as wheat or barley. While some of these may sound interesting or even attractive, they all share one or two common problems. Most of those items are organic, they are food stuffs and can very quickly become a place to harbor mites, bacteria and mold not to mention that someone may find themselves allergic to the materials themselves. The other problem is that, items like stones and sand are also porous and thus are more difficult to get completely dry, creating a place for mold to thrive.

The Stuffing

Good Choice: The majority of weighted blankets on the market use a synthetic polyfil (polyester). Polyester is a good filler for the same reason that the plastic pellets are good for weight, namely, that they are hypo-allergenic and tolerate washing and drying well. The other reason that a synthetic is good in weighted blankets is that they do not retain much heat, meaning the weighted blanket can be used throughout the year, even in warm weather.

Poor Choice: Just like with the weight, avoid blankets that use organic materials such as goose feathers or down, duck or any other type of bird feathers. The purpose of a weighted blanket is to provide weight, not warmth. You do not want your blanket to retain so much heat that it becomes unusable in the summer months. Also, you may come across some blankets that use no stuffing at all, just weights. This may be alright, but in general the stuffing provides two benefits. Firstly, it helps to keep the pellets from rolling around and clumping in a corner and thus keeps the weight more evenly distributed. Secondly, it provides, and this is very important, the softness and hugability that children love in a blanket. Without the stuffing it can be very uncomfortable to lay on when you go to sleep.

The Fabric

Good Choice: A quality weighted blanket will use quality fabric and thread. While this may be very difficult to judge prior to purchase it is an important consideration. A weighted blanket is definitely an investment and like any investment you don't want to have to replace it before you've barely had a chance to use it. Make certain the fabric is the same type that you would use to make a quilt and not a very thin or inexpensive fabric designed for another purpose.

Poor Choice: Of course, there is going to far...denim or burlap are certainly tough, heavy duty fabrics but they are not generally fun to cuddle with. Especial for people on the autism spectrum, sensation is a critical factor to consider. We offer a range of products from cotton, to fleece, flannel and minky (both with and without dimples) in order to make certain our customers can find something appropriate.

The Sewing

Good Choice: Your weighted blanket should have professional stitching. Does that mean I shouldn't buy from someone who makes it in their home? No, not at all, it simply means that the stitching should be straight, there should not be any loose ends, the corners should be back-stitched or short-stitched, ends should all be tied off, there shouldn't be any skipped stitches. The edges of the blanket should have double-stitched borders to keep any pellets from sneaking out. In larger blankets such as queen or king size where the width is greater than 44 inches, check to make certain that if there is a pattern, it has been properly aligned. One other thing to look for is the size of the square. In general the smaller the better, squares shouldn't be larger than about 5.25", the reason for this is weight distribution, the smaller the squares, the more even is the weight distribution.

The Size

Just some advice here. When you purchase a weighted blanket try to get one that will not hang over the edge of the mattress. Because of the weight, if the blanket hangs over the edge of the mattress during the night it will pull itself off the bed and end up on the floor (several times!). Now while you might easily grab a normal blanket with one hand and yank it back onto the bed in the middle of the night, I can promise that your shoulder will get quite the shock when it tries to do that with a blanket that weighs 15 - 30 pounds!

The Cautions

Please always remember that a weighted blanket should never be used to restrain a child, it is not a punishment! Also remember it is not a toy, a weighted blanket should not be used as a play tent for children and it should never be put into a crib with an infant. be smart, be safe. If you have any questions concerning the appropriate pressure for your weighted blanket please consult your physician, occupational therapist or other medical authority.
I hope you found this article to be useful, please share it with your friends, co-workers or anyone else who is considering a weighted blanket.

Irlanda Corrales - Owner
Red Barn Blankets