Alarms for Children 5 to 12

Choose the right alarm for your child
By: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP

Five to twelve year old children are the most common age group using bedwetting alarms. Children less than five should be given a little more time for growth and maturation before beginning alarm use.

The Malem auditory alarm is a good choice for the younger children. This is the smallest, most lightweight alarm on the market today. The single tone red Malem alarm makes the same tone each time it’s activated and helps the younger children identify that sound with getting up to urinate in the bathroom. The yellow Malem alarm randomly plays 8 different tones to prevent children from getting used to just one tone and "tuning it out". Easily attached with the easy clip sensor to the outside of the underwear, it does not require any special briefs. The alarm unit is attached to the shoulder of the pajama top. Because of its small size, it uses smaller, button type batteries.

Some families find that the additional stimulus of vibration that the Malem Ultimate alarm offers is beneficial. This Ultimate alarm both sounds and vibrates once it is activated. You have the option of choosing either sound or vibration but it is set to do both when you receive it. Although this alarm is about ½ inch larger than the auditory only alarm, most children find that it is comfortable to wear on their shoulder. This is our most popular alarm and uses a set of common AAA batteries as its power source. These long lasting batteries are easily replaced when they run out. The unique easy clip sensor (in all Malem alarms) securely attaches to the cloth briefs, without a chance of it accidentally pulling off.

The Malem Ultimate alarm does offer more sound variety than the smaller auditory alarm. You can choose a single tone alarm, a random sound gold alarm or the Selectable alarm. The Selectable alarm allows you to pick a sound to play every night or randomly play the various sounds. If you treat more than one child at once, it’s helpful to choose Malem alarms that make different sounds so you will know which one needs your attention. It’s a personal choice as to which sound combination you choose. If you have found that your child easily drowns out repetitive sounds, selecting a random tone or selectable alarm would be a good choice. Most of the research on bedwetting alarms has been done with single tone alarms since the random tones are a newer feature. We know that a sound loud enough for the parents to respond to initially is the most important consideration.

Because the loud sound is what alerts the parents to assist their child and help them to the bathroom, an auditory alarm is necessary. A vibratory only alarm, which is similar to a pager worn in the underwear, does not allow the parents to help the child respond. Many parents report that their child sleeps through this type of vibratory pager alarm and wakes up wet with no idea of what he or she could have done differently. (We do not sell this type of alarm at the Bedwetting Store.)

Another great option for 5-12 year old children is the Rodger Wireless alarm. The Rodger Wireless alarm consists of specially designed briefs with the sensor threads sewn in place. This alarm is perfect for children who prefer not to wear a top to bed or are concerned about having an alarm situated on their shoulder.

A small transmitter is snapped on the waistband and the receiver is plugged into the wall or placed on the nightstand. Once the underwear senses the moisture, the receiver continues to sound until the wall unit is turned off. Someone must get out of bed to attend to this alarm! And why not go to the bathroom while you're up?

This alarm comes with two pair of specially designed briefs and others can be purchased separately. This alarm is one of the easiest to use. There is no need to connect an alarm to a shirt or snap a sensor to underwear. There are no worries about sensor placement. Simply pull on the underwear at night and your child is ready to go. Unless you get laundry done on a daily basis, ordering a few extra pairs of briefs is helpful, especially in the early learning phase.

bedwetting alarms are a mainstay in the treatment of bedwetting, they are an easy first step that most parents can take. No prescription is necessary and children over 5 or 6 can learn to respond. Our starter kits contain the alarm of your choice, two washable waterproof overlays and the book "Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness". Our customers find that these are the essential supplies needed to be successful. Key Points to consider:

  • What does your child normally wear to sleep in?
  • How frequently do you get the laundry done?
  • Will you be treating more than one child at once?
  • Does your child prefer an alarm that attaches to the shoulder or one that sounds from a wall unit?