8 Cozy Weighted Stuffed Animals Your Kids Will Love Snuggling
It’s no secret that weighted blankets can ease anxiety and envoke a calming effect over the body. But did you know that certain stuffed animals can produce a similar effect effect?
“Weighted stuffed animals usually weigh between 1 pound and 5 pounds,” explains Holly Schiff, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist with South County Psychiatry.
Interacting with them (think: hugging, cuddling, laying them on your body) can induce “a feeling of safety and calmness,” Dr. Schiff says. “Deep pressure can reduce cortisol levels, settle and calm the nervous system, and release dopamine and serotonin. When we lower our cortisol levels, we are, in turn, lowering our ‘fight or flight’ response as well. It provides the same pressure a hug would.”
Dr. Schiff owns the weighted Cheetah animal from Pillowfort and says she’s used weighted stuffed animals for anxiety, autism, depression, and PTSD in her clinical practice.
The one difference to note between the weighted stuff animals and the weighted blankets is that “with the stuffed animals, the weight is more localized and not spread all over the body as it tends to be with the weighted blankets,” says Dr. Howard Pratt, D.O., a psychiatrist and the board-certified medical director at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. Still, the mental health benefits are considerable.
When shopping for one of these plush critters, be sure to follow the American Academy of Pediatric’s sleep guidelines for infants as blankets, stuffed animals, and toys are advised to be kept out of the sleep space. “For older children, you should consider the weight of the stuffed animal as well as its size to ensure it is not something that the child wouldn’t be able to carry or adjust, or which would somehow injure them,” Dr. Pratt says.
And while you’re shopping, don’t forget to pick up a weighted plushy for yourself. The experts agree that weighted stuffed animals are for adults, too. Ahead, here are eight weighted stuffed animals for adults and kids that can help you or a loved one feel safe, secure, and calm.