When Holiday Stays Spell Disaster: Bed-wetting on the Road

New York, NY
October 23, 2002

Visiting family over the holidays means truckloads of wrapping paper, cartons of cookies and tons of tinsel. It can also mean hot-faced humiliation for children who routinely wet their beds. Bed-wetting, or nocturnal enuresis, affects five to seven million children in the United States, ages 6-12 and beyond. Whether it's genetic or individual, bed-wetting induces feelings of guilt and shame. To help alleviate the stress of overnight stays away from home, here are some tried-and-true tips from the National Kidney Foundation:

  • Minimize your child's caffeine intake, especially before bedtime. Too much soda at holiday parties can bring on bed-wetting;
  • Schedule an appointment with your family doctor to rule out any other underlying illnesses and to discuss possible treatment options;
  • Brief the host and/or hostess on how to downplay the situation and be sensitive to the feelings of the child;
  • Offer reassurance and information to the child, especially the fact that millions of children suffer with the same condition and most outgrow the problem on their own;
  • Minimize the importance placed on bed-wetting episodes and privately praise the child's efforts to stay dry;
  • Play up child's achievements in sports and school work in front of relatives so he can receive positive feedback from family members;
  • Bring absorbent pants along on any overnight stays to combat wetness until your child outgrows the problem;
  • Remember never to punish or blame the child.

The National Kidney Foundation and Kimberly Clark are teaming up to help parents and children cope with bed-wetting. The new partnership will include research, awareness and education initiatives. To learn more about bed-wetting click here.