Kids Feeling Overwhelmed? You Need a Weighted Stuffed Animal
Kids Feeling Overwhelmed? You Need a Weighted Stuffed Animal
Weighted blankets have been a popular sleep product for years now, helping people to relax and sleep. Recently, there's been a push to broaden that idea to other products like weighted stuffed animals for children — but are they effective? And, most importantly, are they safe?
The Best Weighted Stuffed Animals
What You Need to Know
According to Dr. Damon Korb, Developmental Pediatrician and Clinical Advisor for Parallel Learning, "Weighted blankets are a great sleeping tool for those whose bodies feel restless or irritated under a normal bed sheet." Many people, in general, appreciate the soothing feeling a weighted blanket gives, and they're especially good for people like me and my son, who are neurodivergent.
When it comes to weighted stuffed animals, Dr. Korb says, "They cover less surface area of the body than a blanket, and therefore are less likely to provide as much deep pressure for relaxation benefit. But, for an older child, who prefers to sleep with a stuffed animal and finds it soothing, weighted stuffed animals are a fun way to satisfy a sensory need." Having said that, it's important to note that they present a risk of suffocation, so they should never be placed in a crib or with young babies. Unfortunately, "There really is no scientific research on the efficacy of weighted stuffed animals," says Korb.
I used my family and friends as guinea pigs and tested several weighted stuffed animals to determine if they provided any relief. Our testing found that the sweet spot was a weighted stuffed animal that could sit in your lap as an infant would like the microwavable snake, giving enough pressure to be noticeable without a bulky package. And all of us, be we autistic or not, child or adult, preferred the weighted stuffed animals that you could heat in the microwave like the cute little sloth, as they are a real delight for the senses.
I took everyone's advice into consideration and also spoke with manufacturers to find the best weighted stuffed animals out there. Although our list isn't too long, every weighted stuffed animal on here is vetted and loved by a tester — making them all a great fit to give your little one some comfort when they snooze.
Best Products; Courtesy Hugimals, Intelex, Luxury Luggage
1) Microwavable French Lavender Scented Plush Sloth
This weighted stuffed animal was easily the biggest winner for everyone who tested. It's not huge, but it does take up a nice chunk of your lap. The cozy sloth is weighted but not too heavy at just under two pounds, and when you microwave it, the lavender that fills the inside of this plush smells like a sleepy palace garden.
Two of our teen testers used this while PMSing and noted that the weight, heat, and smell were a pretty big relief.
Emory is adorable and made of a poly-blend that feels a lot like minky fabric. He's easy to clean, easy to take with you on the go, and is the third-heaviest on this list at 4.5 pounds.
This weighted stuffed animal was pretty much everyone's runner-up, but it was the number one choice of our 5-year-old tester, who loved the look and feel of the elephant as much as he loved the weight of it.
3) Microwavable Lavender Scented Plush Toy
This was the favorite of the two autistic teens who tested. They said that the body of the snake, being able to wrap around the waist, an arm, a leg, or the neck, was exceptionally soothing. At 1.8 pounds and 10 inches long, it's not huge, but it's substantial. It's spot-clean only, but the fabric is pretty stain-resistant.
The other testers, like myself, found it to be quite nice but not as great as something with more concentrated weight. This feels like more of a heavy shawl to me, but the kids disagreed.
4) Weighted Teddy Bear
Fun and Function
This weighted stuffed animal is a bit heavier, at three pounds. It's not substantially larger in size than others on this list, but it's pretty dense and comforting.
None of these are machine-washable, and this one is trickier to clean than others due to the thickness of the fabric, but it doesn't get gross, if you're worried about that. It's also been rigorously safety-tested to ensure both quality and durability, as well as nontoxic.
Overall, this was a big winner with the adults and with kids who have ADHD, as well as with me, and I am an adult with ADHD.
It has the best score when used while doing a desk task like writing this article, or math tutoring, as our testers used it. It's very soft, but this isn't designed to be microwaved, which is arguably a bummer.
5) Weighted Turtle
One of the heavier plushes on this list at five pounds, this turtle was the winner for a couple of testers who felt like the other weighted stuffed animals just weren't weighted enough. He's weighted all-over, and super soft, but the eyes do seem like they could eventually fall out.
There's no doubt that this is on your lap when you have it, but one of our testers who has pretty intense anxiety around new people took this to her new calligraphy class, and felt calmed by it. Because it's so cute, and has a purpose, the other kids didn't make fun. In fact, more than a few asked her where she got it.
6) Fox Weight Mate
Meant for older kids and adults, the Yogibo fox weight mate is 5.5 pounds of lavender, rice, and peppermint. It can be microwaved, and wow, is that so darn soothing. It's a full sensory experience that settles deep into your bones, chilling you out.
My son and I both agreed that if this were more portable, and we could take it to work or school without people wondering why we were wearing a cartoon sash, it would be perfect. My family is pretty huge fans of all things Yogibo, so I'm glad it didn't disappoint.
7) “Eddie” Weighted Microwavable Stuffed Animal
So you don't want heat therapy because it's hot enough where you are? I've got you. This lil' guy is only 14 ounces, so he's on the lighter side, but he's also a versatile chap.
You can microwave or freeze him depending upon what you need — and let me tell you, it's a wonder when it's hot out, and you need some compression to decompress. He's soft, his outfit is adorable, and he smells like lavender.