Can a Baby Safely Use a Weighted Blanket?

by Alescia Ford MS OTR/L, ATP June 06, 2019

baby weighted blanket blog post

The short but definitive answer is NO.

Weighted Blankets for Babies are Unsafe

Painfully sleepless nights are likely prompting you to research weighted blanket options for your baby. Unfortunately, you’ll have to endure a bit longer before your child can safely use a weighted blanket to help them fall and stay asleep.

Infants, babies, and even toddlers should be placed on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS (National Institute of Child Health and Development).

In the Triple-Risk Model, researchers have found that at-risk infants, combined with some dysregulation of basic sleep patterns, breathing, and temperature regulation, plus an outside stressor (infection, overheating, etc) is found to be a deadly combination.

For a detailed explanation of sleep safety for babies and a helpful infographic related to sleep safety and SIDS awareness, please check out this article from Mom Loves Best.

We don’t share this to scare parents but to remind them that babies are unable to move their bodies in ways that meet their overall needs - and this includes lifting heavy blankets, moving pillows, or repositioning crib bumpers so they do not overheat or suffocate. Including these items in a baby’s crib are unacceptable because of the safety hazards they present.

If your child is of a developmental age or stage where they depend on you to roll over, sit upright, stand, crawl, walk, feed themselves, they do not have the motor skills to remove a weighted blanket when their internal temperatures get too hot. Keep this in mind for medically-involved children of all ages.

What Can I Do to Help My Baby Sleep?

Some parents have found success with Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit that was designed by a pediatric physical therapist to reduce the infant startle reflex and promote sleep patterns. Continue to keep in mind that even with the Sleepsuit or Sleepsacks, when a baby is old enough to roll over, many of these products are no longer appropriate.

Consult your pediatrician for more information on addressing your baby’s sleep issues by establishing consistent bedtime routines.

Takeaways

You’ll have to wait a bit longer to safely use a weighted blanket to ease your sleep woes...at least until your baby becomes a preschooler. In the meantime, check out some infant-designed sleep products, take a few tips from the many resources available for developing healthy sleep habits, and keep an open dialogue with your pediatrician. You do not want to implement something that poses a safety risk to your child.

If you are looking for information about older children, read our article, Do Weighted Blankets Work for Toddlers?

Alescia Ford MS OTR/L, ATP
Alescia Ford MS OTR/L, ATP

Alescia Ford-Lanza MS OTR/L, ATP is an Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technology Practitioner with over 15 years of pediatric experience. She specializes in educationally-relevant interventions with a focus on sensory integration and assistive technology supports to learning.

Alescia strives to help children by fostering a love of learning and supports families with her parent-friendly, informative blog posts. Alescia founded Adapt & Learn, LLC on the mission that children of all abilities can play, learn, adapt, and develop with the right therapeutic, family, and educational supports.

You can get more information on Alescia and her practice at www.adaptandlearn.com.


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