All About Bed-Wetting Alarms

All About Bed-Wetting Alarms

What is a bed-wetting alarm?

A bed-wetting alarm is a device that wakes a child who wets the bed. There are various types. For example, the mini or body-worn alarm has a sensor which is worn in the pajamas or pants. The sensor is linked to an alarm (bell or vibration alarm). If the sensor gets wet, it immediately activates the alarm. The pad and bell is similar but the the sensor pad is put under your child.

How do bed-wetting alarms work?

The sensors are usually so sensitive that the alarm goes off as soon as your child starts to wet. This wakes your child who then stops passing urine. Your child should then get up and finish off in the toilet. This conditions your child to wake up and go to the toilet if he or she starts to wet the bed, or is about to start. In time, your child is conditioned to wake when his or her bladder is full (before wetting begins), or learns to sleep through the night without wetting the bed.

How is the alarm used?

Make sure you know exactly how the alarm works. Use it every night until your child has had at least 14 consecutive dry nights. On average, 3-5 months is needed for this.

At first it may be best for an adult to sleep in the same room as your child. The adult can get up with the child, as it might be frightening when the alarm goes off. However, when your child gets used to the alarm, he or she should take responsibility for getting up when the alarm goes off. In time, your child should also be given responsibility for re-setting the alarm after getting up, and for changing any wet sheets or bedding.

Are there possible problems with bed-wetting alarms?

  • Sometimes your child just turns off the alarm and goes back to sleep. With some alarms you can place the alarm out of reach so your child needs to get out of bed to switch it off.
  • Beware of batteries running low.
  • False alarms sometimes occur if your child sweats a lot at night.
  • Sometimes everyone else in the home wakes up, but not your child! This is unusual. If it happens, wake your child so that he or she switches off the alarm.

How successful are bed-wetting alarms?

In children who are old enough to understand (from the age of around 5 and above) and who are happy to do this treatment, there is a good chance of a cure. (Alarms are not usually used in children aged under 5.) Cured means more than 14 continuous dry nights within 3-5 months of starting to use the alarm.

Following an initial successful treatment, the bed-wetting may return (relapse) at some point after treatment stops. If this occurs, a second course of alarm treatment will often work.

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