In 2008, an autistic child died at school from improperly using a weighted blanket. The results of the coroner’s investigation prompted by the child’s death identified the potential hazards associated with weighted blankets and specified a set of basic rules for using them safely. At the coroner’s request, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux asked the Agence d’évaluation des technologies et des modes d’intervention en santé (AETMIS), now called Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS), to produce a knowledge synthesis (digest) on the safety and efficacy of weighted blankets for all potential populations who might use them. The digest also included weighted vests, as these are also widely used in Québec.
A number of INESSS’s partners collaborated in the project, including three major government departments and two professional bodies that were specifically affected by the use of weighted blankets and vests. The partners most heavily involved in protecting the users of such products are the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), the Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés (MFA), the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec (OEQ) and the Ordre des psychoéducateurs et psychoéducatrices du Québec (OPPQ). The welfare of children is at the heart of everyone’s concerns. The digest is intended for all parents, caregivers and professionals affected by the use of these products among children.
Watch the video on weighted blankets and vests.