In recent years, weighted blankets have become increasingly popular among both children and adults. Some of the best weighted blankets can benefit those who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, autism, ADHD, insomnia, chronic pain, and so much more. Weighted blankets don’t pose much of a health risk to adults, but they can definitely be dangerous to children. Weighted blankets are the most dangerous when parents let kids sleep under them. In fact, Target recently recalled more than 200,000 kid sized weighted blankets because 2 children died due to suffocation. Below, San Antonio child injury lawyers break down the benefits and risks of weighted blankets, as well as the details of the Target recall.
If your child has suffered injury or death due to a weighted blanket or any other type of defective product, then you may have grounds to pursue legal action. Our legal team can analyze the details of your case and help you determine whether you have grounds to file a product liability claim. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with us today.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is basically a heavy blanket that is specifically designed to calm the nervous system. Weight options range anywhere from 5 and 30 pounds – depending on the brand and size – and mimics a therapeutic technique called deep pressure therapy. In order to get the best calming effect, you must get a blanket that’s large enough to distribute weight evenly over the whole body.
Weighted blankets are generally made out of natural materials like bamboo, cotton, flannel, linen, and rayon. These high quality materials typically make up the removable cover. The inside of weighted blankets are filled with materials like small glass beads, plastic pellets, sand, grains, etc. You can remove the outer shell for easy cleaning.
Weighted blankets come in a variety of different sizes, color options, and materials, some more expensive than others. For example, a large bamboo weighted blanket may be more expensive than other weighted blankets of a smaller size and cheaper materials.
Benefits of Using a Weighted Blanket
The even weight distribution of a weighted blanket mimics a warm hug and/or deep pressure therapy. Early research suggests that both hugs and pressure therapy can help:
- Calm the nervous system
- Reduce anxiety
- Improve quality of sleep
- Relieve depression symptoms
- Relieve chronic pain
Who Can Benefit From a Weighted Blanket?
People with the following health conditions may benefit from regular use of a weighted blanket:
- Anxiety and/or Panic Attacks: Weighted blankets are most commonly used to reduce anxiety symptoms. There is some scientific evidence that suggests that regular use of a weighted blanket can reduce autonomic arousal. Autonomic nervous system arousal is associated with symptoms like fear, anxiety, sweating, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, etc.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Anxiety, sensory issues, and difficulty sleeping are just a few symptoms that autistic people may suffer from. A 2017 study suggests that deep pressure therapy can help autistic people manage these symptoms.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood. Hyperactivity, anxiety, poor attention span, and fidgeting are all common symptoms of ADHD. A recent study suggests that weighted vests can improve hyperactivity, attention span, and impulse control associated with the disorder. Weighted blankets may provide similar results for both children and adults with ADHD.
- Sleeping Disorders: People who suffer from insomnia and poor sleep quality caused by anxiety may benefit from using a weighted blanket at night. Studies show that the pressure may slow the heart rate and relax muscles, therefore creating better quality sleep.
- Chronic Pain is a debilitating condition that can easily create anxiety and depression symptoms. A 2021 study – conducted by UC San Diego researchers – suggests that weighted blankets can reduce the perception of pain, but not the intensity of pain. Additionally, weighted blankets can improve anxiety and depression symptoms associated with chronic pain.
Risks of Using a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets do come with a few risks, particularly for children. Many manufacturers warn that toddlers under 2 years old should not use a weighted blanket, especially when sleeping, because it increases the risk of asphyxiation. Only older children should use weighted blankets without supervision.
Weighted blankets can also be a choking hazard for toddlers, especially if the blanket contains glass beads or small pellets. If one of the two layers of the blanket rip open, the glass beads could spill out and the child could choke on them.
Choosing the Appropriate Weight for Kids
If you’re looking for a weighted blanket for kids, it’s crucial to choose the ones with lower weights. When picking out a child’s weighted blanket, you should ensure that the blanket doesn’t exceed 5-10% of the child’s body weight. You should also make sure that the blanket fits the size of the child’s bed. Here is a general weight guide for children:
- 20-70 Pound Child: 3 to 8 pound weighted blanket.
- 30-130 Pound Child: 5 to 15 pound weighted blanket.
- 130+ Pound Teens/Adults: 12 to 30 pound weighted blanket.
Target Weighted Blanket Recall
In late December 2022, Target recalled more than 200,000 kid sized weighted blankets from the brand called Pillowfort. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), two young children (ages 4 and 6) died due to suffocation after being trapped in the weighted blanket. These deaths occurred in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina in April 2022. But between April and December – when the recall occurred – Target received 4 reports of young children becoming trapped in these weighted blankets.
Listed below are the details of the Pillowfort Weighted Blankets:
- 6 pounds, 60 inches long, 40 inches wide.
- The blankets have a washable, waterproof, removable cover.
- The blankets come in these colors: unicorn white, unicorn pink, space navy, blue, gray, pink, buffalo plaid red, and blue constellation.
- Manufactured in China.
- Sold between December 2018 and September 2022 for $40.
Both the CPSC and Target urge consumers to stop using this brand of weighted blanket for kids and to ask Target for a refund.
Can You Sue for Suffocation From a Weighted Blanket?
Suffocation caused by weighted blankets falls under the legal category of product liability. Products may be defective either due to design, manufacturing, or marketing.
- Design Defect: This means that there is an inherent design flaw. So not just one product is defective, but the whole line is defective as well. Design defects generally result in mass recalls.
- Manufacturing Defect: This means that the product sustained a flaw during the manufacturing process. So only a few products are defective, not the whole line.
- Marketing Defect is also called “failure to warn.” If a product is only dangerous or harmful when used incorrectly, then manufacturers must provide a clear warning. Most manufacturers face “failure to warn” lawsuits when they fail to provide a warning, their warning isn’t worded clearly, or the warning isn’t placed correctly on the product’s packaging.
Parents of children injured or killed by the Pillowfort weighted blankets may be able to sue for a design defect or a marketing defect. The design defect claim may apply if the child became trapped in the blanket by unzipping it and crawling in it. Meanwhile, the marketing defect claim may apply if Pillowfort failed to provide a clear suffocation warning for toddlers and young children.
A San Antonio product liability lawyer at Janicek Law can analyze the details of your case and help you determine whether or not you have grounds to sue for a product liability violation.
Damages for Weighted Blanket Injuries and Deaths
If your child has suffered an injury or death due to a weighted blanket, San Antonio product liability lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages, if the medical emergency caused the parents to miss work
- Physical pain and suffering on behalf of the child
- Emotional distress on behalf of both parents and child
- Funeral and burial expenses if the child due to the product liability violation
Call San Antonio Child Injury Lawyers at Janicek Law Today
If your child has suffered an injury or death due to any defective product or negligent act, you may have grounds to take legal action. San Antonio child injury lawyers at Janicek Law have what it takes to successfully litigate both personal injury and wrongful death cases involving children. We want to ensure that you receive justice and financial compensation during this impossible time. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.