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Alarms for Heavy Sleepers

May 23, 2012 2 min read

Sleep Patterns

I haven't met a bedwetting child yet who isn't considered to be a very sound sleeper by their parents. Actually, children's sleep patterns in general are different than adults. (But in most cases, parents of children who don't have a problem with bedwetting don't try to waken their children in the middle of the night).

Research reported in the Fire Safety Journal suggests that only 15% of children ages 6-17 years actually woke up to the loud sound of a fire alarm in the home. This research was conducted on all children, not only those with bedwetting.

Bedwetting children let their urine out during sleep and are not aware that this happens. Their bladders may hold less than average and/or they may not have developed the brain-bladder connection that alerts them when they need to use the bathroom. There is often a family history of bedwetting.

Because of the perception of deep sleep, most parents worry that their child will not hear or respond to a bedwetting alarm. In fact, it is likely that your child will sleep through the alarm sound initially. But this tool helps you to be alerted when the wetting occurs.

Parents' Job

Parents play an important role in rousing their sleeping child once the alarm has gone off. As long as the alarm is loud enough for parents to hear, you can provide back-up if your child does not respond initially.

Over time, your child will begin to learn that the alarm's sound is something that needs attention. This response can happen at a subconscious level, with little memory in the morning.

Progress continues to take place, as the flow of urine is stopped, and wetting happens less and less frequently.


The bedwetting alarm may sound at any point in the sleep cycle. If the wetting occurs in the first few hours of sleep, your child may be especially difficult to wake up, be disoriented or even combative. She will not remember any of this behavior in the morning. I see this frequently in the first few weeks of using an alarm. Don't be discouraged!

Loud alarms, such as the Malem Ultimate, which features a loud constant sound and vibration, and the Rodger wireless, which has a loud receiver with a volume control button, are good choices because parents can usually hear them to respond.

Eventually, the brain and bladder begin to work together to alert the child before the wetting occurs or to hold the urine until morning.

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