Bedwetters on Vacation

This time of year, families with bedwetting children have many questions about handling vacation and summer camps. Some of the kids are almost to dryness but not 100% dry. Some are wetting every night and a few wet intermittently, a few nights one week and none the next. Parents wonder what to do??

First, if your child is currently using an alarm, we would not expect him or her to take it to camp with them. They can interrupt usage and restart when they come home. If your family is traveling together and using the alarm could be handled discreetly, continuing alarm use while on vacation would be great.

Secondly, a backup plan should be in place, even for children who wet intermittently. Here are a few suggestions:

• Wear disposable pants, with a plan for putting them on discreetly and for disposal in the morning. Disposables come in all sizes, even small through extra large adult sizes. If your child has outgrown traditional children’s pull-ups, there are still many options. Disposable male guards or women’s incontinence pads can be secured to regular underwear to catch a small amount of urine. Disposable underpads that lie on a sheet or in a sleeping bag have tape strips to hold them in place.

• Use washable bedtime pants to preserve dignity. These can be a nice back-up for kids who are dry most nights but want to make sure there is no leakage onto bedding.

Waterproof sleeping bag liners fit into a regular sleeping bag. They provide a comfortable, waterproof surface for sleeping without raising questions from other campers.

Mattress overlays can be used on top of a sheet or used inside a sleeping bag. The overlays can be discreetly pulled into place when your child is ready to go to sleep.

• Make arrangements with the camp counselor to have toileting twice before bedtime and to continue a lifting routine if this is used successfully at home. (Lifting is when a caregiver walks the child to the bathroom at a designated time.)

• Medication, such as desmopressin, can be used temporarily to decrease the amount of urine produced that night. The correct dosage should be determined a week or two before camp begins. Only a small amount of liquid (2-4 ounces) should be ingested once this medication is used. It is best dosed shortly before actually going to sleep.

Lastly, make sure that your child knows that they are not alone and most camps are very helpful in discreetly handling any wetting episodes. Fluid of choice after dinner is water. Double voiding before going to sleep is helpful. Staying well hydrated during the day is helpful so the kids are not so thirsty later in the day.

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