Types of Enuresis Alarms
Enuresis alarms can help provide effective treatment for the problem of bedwetting in children. While the actual causes of bedwetting vary, the solution to the problem is the same in most cases - the child needs to learn to wake up enough to visit the bathroom when their bladder becomes full. Enuresis alarms are designed to wake the child AND a parent as soon as possible after wetting starts. If the child is encouraged to get out of bed at this time and go to the bathroom, over time this response will become natural and the alarm will no longer be needed.
All enuresis alarms consist of two main parts - a sensor to detect the moisture from bedwetting, and an alarm unit which sounds an alarm to wake the child and a parent. There are basically two types of alarms available, bedside and clothing-mounted. The bedside type uses a pad-like moisture sensor, which is placed under the top layer of bedding in the child's bed. This is then connected to the alarm unit, which is usually placed on a bedside table near to the bed. These units can be either battery or line-powered.
As the name implies, clothing-mounted enuresis alarms are attached to the child's clothing. There are several advantages to this type of alarm. The sensors used are much smaller and can be attached to the child's undergarments - thus sensing the moisture sooner than the pad-type. The alarm unit is attached to the child's clothing in the shoulder area, which means the alarm is closer to the child's ear and more likely to wake them quickly after bedwetting starts. This type of alarm may also be easier to use while away from home - there is no need for a table or outlet near the child's bed, and no pad to install under the bedding.
Some clothing mounted enuresis alarms have an added feature for waking the child - a vibrating alarm. They use a device similar to what is used in cell phones which vibrates to signal an incoming call. This vibration can be used in combination with the audible alarm to help wake an especially deep-sleeping child.
While the clothing mounted type of enuresis alarm is definitely newer and offers some advantages, the older bedside types are still available. They may in fact be preferable in some cases, for example when the child sleeps very restlessly and the sensor and/or the alarm unit will not stay attached to the child's clothing. They also do not have to be "installed" every night before bedtime.
Enuresis alarms provide an effective method of treatment for bedwetting. You should consult with your child's pediatrician for a specific treatment plan for your child. The doctor may recommend a prescription medicine, several of which are available, in addition to the use of an enuresis alarm. Be patient and remember - the little bit of sleep you lose while doing this can translate into a much happier childhood for your child.