Written by

Carla

A Parent Guide To Weighted Products ✅ Everything You Need To know And More.....2021

Published on 

November 02, 2021

Weighted Products Guide-Advice For Parents And Children

Weighted products have been gaining popularity over the past number of years, to support kids and adults with a variety of special needs.

Although products like weighted blankets have been around for over 20 years, the market is rapidly expanding to serve its diverse clientele.

Read on to learn more information about weighted products, safety considerations and costs, and how OT Warehouse can help you meet your weighted product needs.

What Are Weighted Products? What A Parent With A Child At Home Needs To Know?

Weighted products are exactly what they sound like! They’re therapeutic items that have been stuffed with weights or made with different materials so that they’re heavier than usual. Examples include weighted blankets, toys, and cushions.

deep touch pressure therapy
Deep Touch Pressure Therapy

The Science of How Weighted Products Work - Information For Your family

Weighted products emulate an Occupation Therapy (OT) technique called Deep Touch Pressure Therapy (DPT). DPT is a type of tactile therapy intended to relax the nervous system through firm pressure, squeezing, hugging, or pushing.

The pressure put on your body, called proprioceptive input, encourages your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to kick into gear. Your PNS is responsible for slowing your heart rate, relaxing your muscles, and encouraging rest.

Who Can Use These Products and Accessories? - What Do They Do For A Child, Baby or Adult?

Anyone is welcome to use weighted products, both children and adults alike! However, there are a few individuals who typically benefit more than most.

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been found to greatly benefit from DPT and weighted products.

Weight and pressure help calm people, especially children, on the spectrum making weighted products a great option for these individuals.

Studies show that people who suffer from anxiety could also benefit from weighted products, increasing feelings of safety and calm, and decreasing feelings of depression, particularly in stressful situations.

benefit from weighted products

A 2020 study suggests that weighted products, especially blankets, can help provide a solution to insomnia and sleep maintenance.

Focus and concentration can also be improved through the use of weighted products, which is especially helpful for individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Finally, general feelings of calmness and decreased stress are thought to accompany the use of these kinds of products, for individuals with and without special needs and sensory processing disorders.

Materials - Experience All The Choice And Range

Weighted products are extremely unique, made of multiple different fillings, materials, and textures.

Plastic poly pellets, stainless steel pellets, or glass beads are common fillings for weighted products.

Alternatively, small weights can be sewn into the product fabric, or stuffed into pockets.

Materials and textures can vary by product, and often the more textures the better!

Products can be soft and silky, sequined and flashy, smooth and rubbery, or anything in between.

Range Of Weighted Options For Families

 Much like the variation in the fillings and materials of weighted products, there are also a ton of different types of the products themselves.

Children Will Adore Weighted Toys

Weighted toys are just one example of weighted products, and can take the form of weighted animals, or animal-themed shoulder weights.

Weighted toys are a great option for children, or for people who are just trying out the weighted product experience. One of OT Warehouse’s favourite weighted toys is our calming koala, perfect for cuddles right before bed.

heavy stuffed toys
Heavy Stuffed Toys

Experience "Out Of This World" Weighted Blankets

 Weighted blankets are perhaps the most common weighted product on the market, and are great for users of all ages. These blankets come in a variety of sizes:  larger ones for adults, smaller ones for kids, and even smaller ones to use as a lap pad.

Weighted blankets are great for those suffering from anxiety or insomnia, and the smaller sizes are ideal for travel; lap pads are great to bring to doctor’s appointments, work, or school!

With our wide range of styles, textures, and sizes, OT Warehouse has got you covered for all your weighted blanket needs.

Weighted Blanket Styles
Weighted Blanket Styles

Weighted Cushions - Accessories For Everyone

            Another type of weighted product is weighted cushions. Cushions are great for children or adults with ASD or anxiety issues.

Because of the fun patterns and textures that often come on cushions (like sequins!) they can be great tools for individuals with sensory issues.

