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- Best wrap: Intelex Cozy Therapeutic Wrap
- Best warming lap pad: Sensory4U Panda Bear
- Best lightweight: Wild Baby Weighted Plush Pal
- Best for multiple senses: Intelex Warmies Marshmallow Bear
- Best lap pad: Huggaroo Weighted Lap Pad
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While there’s lots of research on ADHD, one type of treatment that’s less well-documented is the number of individuals with ADHD that use weighted stuffed animals to help alleviate and cope with symptoms.
Weighted stuffed animals generally look like the popular children’s toy, but tip the scales at somewhere between 2 and 5 pounds. They may have longer arms for hugging or include features to aid with fidgeting. They’re available in a wide range of styles and sizes.
Doctors and therapists specializing in grief and loss have been using weighted teddy bears for years to help their clients.
While more research into this area is needed, there has been a little research done into weighted blankets, which offer a similar type of support. One small study on weighted blankets found that 63 percent of participants reported lower anxiety after using them and 78 percent found them to have a calming effect.
The general theory behind weighted blankets and stuffed animals is that added weight can offer deep pressure touch, which is thought to calm the nervous system and trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. Using a weighted blanket or stuffed animal may also improve sleep, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and ADHD.
Adults might be hesitant to appear in public with a large stuffed animal, but their cute appearances make these non-threatening for young children. They also typically come in a variety of shapes and colors that appeal to children’s unique interests.
When it came to choosing which products to include, we looked at a variety of factors like:
- Size. Some people love a larger animal they can really wrap their arms around while others prefer something a little smaller and more discrete, so we tried to include a variety of size options.
- Material. Because this stuffed animal is going to get plenty of use, those that can be easily washed and dried stood out.
- Price. We know that finances can vary, so we tried to include a range of options for diverse budgets.
- Customer reviews. There’s nothing like an actual user to let you know how a product feels and holds up after continual use. We highly valued this information, and know it matters to you.
Weighted stuffed animals can vary in price based on their size and weight. In general, you should expect to spend a little more than a typical stuffed animal.
Our price key:
- $ = $15–$30
- $$ = $30–$40
- $$$ = over $40
Here are some of the best weighted stuffed animals you can buy online.
Best weighted neck wrap
- Price: $
- Weight: 1.8 pounds
Craving a neck hug? The curve of this stuffed animal wrap allows it to lay smoothly across the neck. (It can also double as a travel pillow!)
It’s filled with all-natural grain and dried French lavender to provide a soothing scent. Fully microwavable, it can be used for hot and cold therapy. As an added bonus, this therapeutic wrap is available in a variety of animal shapes and meets U.S. safety standards for all ages.
If you’re looking for an option that gets its heft from natural materials, this could be a great choice.
- This stuffed animal is also microwaveable to provide warmth.
- It’s filled with dried lavender to give a nice, soothing scent.
- Reviewers say the beads inside aren’t prone to shifting.
- Some reviewers say the lavender scent is overpowering.
- It’s not machine washable. It can only be spot cleaned.
Best lightweight teddy bear
- Price: $
- Weight: 1/2 pound
This 10-inch stuffed animal weighs in at less than 1 pound making it perfect for young children. It’s also ideal for travel.
Each animal is filled with natural clay beads and dried lavender to offer a relaxing smell. It can be fully heated in the microwave, and the removable therapy pack can be used as heating pad or frozen for cold therapy.
As an added bonus, the company offers free returns within 30 days.
- It’s low weight, making it a good option for young or smaller children and travel.
- The animal is filled with lavender to offer a relaxing smell.
- The removable weighted component can be used as a heating or cooling pad.
- It’s not machine washable, but it can be spot cleaned.
- Some reviewers say the scent isn’t very strong, but others may prefer this.
Best for multiple senses and aromatherapy
- Price: $
- Weight: 2 pounds
This teddy bear offers a lavender scent; lavender has been associated with relaxation. This plushie weighs just under 2 pounds and is filled with grain and dried lavender. Because of its moderate size and weight, this teddy bear will likely appeal to lots of kids.
The entire toy is microwavable for those who prefer a warmer touch. It can also be placed in the freezer for using with bumps or bruises.
The company makes a variety of different animals that meet the U.S. safety standards for all ages, so you can choose one that fits your personality.
- You can microwave or freeze the whole toy, and don’t need to fiddle with removing an internal pouch.
- The bear has a lavender scent that reviewers say isn’t too strong.
- Customers like that it’s soft and praise it for being cute.
