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Health & Parenting

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Alarms Can Help Stop Childhood Bedwetting


Although the urine alarm has been available since 1938 and it is known to be effective, neither the alarm nor the psychological treatment recommended to go along with it are usually covered by health insurance, Mellon tells WebMD. "But over time, it actually costs much less than medication and doesn't have any side effects." While the DDAVP costs $90 to $120 a month and can take three years to work, the alarm and psychological intervention cost $600 to $700 total and can work in less than four months.

But before parents rush out to buy urine alarms, there are a few things they should keep in mind, Waksman tells WebMD:

  • The systems are designed for kids over age 6.
  • A cure is more likely if a psychologist is consulted.
  • It usually takes about a month for the bed-wetting to stop.
  • Children should use the system for three to four months.
  • There's a chance of regression within the first year.

But what about kids 6 and under? "Be patient, encourage them to wear pull-up diapers to bed, and do everything possible to preserve their self-esteem," says child psychologist Lawrence Balter, PhD, professor of applied psychology at New York University.

Balter also recommends that parents:

  • Not humiliate, embarrass, or punish their children over bed-wetting incidents
  • Avoid comparisons with other children
  • Reassure their children that the condition is only temporary
  • Discuss any family history of bed-wetting with their child's doctors

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