Cushions are also small enough that, like the lap pads, they are easily transportable; this makes weighted cushions a great option for the classroom! Check out OT Warehouse’s selection of sensory weighted cushions.

Weighted Cushions
Weighted Cushions

Calm at Home or School With Weighted Vests/Shoulder Soothers

Shoulder soothers and weighted vests (or other sensory clothing) are also great options for weighted products. Shoulder soothers are ideal for children and adults with ADHD, sensory processing disorders, or autism.

By adding pressure to the neck and shoulders, these products can provide a great sense of calm in any environment. Weighted vests often compress as well, adding another source of proprioceptive input to soothe the user.

OT Warehouse is proud to offer a kid-friendly weighted buddy as well as vests for all ages.

Weighted shoulder soothers and vests
Weighted shoulder soothers and vests

Attention All - Family Safety Advice

Weighted products, much like any other therapeutic tool, have safety considerations to keep you or your child safe when using them. Although most people are fine to use any of OT Warehouse’s weighted items, please keep the following in mind when shopping around.

Main Safety Considerations and Health Information For Parents At Home

            Although weighted products are great for most people, there are a few considerations that you should be aware of.

Information for parents with babies

Small children, especially babies, who cannot move the weighted item off them are not good candidates for weighted products.

Child with mobility issues

Individuals with mobility issues, joint issues, or low muscle tone should also avoid the use of certain weighted products like shoulder wraps (although wraps are a great option for other children) as it may be difficult for this person to move or remove the product.

People with other conditions

Other considerations for weighted products include poor circulation and asthma. Both of these conditions are not well-suited to weighted products.

Finally, individuals who feel claustrophobic or trapped when pressure or compression is applied to them should also avoid weighted products as it may increase anxiety.

What Weight Should an Individual Choose For Comfort And Safety?

  The weight of the product depends on the product itself, but there are a few general rules of thumb.

Weighted Vest

If you’re looking at purchasing a vest, for example, the vest should weigh no more than 5% of the user’s body weight.

So, if your child weighs 18 kg, their vest should not exceed 1.4 kg.

 Weighted Blanket

For weighted blankets, the rule is no more than 10% + 0.45 kg of the user’s body weight. Again, if your child weighs 18 kg, products weighted above 2.3 kg should be avoided.

Most weighted blankets max out around 11 kg, so this rule doesn’t always apply to adults.

Weighted Blanket Guide Chart
Weighted Blanket Guide Chart

How To Look After Your Materials?

Every weighted product has different care instructions. At OT Warehouse, care instructions are detailed on each product page.

Harold the Huskey, for example, must be hand washed.

Our “Blue Royal” Weighted Throw Blanket must also be hand-washed, and cannot be put in a dryer.

Take note of the care instructions for your specific item.

hand wash weighted products
hand wash weighted products

More Important Information For Your Family When Buying

Now that you know more about the capabilities of weighted products, and what kind of products are available, you might want to know where to buy them.

We’ll also share some tips about buying weighted products as well as information about NDIS funding.

Where Can I Purchase The Goods?

You can purchase OT Warehouse’s weighted products at otwarehouse.com/au/weighted-products. Currently, we only offer shipping to Australian addresses, but please reach out to us at contact@otwarehouse.com.au.

Shipping costs vary per item, so please keep an eye on your subtotal before checking out.

What do I Look For in a Weighted Product?

            Always consult with an Occupational Therapist (OT) before trying new weighted products, especially ones like vests that may need specific OT support.

Other than paying attention to the bodyweight considerations, how you choose a weighted product is up to you! In terms of texture, colour, or material, follow your personal preference.

Keep in mind that weighted blankets, for example, tend run hot, especially when they are filled with glass beads — glass is a great insulator.

If you’re a hot sleeper, you may want to check out blankets made with lighter material or filled with a different type of bead.

How Much Do They Cost?

            The cost of a weighted product varies depending on the product.

Weighted blankets typically cost the most because of their weight and size compared to a weighted toy, which will cost less in comparison.

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for with weighted products - anticipate spending at least $75-100+  for a quality item.

