4 Crash Pads for Safe Sensory Stimulation

By raluca.olariu@…, 20 April, 2022
four boys playing in the grass

Children with autism often struggle with sensory processing, which can make it difficult to learn and understand what is going on around them. They may have a hard time distinguishing between the sounds of different people or objects, or they may be overwhelmed by sights that are too bright or loud.

Sensory processing therapies are designed to help children become more aware of their surroundings so that they can better process information from the senses. This includes helping them develop an awareness of touch, smell, taste, sight, sound, and movement. 

This article outlines how crash pads can ensure safe sensory stimulation and provide four brands that build the best crash pads available on the market. 

How can crash pads help with sensory stimulation?

The benefits of crash pads for people struggling with sensory processing issues are multiple. Heavy work activities that involve pushing or pulling against the body can help with proprioceptive input to the muscles and joints, improving attention, body awareness, plus it's super fun. It can also help ease some of the symptoms associated with ADHD, help aggressive children and those overstimulated. 

Crash pads can be used at home, school, daycare, or in a hospital setting. They can be used by parents to help their children learn how to self-regulate during times when they are having difficulty paying attention or to teach them how to manage sensory input.

Due to the fact that autistic children often seek out excessive sensory input to calm themselves down, crash pads provide an ideal designated zone for jumping and crashing to fulfill any sensory seekers. 

Research suggests that sensory integration therapy (which can use sensory crash pads) is effective for treating autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This type of therapy involves working on developing skills such as body awareness, attention, motor coordination, muscle strengthening, etc. 

You might also be interested in How Nutrition Is Linked with Mental Health in Children.  

4 crash pads for safe sensory stimulation 

1. Skil-Care Crash Pad

Skil-Care has been creating products for medical purposes since 1978. Their crash pads have been designed specifically for use by patients in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other healthcare facilities. These pads are made from durable materials like vinyl, polyethylene, and nylon, which will not tear easily. 

The Skil-Care crash pad is filled with soft foam that is ideal for sensory stimulation or balance activities. It can be easily cleaned due to its machine washable nylon cover. 

Customer review: "I bought this crash pad for my nephew for Christmas! It was a huge hit! He has PDD/NOS on the autism spectrum and I read other reviews that recommended it for sensory seekers. He absolutely loves it! He jumped on it right away and loves to lay on it. He and his brother have been wrestling and jumping on it together. They put their angry bird balls on it and then jump and the toys go flying through the air! They have been laughing and smiling all week. Thank you!! I am so happy we purchased it!", says Katy.   

2. Metolius Magnum Crash Pad

Although not specifically built for sensory activities, the Metolius Magnum Crashpad is perfect for keeping kids safe while playing outside. The padded surface provides a stable base for climbing, balancing, and jumping. 

This crash pad contains 900d body fabric for maximum durability, and its sandwich foam design is created for maximum impact absorption. 

Customer review: "Just a great pad. I find it remarkably light for the size of that pad. Also very comfortable shoulder straps and waist strap. Love how fast you can pack it up with just one strap also the Velcro pieces that you can cover the seams between the three sections are awesome in avoiding ankle twists," says Brandon.   

3. Mad Rock R3 Crash Pad

Another brand that provides crash pads for climbing purposes which can be very efficient for children with autism in their sensory processing activities. The Mad Rock R3 crash pad is a heavy-duty, high-density foam pad that is designed to withstand rough play. 

It features a rugged exterior shell that protects against bumps and scrapes. Its unique construction allows it to absorb impacts without losing shape or integrity. 

Customer review: "I love this pad. There are a lot of problems that may get skipped because the landings are sketchy, but this pad, it molds itself very well to rocky and uneven ground. Even alone it is enough to cover most falls. There is a little flap that covers the straps for when you put the pad on the ground that helps to keep the straps clean which is a nice detail. The baffles are not uncomfortable to land on even from a distance up. I have not experienced any ankle rolling or even thought that was going to be an issue. Overall, an excellent first pad for the eager outdoor beginner," says Peter.    

4. We Sell Mats

Although designed for fitness-related purposes, the We Sell Mats Crash Pad is suitable for use in many different ways. This lightweight mat is made out of durable polyester material that is easy to clean. 

Its rubberized bottom keeps your child's feet secure during exercises and prevents slipping. 

Customer review: "Great Pad. Not too soft not too stiff. solid build. If I want to make it a little softer I add the 4-inch pad on top," says Jack.  

FAQ about sensory crash pads

Can you use a mattress as a crash pad?

Foam mattresses are too soft to be used as a crash pad. Although they provide some cushioning, they do not offer much protection against injury if a child lands hard on them. Instead, choose a crash pad made out of thick paddings such as foam, bubble wrap, or a combination of both.

How long does a crash pad last?

Crash pads should be replaced every few months, depending on usage. Some crash pads can last more than a year if properly cared for. However, we recommend replacing them at least once per season.

What kind of materials do crash pads come in?

Crash pads come in various sizes and shapes. They can be made out of foam, bubble wrap, plastic, or other types of padding. Choose a crash pad that is appropriate for your child’s age and activity level.

What are the benefits of sensory crash pads?

Sensory crash pads help children develop motor skills by providing a safe environment where they can explore new experiences. It also helps improve their balance and coordination. In addition, sensory crash pads allow children to practice self-regulation through active exploration.

Are sensory crash pads safe?

Yes, crash pads are extremely safe for kids. They are made out of strong materials that protect them from sharp objects and injuries. They are also covered with non-slip surfaces so that they stay securely in place while protecting your child’s body from harm.  

Other types of sensory processing activities

Sensory processing therapies also include tactile play therapy, sensory integration therapy, and sensory diet therapy. These therapies focus on helping children learn how to process information received through touch, taste, smell, sound, sight, and movement.

For example, tactile play therapy involves using toys and other items to stimulate children’s senses and teach them how to manage sensory input. Activities such as blowing bubbles, playing with sand, and pouring water into cups are examples of tactile play therapy.

Sensory integration therapy focuses on improving children’s ability to integrate all five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch). For instance, this type of therapy may involve teaching children how to identify colors and sounds.

Sensory diet therapy teaches children how to eat foods that match their individual tastes. Examples of sensory diets include gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free diets.

Outdoor sensory activities are also an effective way to promote healthy development. Children who spend time outside have better social skills, improved motor skills, and higher levels of physical fitness. Outdoor sensory activities also help children develop independence and self-control.

Discover Fun Outdoor Sensory Activities to Try This Spring.         

Photo credit: Unsplash.