Weighted blankets were initially restricted to hospitals and therapeutic centers, but today, everyone uses it. This is because they have been designed to stimulate the benefits of deep touch pressure therapy. The weighted blankets are effective in the treatment of stress-related and sensory processing disorders. It has been proven to work for both children and adults. Despite the numerous advantages, weighted blankets have associated side effects that you hardly hear about.
The added weight of the weighted blanket has numerous therapeutic benefits. However, the same weighted blanket can lead to a certain degree of associated risks when used. This is especially evident in the children and the elderly whose bodies are frail. The children and elderly require extra supervision when using a weighted blanket to avoid hazards that may result from the extra weight added to them.
This post discusses the reasons why the weighted blanket could cause problems and the possible side effects that may result from its use. In addition to that, it will give simple but effective safety measures that can be used to avert any dangers. For more information on weighted blankets, kindly check on the guidelines for weighted blankets.
Why would weighted blankets be hazardous
Weighted blankets are generally safe to use. However, the side effects of weighted blankets kick in when users disregard the recommended usage instructions. These could be instructions from the manufacturers or from their doctors.
Weighted blankets bear some weight which is a bit higher than the normal blanket. When these blankets are used without considering the recommended weight, the results are unpleasant. This is particularly risky for children under 2 years and adults with frail bodies.
Possible Side Effects of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are generally meant to give users a good night of sleep. They are meant to calm users who experience restless nights. But in some rare cases, it results in unfavorable conditions that may harm the user or cause death. Some of the notable side effects of the weighted blankets include:
May lead to suffocation of users
Users covering themselves with weighted blankets may be suffocated at night. This is particularly evident if users use the blanket to cover their faces at night. It is also a possibility if an overweight weighted blanket is used. This is true for children and the elderly.
Other victims of this problem are people with claustrophobia, sleep apnea, asthma, and blood pressure problems. Their use of a weighted blanket should be strictly under the recommendation of a doctor.
The general rule is to use a weighted blanket that is 10 percent of the weight of the body. That means that if one measures 100 pounds, the weighted blanket should be 10 pounds. However, a provision is given where an extra one or two pounds can be added or subtracted from the blanket. Exceeding this recommendation can be fatal to the user unless they are genuinely comfortable sleeping under more weight.
May lead to an allergic reaction
Many weighted blankets are made of a mixture of materials. A bulk of these materials is cotton wool and the inner weights that make the blanket heavy. These materials could react with skin especially for hypersensitive people. The inner weights that are mostly used include micro glass beads, plastic poly pellets, steel shot beads, sand, grains such as rice and beans, and river stones and pebbles. These inner fillings can result in different reactions by the skin.
Many manufacturers have overcome this by making hypoallergenic weighted blankets that hardly react with the skin. Therefore, users who have skin issues should be keen when buying a weighted blanket.
Worsen conditions for patients with diabetes, open wound or rashes
The use of a weighted blanket to complement a medical treatment should be done strictly under the doctor’s guidance. Weighted blankets do not always give positive results. Anyone with special conditions should do so under close supervision, especially for diabetic patients. This is because the weighted blankets can result in drastic changes in temperatures, which if not monitored can worsen the conditions of the patients.
Can be a breeding ground for bacteria, molds, and mites
Weighted blankets with organic fillings are common. These include rice, corn kernels, and grains such as beans, wheat, and barley. Often times, these fillings are good until a point when the blanket is old, or exposed mistakenly to water and never dried well. The resultant effect is a damp environment that will act as a breeding ground for bacteria and molds. This condition leads to several unpleasant side effects that include allergy, skin irritation, nasal blocks, and subsequently a myriad of diseases.
Safety tips against weighted blankets side effects
Weighted blankets are completely safe and effective to use. However, to avoid uncertainties, it is good to take enough precautions. The precautionary tips are listed below.
- Ensure that you choose the right size and weight of weighted blankets for every member of the family. Never allow co-sharing. For children, ensure that they can move freely within the blanket and can easily remove it on their own.
- Resist the urge to use the weighted blanket on infants under two years. The warmth and weight of the weighted blanket and overwhelm the infants leading to fatality.
- Children and the elderly should use the blanket under the doctor’s recommendation. This should be under the strict supervision of a trained therapist.
- Care should be taken when using weighted blankets on patients suffering from asthma, lung disorders, sleep apnea or COPD. This is because the weighted blankets exert significant pressure on the chest, which might be overwhelming for the patients and may lead to fatalities.
- Ensure that you choose the right fillings for your weighted blanket. Whenever possible, try to avoid organic materials fillings like rice, corn kernels, and grains such as beans and barley. The lifespan of such weighted blankets is so short. It also acts as breeding grounds for bacteria and mites. This is especially if not dried well. The grains can also cause allergic reactions to the skin and in some cases, may cause skin infections and rashes. These weighted blankets are best avoided because of their potential side effects.
- Always observe how stitches have been sewn on the blanket. The blanket should be completely sealed at the edges to prevent the fillings from coming out. The patterns of blocks or squares should be smaller and evenly distributed on the blanket. The size is preferably smaller than 5.25 inches to ensure that the inner fillings are well distributed, and hence ensuring the weight is evenly distributed on the blanket.
- Weighted blankets can some times get extremely warm resulting in overheating. While choosing a blanket, often go for blankets with neutral fillings such as glass beads or poly pellets. Ensure also that the material used is highly breathable to ensure that there is a free flow of air.
- Take good care of your blanket always to guarantee its service for the long term. Always lookout for a tear that may result in spilled beads, and ensure that it is repaired immediately. If the blanket is extremely worn out, replacing it is the only option.
What to buy in case you need weighted blanket
Lost on which weighted blanket is the best fit for you? We recommend that you buy a Quility Premium Weighted Blanket & Removable Cover from Amazon. The blanket is the best as it comes with its own cover and is available for both adults and children. The removable cover is good to add extra warmth. It can be removed during summer when the temperatures are beyond the roof. It will also ensure that your weighted blanket is kept clean, and reduce the number of washing for your weighted blanket per year. This way, your blanket remains intact for a long time. The weighted blanket is also made up of 7 layers to make it strong, intact, and comfortable for use for a long time.
A weighted blanket is one of the greatest treatment inventions for sleep-related disorders. A weighted blanket is the best non-treatment solution to your sleep-related problems and is highly recommended by the therapists. However, in some cases, the weighted blanket may cause side effects that can result in bodily harm. This is often caused by poor selection or extreme body reaction. However, it can be avoided since a weighted blanket should give you better sleep, rather than causing you to lose one. This post has listed ways in which you can use to avoid the extreme effects that may result from poor selection of a weighted blanket. In addition, a recommendation has been given for a perfect weighted blanket that can be bought in case you haven’t made up your mind on which one to go with.