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Moisture alarms are the most successful single treatment for
bed-wetting.1 They work best for older children who can hear
the alarm and wake themselves. If attempts to use a reward system (motivational therapy), drink most fluids in the morning and afternoon, and use the toilet right before going to bed aren't helping, then an alarm may be a good choice for your child. Moisture alarms may be
used with other treatments. The alarms aren't meant for children who wet the bed only once or twice a week.2
Moisture alarms for
bed-wetting are worn on the body and make a sound when
urine first touches the child's underclothing. The child is encouraged to try
to "beat the buzzer." When the alarm sounds, the child:
At first, parents may need to help the child with all of the
above steps. Children younger than 10 may not hear the alarm, but the treatment
still works if parents hear it and wake the child. Also, the parent or child
may keep a chart or calendar of dry, wet, and wet-spot nights to encourage the
child. The child's doctor will want updates on how this method is working.
A child is less likely to return to bed-wetting after using a moisture
Moisture alarms are inexpensive, safe, and fairly simple to
use. But the child and the parents need to be trained on how to use the
Graham KM, Levy JB (2009). Enuresis. Pediatrics in Review, 30(5): 165–173.
National Clinical Guideline Centre (2010). Nocturnal enuresis: The management of bedwetting in children and young people. London (UK): National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Available online: http://www.guidelines.gov/content.aspx?id=25680.
Other Works Consulted
Glazener CMA, et al. (2005). Alarm interventions for
nocturnal enuresis in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).
October 24, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
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