Bedwetting and travel planning

Getting ready for a family trip? Plan ahead and think about how you'll handle bedwetting issues when your family is on the road:

  • Your child may be reluctant to travel due to fear of bedwetting, and may feel embarrassed if bedwetting does occur.
  • Depending on how and where you travel, it may be hard to find places to wash clothes and get fresh sheets if bedwetting occurs.
  • Bedwetting treatment options will need to be properly stored and transported (e.g., moisture alarms, medicines).
  • Your child may feel uncomfortable sleeping in a strange bed.

Here are a few simple preparations you can make before your trip:

Talk to your child's doctor. Before your trip, speak with your child's doctor about possible options for managing bedwetting. Treatment options for managing bedwetting include:

  • medications, including desmopressin which works by controlling the amount of urine your bedwetting child produces during sleep so it's similar to that of a non-bedwetting child's volume. This helps prevent the bladder from filling up too quickly.
  • alarms that go off when the child wets the bed, which work by sounding an alarm when your child begins to wet the bed. The goal is to train your child to get up and use the washroom before they wet the bed. Ideally you would need to start this treatment at least three months prior to taking your trip for this device to be effective.
  • other coping techniques, such as family counselling, bladder exercises, encouraging the child to use the toilet before bedtime, reducing the amount of liquids they drink in the evening, making it easy for them to get up in the night for the bathroom, having the child help with cleanup in the morning, and avoiding punishment for bedwetting.

Some options, such as desmopressin, can be used on a special occasion basis – for things like sleepovers, camp, or vacations. These medications can also be used on an ongoing basis and should be used with non-medication options, such as family counselling and bladder exercises, to help your child with bedwetting. If you and your doctor agree that medication may be an option for your child, your doctor may recommend that your child try the medication at least 6 weeks before going on the trip to make sure the medication is helpful.

Please keep in mind that not all techniques or methods that you use at home are going to be appropriate when your child is away from home. Your doctor can help you choose a bedwetting strategy that's appropriate for your child.

Bring some "just in case" supplies. You may wish to bring a plastic mattress cover or sleeping bag liner to prevent damage if your child wets the bed. Depending on what's available where you're staying, you may also want to bring a spare clean set of sheets and pyjamas. Your child can also bring along a favourite stuffed animal or toy to help them feel more comfortable waking up in a strange bed.

Contact your accommodations ahead of time. Ask for a roll-away bed in your room. This can save your family the anxiety of getting a full hotel bed wet and allow your bedwetting child to have a bed of their own, which can make them feel more comfortable. You can also ask for an extra set of clean sheets to keep in your room. As well, ask about laundry facilities that may be available onsite or near the place you'll be staying.

Bring your medications with you. If your child uses medication for bedwetting, it's very important for them to continue treatment even when they're on vacation. Don't forget to bring your child's bedwetting medication with you on the trip. Speak to your pharmacist about how to store it properly. Most medications are sensitive to heat and moisture, and some are also sensitive to light. If your trip involves air travel, be sure to keep the medication in its original, labelled container. Put the medication in your carry-on baggage. Checked baggage may be lost or exposed to more extreme temperatures.

By planning ahead, you and your family can enjoy a great trip. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: