Summer Camp and Sleepover TipsCoping with Bedwetting
By: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP
Most children eagerly await the summer with its sleepovers, vacations, and fun-filled weeks at camp. Children with bedwetting do not need to be left out of the summer fun: with some pre-planning, children who wet can also enjoy these fun summer activities.
Some things to keep in mind when making plans:
For a sleepover, how comfortable are you sharing information with the hosting family?
- Grandparents are typically accepting of the need for disposable pants or the necessity of walking your child to the bathroom.
- Children may not be comfortable having parents discuss this sensitive subject with friends’ parents. You should be sure to abide by their wishes.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
- Will your child use a sleeping bag, have their own bed, or share a bed with another child?
- If a member of your child’s immediate family will be present, could treatment with a bedwetting alarm be continued?
How many nights will your child be away?
- Some children can manage to stay dry for one night if they stay up very late and get up very early.
- Most children can only do this for one or two nights, however, before sleep deprivation sets in and they return to their normal sleep pattern.
Sleepovers don’t have to be a time of anxiety for bedwetting children. Disposable or waterproof pants, waterproof sleeping bag liners and pads, and medication are all options which allow children to participate in these fun staples of childhood. Also, having a back-up plan for extended stays can ease your mind and your child’s.
Until your child becomes reliably dry, disposable pants are an easy solution. Work out a plan for when and where children should put on the pants at night and remove them in the morning. Usually, simply including a plastic bag in which children can store the soiled pants is enough. The filled bag can be placed in their overnight bag to be disposed of at home. Remind your children to double void in the evening and to only drink water if they are thirsty after dinner.
Waterproof sleeping bag liners and underpads
Sleeping bag liners are discreetly placed inside the sleeping bag to create a waterproof barrier between the child and the sleeping bag. This barrier prevents leakage to the outside of the bag and can simply be removed and replaced if wetting does occur. The sleeping bag liner is machine or hand washable and can be used over and over. An added benefit to using this liner is that it prevents ground moisture from reaching the user, making it a great aid for camping. Liners are exclusively available from the Bedwetting Store.
Washable waterproof overlays, which are absorbent pads that lie on top of the bedding, are useful in preventing urine from reaching sheets and mattresses. These come in several sizes, and are available with tuck-in flaps that secure to the mattress. Some campers use these pinned inside a sleeping bag or under their body when lying on a cot. Overlays offer additional protection when a child has almost achieved dryness, but has an occasional relapse. Hotels, vacation properties, and relatives appreciate you protecting their bedding from urine stains.
Disposable overlays also provide discreet bedding protection and can be easily changed if wetting does occur. The Sta-put pads with adhesive strips or tuck-in sides stay in place, even with a restless sleeper.
Medication, such as desmopressin, can also provide some dry nights. Taken immediately before bedtime, it decreases the total of amount of urine produced at night, enabling many children to sleep until morning without urinating. If you plan for your child to use this medication for sleepovers, try it for a few nights at home first. You can observe the child’s response and determine the dosage required to ensure dryness. The maximum dosage is 3 tablets. If your child does not stay dry with this amount of medication, a back-up plan is necessary.
Relaxed summer schedules are ideal for treatment with a bedwetting alarm
Many families wonder what the best time is to tackle their child’s bedwetting problem through the use of an alarm. If your summer schedule is less hectic than other times of the year, you may find that this is the perfect time to begin using a bedwetting alarm. Alarms sense moisture, alerting you and your child that it is time to get up and walk to the bathroom. Over time, your child will begin to put together the feeling of a full bladder with the need to wake up and get to the toilet. Bedwetting alarms offer a permanent cure for bedwetting but must be used long enough for your child to internalize this new behavior.
Some families may want to begin using an alarm, but have plans to travel for a week or two during the summer. For a few nights, neglecting the alarm is not problematic. On these nights, a disposable pant, waterproof sleeping bag liner, washable, waterproof pad or disposable Sta-put underlay could be used. Your child can resume the use of the alarm when you return home.