Bedwetting alarms are an important component in the treatment of bedwetting. Studies indicate an 80% long-term cure rate when used correctly. For a child who has bedwetting, once the bladder is full, instead of waking to go to the bathroom or "holding it" as the non-bedwetting child does, the bladder releases all of the urine into the bed. No one knows exactly why this occurs in some children and not in others.
How Alarms Work
A bedwetting (enuresis) alarm is a device that emits an auditory and/or tactile sensation in response to wetness. The alarm is attached to the child's underwear or pajamas in the area that one would expect the first drop of urine to be expelled. When the child wets, the alarm makes a loud noise to alert the child and his/her parents that wetting is occurring
Gradually, over a few weeks, the child learns to respond to the feeling of a full bladder by going to the bathroom before the alarm goes off. This is a type of behavioral conditioning. It differs from arbitrarily setting an alarm clock to go off at a certain time or by the parents waking the child when they are up. The best type of conditioning is in response to the child's full bladder and urination, which will vary in time from night to night.
Because the loud sound is what alerts the parents to assist their child and help them to the bathroom, an auditory alarm is necessary. The combination of both sound and vibration does seem to add another way of helping the child wake up.
What to Look for
Mrs. Mercer will help your family choose the best alarm to meet your needs during the office visit. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
Where alarm sensor is placed - A small comfortable sensor attaches securely to the child's close fitting underwear or is in specially designed briefs. Bulky sensors or large mats are not as comfortable.
How alarm is turned off - With wireless alarms, the sound comes from across the room. The child must get out of bed to turn it off. With wearable alarms, the sound comes from the alarm located on the shoulder of the pajama top. The child disconnects the sensor from the underwear, and then pushes the reset button on the shoulder.
Volume - The alarm should be loud enough for parents to hear, so they can help their child. Wireless alarms have volume control on the alarm unit and can be ordered with an additional alarm unit for the parents' room. Wearable alarms are loud, about 80 decibels, which is as loud as allowed when placed close to a child's ear. If the alarm cannot be heard from the parents' room, a baby monitor can help.
Since bedwetting alarms are a mainstay in the treatment of bedwetting, it's an easy first step that most parents can take. No prescription is necessary and children over 6 years can learn to respond. Bed wetting alarms can be purchased directly from the Bedwetting Store.