Are weighted blankets dangerous or safe?

Weighted blankets have helped a lot of people sleep better and feel less anxious, but are there any hidden dangers to using one? In this guide, we’ll cover and address the common concerns raised by both users and sceptics.

Suffocation

The main concern people have with weighted blankets is the risk of suffocation, and specifically in children. This is a valid concern.

Weighted blankets have been linked to two tragic deaths we know of. One was a 9-year old boy with autism; the other was a 7-month old baby.

This is proof weighted blankets do pose a significant suffocation risk in children.

Based on this information, we advise that weighted blankets ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN under the age of 12, and that young children should never be left unattended with a weighted blanket for any length of time.

Teenagers (aged 13 to 19) can use a weighted blanket, but the blanket must weigh no more than 13% of the user’s body weight.

For healthy adults, the risk of suffocation is nil. However, physically disabled people and the elderly may find a weighted blanket too heavy.

Blood flow restriction

Weighted blankets do not compress the legs, arms or torso -- and so reduced blood circulation is not a valid concern with weighted blankets.

If weighted blankets were of the compression type, the risk of blood flow restriction could be argued, but these blankets actually sit on top of you. They mould to your body more than a normal blanket, but they do not compress.

Weighted blankets are 100% safe to use from a blood flow standpoint, providing the blanket weighs no more than 13% of the person’s body weight.

Blood pressure, pulse and oximetry

In 2015, a group of researchers conducted a study into the safety of a 30-pound (13.5kg) weighted blanket and its effects on blood pressure, pulse and oximetry.

The study found that across all 30 participants (who were pooled from a diverse background) no adverse effects on these measurements were recorded. This data backs up our conclusion about blood flow restriction too. 

The study actually found weighted blankets lower anxiety levels and promote a sense of calmness. It concludes, “No statistical differences in vital signs indicate weighted blanket safety. The STAI-10 and self-ratings indicate 60% [of participants] had a significant reduction in anxiety using the weighted blanket.”

Allergies

The materials that a weighted blanket are made from can trigger allergies -- however, choosing a hypoallergenic weighted blanket can eliminate the problem. The Koala Blanket is hypoallergenic and there are others out here.

In the case of our weighted blanket, it is made from 100% bamboo, eco-friendly cotton, non-toxic and BPA-free glass beads, poly-cotton & polyester. These materials are relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in most people.

Something to keep in mind though is that the term “hypoallergenic” is not scientific. It’s actually a marketing term used to describe a product that provokes fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers. If you have severe allergies which are triggered by so-called hypoallergenic textiles and cosmetics, we recommend you consult your doctor before using a weighted blanket to make doubly sure it is safe for you.

Summing up

  • Weighted blankets pose no suffocation risk for able adults, but they DO pose a significant suffocation risk in young children.
  • Weighted blankets DO NOT restrict blood flow.
  • Weighted blankets have been clinically proven to have NO ADVERSE EFFECT on blood pressure, pulse rate or oximetry in adults.
  • Hypoallergenic weighted blankets are UNLIKELY to trigger allergies -- but those who suffer from severe allergies to textiles and cosmetics should consult a doctor if in doubt about any of the materials.