- A number of customers complained about “little seeds” (or the weighted material) coming out of the animal, or that it arrived with a hole.
- Some reviewers say the scent isn’t very strong, but others may prefer this.
Best weighted lap pad
- Price: $$$
- Weight: 3.6 pounds
This lap pad comes designed as either a puppy or a lamb. Made of 100 percent polyester fabric, the pad is filled with hypoallergenic, odorless, food-grade, polypropylene (plastic) pellets.
The pad’s soft, plush fabric can be stroked for grounding and is soft enough to sleep with. While not so large to make travel impossible, this is a larger weighted animal.
Stretching 29 by 8 inches, both the outer cover and inner weighted insert are washable. It weighs 3.6 pounds.
- The puppy is larger than other options on our list, but it’s not so big that travel is prohibitive.
- Reviewers love the soft fur.
- The cover and inner components are washable.
- It’s not microwave- or freezer-friendly.
- It’s on the pricier side.
|Stuffed animal||Price||Weight (in pounds)||Weighted material||Heatable?||Freezable?|
|Intelex Warmies Animal Wrap||$||1.8||natural grain and lavender||yes||yes|
|Wild Baby Weighted Plush Pal||$||1/2||natural clay beads and lavender||yes||yes|
|Intelex Warmies Marshmallow Bear||$||2||natural grain and lavender||yes||yes|
|Huggaroo Puppy||$$$||3.6||nontoxic plastic pellets||no||no|
Weighted stuffed animals not for you? Like your stuffed animal but want to try other things, too? Consider the following tips:
- Sniff some lavender. Whether you rub on some lavender-scented lotion, take a lavender-scented bath, or use a diffuser with essential oil, the smell of lavender can
help loweryour blood pressure.
- Take time to meditate or journal. Even young children can benefit from mindfulness and breathing exercises.
- Talk with friends. There’s nothing like a good heart-to-heart. You may even want to join a class or group related to one of your interests to connect with some new people.
- Talk with professional counselors. Sometimes we need the ear and advice of a person trained with approaches and ideas to help us sort through and manage our needs. Whether it’s a specific concern, short-term goal, or you don’t know where you’d start or what to talk about, there are different ways to access a therapist to talk with.
Even talking with your general physician or family doctor, who you’d see for physical concerns, can be a great thing. They may suggest support groups, talk therapy, or medication.
How heavy should a weighted stuffed animal be?
There’s limited clinical guidance on just how much a weighted stuffed animal should weigh, especially for kids. The products on our list weigh under 5 pounds, making them suitable for most kids. However, larger weights will not be good for babies or toddlers.
If you’re choosing a weighted stuffed animal as an adult, it boils down to your preference. If you’d like to get a sense of what a weighted stuffed animal might feel like, you could try holding a bag of rice or flour that’s similar in size to the option you’re considering buying.
General guidelines often suggest that weighted blankets, and by extension weighted stuffed animals, are no more than 10 percent of the user’s body weight.
However, this isn’t set in stone. Rather, it can give you a good starting point for choosing a weight.
How do you use a weighted stuffed animal?
For kids, weighted stuffed animals can be used like any other stuffed animal. They just come with the potential, extra benefit of distributing weight over your kiddo, which may provide a soothing sensation for them.
Many of the options on our list can be heated in the microwave, providing warmth that some children may find calming. Some options can be chilled in the freezer, too.
Should you replace your weighted stuffed animal?
Deciding when to replace a stuffed animal is generally a personal decision.
You can take a common sense approach: Things like loose buttons or bead filling probably don’t cause a risk for you as an adult.
But if the weighted stuffed animal is for a younger child, you’ll want to watch for wear that could create a choking hazard.
It’s worth noting that weighted stuffed animals, like any other stuffed animal, should never be placed in a baby’s crib, as they can block the baby’s airflow if they roll around at night or during naps, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Stuffed animals aren’t just for small children. They can be useful for calming nerves, grounding, and meeting your hug needs, especially in times when you may be more isolated, and whether or not you experience ADHD.
Finding the perfect weighted stuffed animal can take a bit, but there are plenty of options to choose from. If you’re struggling with a place to start, you might consider taking a closer look at a few of the ones on our list!
Catherine Crider, CD/PCD(DONA), CLEC, CBE, JD, MEd, has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher, and finds special joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys educating new parents and parents-to-be about their different options as well as the current best practices in baby care. Catherine writes for various websites and teaches full-spectrum childbirth and postpartum education in several locations in California’s North Bay Area and Peninsula.