Millennia ago, our hunter and forager ancestors relied on their sense of sight, hearing, and smelling to survive. Was a particular berry poisonous? Was there a predator hiding in the night? The ability to perceive inedible food could help them survive longer and pass on their genes. But a sense that’s often overlooked (although it plays an equally important role) is our sense of touch.
Experiments have demonstrated that the simple act of hugging another human can bring down our stress levels as well as their blood pressure, as a hormone named oxytocin is released. Similar studies show that hugging can even minimize the risk of catching a cold. But more importantly, humans are social beings and loneliness can cause severe damage to our mental and physical well-being. Loneliness directly impacts to your life span and can lead to mental decline, owing to conditions like Alzheimer’s and depression.
This is where weighted lap pads come into play. They can mimic the effect of a hug and offer the user a feeling of calm, tranquility, and even happiness. Essentially, they’re just pads made of soft material which have a certain weight to them and are designed to fit the size of your lap – hence, the name.
This equilibrium is attained with the help of something called Deep Pressure Touch, or DPT. It’s often an integral part of therapy for children and adults suffering from certain developmental disorders and neurocognitive disorders, such as depression, trauma, and anxiety.
Traditionally, they’re designed for children, but adults, particularly seniors can benefit from them as well. It’s because of growing age, you are prone to developing sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, restlessness, and physical aches. The idea is simple. A weight, evenly spread across your lap can help ground a sensory overload and help you feel calmer and at rest. A full-sized weighted blanket isn’t always ideal for your elderly loved one, but a smaller lap pad can help achieve a similar effect. Even if they do use weighted blankets, seniors spend a lot of time sitting and a weighted lap pad can be spread across their lap when they’re resting.
Before we present you with a breakdown of some of the best-weighted lap pads you can buy, here are some things that need your consideration, so you can make the right purchase.
Why use a weighted lap pad?
Aside from the aforementioned benefits, weighted lap pads have an edge over-weighted blankets, and it’s their portability. They can be carried around and used in waiting rooms, vehicles, on the dinner table, sporting events (or any event where you’re required to sit for extended periods of time), at work, and even when you’re traveling. That being said, your brain will effectively ‘tune out’ the extra weight on your lap, so consider using your lap pad for shorter periods of time – ideally, 20 minutes per session.
Secondly, if your older loved one suffers from either dementia or Alzheimer’s, a weighted lap pad can help minimize the fidgeting and restlessness that’s typical of these conditions. Similar symptoms are also seen in children with autism or ADHD, and a weighted lap pad can help reduce the fidgeting and rocking.
While the shape of the lap pad has little to no bearing on the overall effect of the product, the weight is definitely a factor worth considering. As a rule of thumb, 5% of your body weight should be ideal. For most children, it should come to almost 2 lbs. but there are weighted lap pads available which weigh up to 5 lbs.
In the same vein as the shape, the dimensions of the lap pad hardly matter either. More often than not, you’ll find lap pads designed in a rectangular shape (similar to a mini-blanket), but you’ll also find pads in the shape of a stuffed animal or a pillow shape.
You also have the option of picking a hypoallergenic lap pad, if you find yourself dealing with allergies often.
You’ll also have to consider the washability of the fabric. You can make sure that the lap pad will be reusable even after multiple washes and if you intend to use it when having your meals, you can find one with a waterproof top layer, which can be wiped to clean the spills. Not all lap pads are machine washable because they often employ different materials as the weight.
- Offered in small (16″ x 12″), medium (14 1/2″ x 19 1/2″), and large (17″ x 23″) dimensions
- Handcrafted with excellent attention to detail
- Weighs 3 lbs/ 5lbs./7 lbs.
- The weight is evenly distributed across your lap using glass beads with a sand-like texture
- Ideal for both adults and children
- Washer and dryer safe
- Available in 9 different plain color options
- Available in three different size options: 23 x 19, 35 x 41, 53 x 41
- 10 lbs., 6 lbs., and 3 lbs. variants
- Cotton fabric
- Food-grade hypoallergenic pellet filling
- Washer and dryer safe
- One-piece solid design
- Affordable price tag
- Dimensions of 12 X 20 inches and 16 X 25 inches
- Plastic weighted pellets
- Minky cuddle fabric
- Multiple color options
- 80% cotton and 20% polyester fabric
- Machine washable
- 23 different designs
- Three different sizes: 21″ x 18″, 21″ x 18″, 24″ x 18″
- Three different weights: 7 lbs., 5 lbs., 3 lbs.
- Handcrafted and designed for kids weighed 50 lbs.
- Machine and washer-friendly
- Available in three different sizes small (10″ x 20″), medium (40″x 59″), and large (41” x 71″)
- Three different weight options: 3, 10, and 15 lbs.
- Navy blue blanket and Minky orange cover
- 100% cotton fabric
- Machine-washable cover and handwash only blanket
- Travel-friendly with the size of 39 X 23 inches
- Weighs 8 lbs.
- Made of ultrasoft velveteen fabric
- Non-toxic weighted beads
- Designed for adults
- Can be used for meditation, yoga, travel, and work
- Needs to be hand washed
- Made of 100% cotton
- Hypoallergenic non-toxic weighted glass beads
- Multiple designs to choose from
- Weighs 20 lbs.
- Has dimensions of 12 X 18 inches
- Machine and dryer safe (on low settings)
- 30-day refund policy
- Ideal for the classroom environment
- Beautiful design and excellent craftsmanship
- Removable soft Minky cover for easy cleaning
- Filled with non-toxic glass pellets
- Two different size options: Large (20″ x 24″) and Small (19″ x 22″)
- 5 lbs. and 6 lbs. weight options
- Full refund policy
- Made from double-sided ultra-soft Minky material
- Gets its weight from glass beads that are secured in place with durable stitches
- Weighs 5 lbs.
- Has 20” x 23 dimensions
- Attractive blue constellation print
- Designed for children
- Designed for children
- Weighs 5 lbs.
- Available in blue and green colors
- Soft Minky material
- Has the dimensions of 21 X 19 inches
- A fraction of the sales go towards autism research
If your senior loved one or child suffers from neurocognitive disorders or sensory overload, a weighted lap pad can work wonder, especially in conditions where a larger weighted blanket can’t be used – for instance, in a class room setting.