Weighted lap pads are a popular way to naturally help children and adults with anxiety, autism spectrum disorders and/or ADHD to calm down and relax during the day. But how do you know if a Hippo Sit Lap Pad is right for you? While there aren’t any official guidelines that you can follow, there are a number of commonly accepted principles, which occupational therapists use when they make their choices.
First things first – what is a Hippo Sit Lap Pad?
Similar to our weighted blankets, but on a smaller scale, Hippo Sit lap pads contain our proprietary disk system, to give it extra weight.
The lap pad rests on a person’s legs, where the extra weight applies a therapeutic deep touch pressure (DTP). This gentle pressure helps calm the nervous system & can feel extremely relaxing.
Hippo Sit lap pads are made with a wipeable but breathable fabric, but you can also choose to purchase covers in a variety of fabrics from cuddle, to minky.
HIPPO SIT LAP PAD BENEFITS
Much like a weighted blanket, our Hippo Sit Lap Pad is a sensory tool that offers proprioceptive or deep touch pressure to a person’s legs as it rests on his lap while seated or reclined.
A key benefit of a weighted lap pad is that, while a weighted blanket is generally used more as a sleep aid, lap pads are much more portable, due to their smaller, more compact, size.
This makes them a great sensory tool to be used during the day as a calming aid in the home, school or workplace. You can also use lap pads on trips out in the car or on visits to the dentist.
Here are 5 tips about weighted lap pad to keep in mind when you buy:
1 – USE THE LAP PAD WEIGHT ‘RULE OF THUMB’
Occupational Therapists generally recommend you use a weighted lap pad that’s around 5-7 % of a user’s body weight. Start with five percent of your body weight as a guideline to determine the appropriate weight the lap pad should have. For example, if you are picking for a child and they weigh 60 lbs. then a 3 lb Hippo Sit would be a good place to start.
2 – CONSIDER SENSORY REQUIREMENTS
Hippo Sit Lap Pads are calming for many kids & adults with sensory processing conditions. The extra weight helps provide the extra stimulation (or proprioceptive input) that sensory seekers crave. However, for some individuals who are highly sensitive to sensory stimuli might find the weight of a lap pad too much.
Another thing to consider is the weighted lap pad fabric. All Hippo Sit Lap Pads are covered in a washable, wipeable fabric but you can select from a variety of covers. Sensory seekers often love the tactile feel of minky or fabric.
3 – USE YOUR HIPPO SIT FOR SHORT PERIODS
Lap Pads are best used when a person feels anxious, is having difficulty calming down or needs to focus better.
Unlike weighted blankets, lap pads are designed to be used for shorter periods of time. Our Hippo Sit Lap Pads provide intense pressure and it is recommended that they be used for no longer than 60 minutes at a time.
Some examples of when to use a Hippo Sit Lap Pad are:
- before bed
- during mealtimes
- on a car trip or plane journey
- in a classroom or desk based environment
- during a trip to the doctor or dentist.
4 –NEVER USE AS A RESTRAINT
Weighted items of any sort should never be used as a restraint. A weighted lap pad should never be too heavy for the user to move off their lap themselves. That means when picking your Hippo Sit for someone else you need to ensure the person using it can move it off their body independently.
When using a Hippo Sit Lap Pad with children it is important to know that while a weighted lap pad may help immensely, you must respect a child who doesn’t wish to use a lap pad. No matter how well meant, pushing a child to use a lap pad, when they don’t want to, doesn’t respect the child’s own individual boundaries.
5 – KEEP WASHABILITY NEEDS IN MIND
All Hippo Sit Lap Pads are made with a washable, wipeable fabric. That means they are easy to use at meal times, at the dentist and you never have to worry about motion sickness on car rides. While the fabrics are breathable, you may want to invest in a lap pad cover or two which can provide a cozy, tactile sensation that is easily thrown in the washer and dryer.
Weighted lap pads are an increasingly popular sensory aid to help children and adults calm down, transition better from one activity to another, or improve focus.
Hippo Sit Lap Pads are smaller and more portable than weighted blankets, weighted lap pads rest over the legs and can be used almost anywhere – be it the home, classroom, office or dentist’s chair.
See our full line of Hippo Sit Lap Pads. If you’re unsure whether a Hippo Sit Lap Pad is right for you or your child, we are always here to help. Call or email us and we will provide a custom recommendation or visit us in store and you can try the different options.