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Bedwetting Alarm Options: What's going to help your child?

If you and your child are thinking that this is the year to tackle bedwetting, then we hope this blog will help you start thinking about the type of alarm that may suit your child and your family life. Kids That Go strongly recommend that your child is assessed by your Medical Practitioner prior to commencing alarm therapy. A clear understanding of your child’s physiology is key to identifying treatment and whether alarm therapy is an option.

Our previous blog, Let’s Talk About Bedwetting, may be a useful link to read together with this blog and provide guidance on the journey to becoming dry at night.

So, what are the options? There are two main alarm types on the market:

  1. Wearable alarms:  There are lots of options on the market to choose from.  Some alarms attach to night wear clothing with  a clip sensor, some are pre-sewn into the pyjama and some are placed into the gusset of the child’s undies 
  2. Pad alarms: These are mats and positioned onto the mattress. The child sleeps on top of the pad and when the pad becomes wet the alarm is triggered.

How to know what will suit my child? The key consideration is going to be which style of bedwetting alarm is going to be most helpful to your child. Your Occupational Therapist can guide you, discuss and demonstrate some options. Here at Kids That Go, we have a range of wearable and pad alarms to experiment with in the clinic. This is a great first step in trying out different alarms, how the alarm works whilst building your child’s knowledge and confidence to use the alarm. 

Curiously, just by preparing and learning about night wetting, how the urinary system works, noticing the sensation of a full bladder and steps to respond to a full bladder can sometimes trigger increased awareness and reduce nighttime wets.

Some initial considerations as to whether a bedwetting alarm is a helpful for you and your child includes:

  • Is this a good time in your child and family’s life? Is there capacity to work on this goal for 12–14 consecutive weeks?
  • Alarms can be noisy. They are intentionally loud to wake up the child but can also wake-up the whole family and be disruptive when others need to sleep – for example, is there a new baby in the family?
  • Are the adults ready to wake-up too when the alarm rings and support the child to follow the plan, or to help wake the child if they sleep through it! 
  • Importantly, is your child motivated to use the alarm and can take responsibility for specific tasks (with adult support) to use it?

 

Choosing the most suitable alarm with your child:

  • Consider how your child responds to their sensory environment and whether certain sensory stimuli can be irritating, distressing, or noticed? 
  • Is your child auditory sensitive? Some alarms can be very loud and alerting for a child without good preparation and accommodation. Choosing an alarm that can change the volume, sound, record the child’s own music or a verbal instruction, or even produce a vibration stimulus that will wake up your child may be a better option. 
  • If your child is a deep sleeper, consider whether the alarm is loud enough to wake them! Check-out the volume and ring tone options. 
  • Consider whether your child needs an alarm that offers variations of alarm sounds. This may help to reduce the risk of habituation to a particular alarm sound and make the alarm more fun. “Shall we have the bell ring sound tonight”?
  • Is your child sensitive to wearing an alarm on their body or attached to their clothing? Some children feel irritation of tags, labels on their clothing / body and avoid using an alarm that is uncomfortable. This can be counterproductive to achieving good sleep with the child removing the alarm or feeling restless at night.
  • Can your child easily operate the alarm – including turning it on/off? Alarms have different switches so finding one that they can operate easily is important when they wake in the night to turn it off.
  • Is your child a ‘wriggler’ at night, moving around the bed? Wearable alarms stay with the child during sleep versus a pad style alarm is more fixed on the mattress, and the child may move off the alarm pad. 
  • Consider temperature control, especially for those children who perspire a lot in the night or if the alarm is going to be used in the summer months. Some alarms can be triggered by moisture and results in a ‘false’ result. If this is your child, a Ramsey Coote pad and bell alarm may be a helpful option. This alarm will alert to only urine so will not be activated by water/sweat. 

 

For more information on bedwetting alarm options, check out the following websites:

 

We hope that this is helpful in beginning to think about whether alarm therapy is an option for your child. Our Occupational Therapists can assist you and your child and offer appointments to assess, trial and support alarm therapy treatment plans. 

 

ROS PULLMAN

Occupational Therapist



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