Parents are always concerned about their child being safe throughout the day. The issue has been brought up recently, with the Missouri case of a 7 month old infant passing away at a child care center. After an investigation, the Missouri Department of Health did cite the center for violations regarding supervision and the improper use of a weighted blanket. Apparently, the parents of the 7 month old were not aware of the use of the weighted blanket with their child.
Generally, blankets are not recommended in cribs because of the suffocation potential. There is a safety risk with swaddling, as well, due to the possibility of the blanket becoming loose and potentially causing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Like swaddling, weighted blankets are designed to help children with sensory perception problems, such as autism and anxiety, sleep more soundly through a calming mood enhancement. Weighted blankets are most typically used with older children with sensory integration or behavioral issues, to relax and comfort them.
There is very little research on the number of cases in which the blankets may have been associated with infant sleep deaths. It is clear to many in the medical world that weighted blankets are not meant for infants or small children. The risk of SIDS increases through the inability for the baby to remove the blanket independently. The risk of suffocation can also increase through the weight of the blanket itself, preventing the baby from being able to move positions.
Parents should always work with their medical professional in helping find solutions for their children’s sleep issues, if they have any. Many in the medical field believe weighted blankets are not the answer. Consulting with your own doctor is always going to be your best option and communicating with your local day care to make sure they have procedures in place, so that these weighted blankets are not being used, especially with the infants and younger children is imperative.
For a deeper conversation about day care center insurance and risk management, please call me at 216-621-7183.