Is there NDIS funding for weighted items? How do I do this?

There is National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding for many weighted items as they provide much needed support and benefits for both adults and children, particularly those with sensory needs.

Speak to your plan manager

If you believe a weighted item may assist you or your child in achieving any of your NDIS goals, then speak to your plan manager or the NDIS about this.

If your goals are centered around trying to self-regulate or calm in certain situations, or help with sensory needs, then many items you may be surprised, are available.

Align your product with your NDIS goals

If you are looking at purchasing a weighted item, ensure it satisfies NDIS requirements of being reasonable and necessary for you to achieve your goals.

Choose low cost and low risk items where possible

And to increase your chances even further of being successfully with NDIS funding, try to keep the cost below $1500 as these items are deemed “low cost” and may not need recommendations from Occupational Therapists or other Allied Health Practitioners such as doctors or exercise physiotherapists.

Unfortunately for many, weighted blankets fall under the “high risk” category with the NDIS and will therefore require a recommendation from an Allied Health Practitioner to support your claim.

For this situation get a report from your Occupational Therapist (OT), GP, Psychologist or other relevant professional.

Advice and information for rural and remote areas

For many, especially those in rural and remote areas, even getting an appointment with an OT can take a long time. In these cases, using your GP may be the quickest and best bet for a recommendation of a specific product to achieve your goals.

OT Warehouse is a registered NDIS provider, and our registration number is 4-G3M8944. We offer 5 classes of support:

  1. 0103 Assist Prod-Pers Care/Safety
  2. 0112 Assistive Equip-Recreation
  3. 0122 Hearing Equipment
  4. 0123 Assistive Prod-Household Task
  5. 0124 Comms & Info Equipment

If I am an NDIS participant can I claim a weighted toy?

There are two options to order goods through NDIS funding. Option 1 is to sign up your account with a few quick details, shop on our website and add products to your cart like normal.

Once you’ve proceeded to checkout, use the NDIS participant’s name and number to pay for your items.

We will send you a copy of your invoice to submit a claim through NDIS.

Option 2 is to follow the same steps up until checkout, but instead of proceeding to payment, click the “Request a Quote” or “Request NDIS Quote” button.

After agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, click submit.

We will send you an invoice via email, and once your money has been funded you can pay for the invoice.

If, at any point in the NDIS shopping process you require assistance, please do not hesitate to reach us at sales@otwarehouse.com.au.

Thank you for taking the time to read and learn more about the benefits of weighted products, and how OT Warehouse can help meet your weighted product needs.

If you have any further questions, please reach us at contact@otwarehouse.com.au. Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions
✅ What are weighted products and how do they help people?

Weighted products are therapeutic items, stuffed with extra weight. They assist in meeting an individual's sensory needs by providing Deep Pressure Touch Therapy, similar to hugs, squeezes and compressions which is very effective in calming and relaxing.

✅ Who benefits from using weighted products?

Anyone can gain from using weighted products but they are particularly beneficial to many people experiencing sensory issues. Those with sensory processing disorder, autism and adhd, along with sufferers of stress or insomnia may gain the most benefit from using weighted products.

✅ What are the most common weighted products used to help people?

The most popular weighted items used to assist those with sensory needs include weighted blankets and weighted toys , along with other weighted products such as cushions, vests, shoulder soothers, lap blankets and lap pads.

✅ Can a weighted blanket or toy help someone with autism?

Weighted blankets and toys, along with other weighted items are great at helping many individuals with autism and other sensory processing issues. They give the user deep Pressure Touch Therapy which can relax and calm the person. People with autism often enjoy the security of a weighted blanket and it can help them fall asleep quicker, de-stress in certain situations and re-focus in many environments.

✅ How heavy should a weighted blanket be?

It is always best to seek professional advice for your specific sensory needs and body type, however an Occupational Therapist will usually recommend that a weighted blanket not exceed 10% of a user's body weight. Therefore if you weigh 50 kg, you should not use a weighted blanket over 5kg in weight.

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