Summer Camp and the Bed Wetter

Should a child who wets their bed on a regular basis not be allowed to attend summer camp? Absolutely not. According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately five to seven million children who reside in the United States are bed wetters yet still manage to enjoy the regular activities that other children engage in such as summer camp. More and more summer camps are becoming aware of how widespread this problem is and they are preparing ahead of time for it and using the utmost discretion to do so. According to one program director at a summer camp in Indiana, bed wetting is all in a day’s work and just something that the summer camp employees are taught to cope with in as sensitive a manner as possible. Besides bed wetting the other most common problem that camp counselors deal with is feelings of homesickness.

Whether your child wants to attend a camp for the entire or just an overnight camp it is important for parents to try to deal with it beforehand. It is wise to first begin limiting how much fluid your child consumes before bedtime and in particular to decrease drinks that are filled with sugar and caffeine. Also encourage your child to always use the toilet before he goes to bed at night and try to make bedtime as calm and relaxing a time as possible. If your child is a deep sleeper perhaps you might want to wake him up at some point of time during the night to see if he needs to use the bathroom.

If none of these methods help a visit to the doctor should take place. A doctor will run tests to determine if your child is suffering from a physical problem such as constipation, kidney disease, a bladder infection or diabetes. If all of these problems are ruled out then one of the best treatment options to try is a bed wetting alarm (also called a moisture alarm). This special alarm is affixed to your child’s bedclothes or bed sheets and at the first drop of spilled alarm it sets off an alarm to let your child know that he must get up and go to the washroom. Moisture alarms are believed to have the highest success rates of all treatment methods.

Talking about what your child can and can’t expect to happen at camp is a good idea before he leaves for camp. Answer all of his questions as honestly and as completely as possible. Always make the staff at the camp aware of your child’s bed wetting problem before he goes. The more informed the counselors are, the better able they are to help your child. Include it on the information you fill out about your child for admission to the camp and discreetly remind a staff member when you drop your child off. It’s also a good idea to be as specific as possible in regard to instructions as limiting the child’s intake of fluid two to three hours before bedtime and so on. While it is not a requirement at all summer camps, some ask that parents send their bed wetting children with an ample supply of disposable absorbent underwear.