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An Easy Change

By Hilary Gibson, Staff Writer

How many times have you been stuck in traffic and have had a certain, terrible thought run through your mind, “I really should have gone to the bathroom before I left work, but I was in such a hurry to get home, and now I’m stuck in traffic, and I’m about to explode!”  A mixture of panic and dread come over you, not to mention the horrible, physical feelings and side effects from “holding-it-in.” Why such a graphic description? These same feelings of anxiety happen to lots of physically challenged children every day, several times a day, with many of them unable to physically get up and run to the bathroom at a moment’s notice.

Aside from the thousands of daily things a caregiver must do for a physically challenged child, the issue of using the restroom occurs several times a day (and night). There is certainly nothing easy about one of the most demanding tasks a caregiver and their loved one can share. It can be an extremely sensitive and touchy subject for children who have mobility problems and who want to strive for their own independence, just as every child does. So, how can a physically challenged child achieve independence while being able to go to the bathroom without a drawn-out ordeal? Luckily, the advent of several products for incontinency has helped to make the issue of going to the bathroom a less stressful one, especially for kids who are unable to physically get to the bathroom. The once taboo topic of bedwetting has “come-out-of-the-closet” thanks to companies who have created products designed for both physically challenged children and those who only have the issue of bedwetting. Through their informative commercials and ads, the general public is beginning to understand and accept the issue of children and incontinency.

There are many types of disposable undergarments to choose from, with all sorts of different specialty features available, designed for comfort, fit, and fashion. There are undergarments that are made for use during the day, and those with extra-absorbency made for nighttime use. Some undergarments are open-sided with adjustable Velcro straps that stay in place, providing a better fit, plus making it much easier for caregivers to help their loved ones fasten and unfasten them, unlike the old buttons and straps that used to be available. Most of these undergarments come with elastic leg gathers, so that the chance of leakage is far less, making cleanliness much more of a possibility. You can also purchase disposable undergarments that work as pull-ons or as conventional diapers, depending upon the level of independence and mobility of your child, as well as which one is easiest for you. Some of these disposable undergarments even have a soft, cloth-like cover that prevents the crinkling noise that can sometimes happen, and allows better ventilation, making it healthier for their skin. Available also, are disposable undergarments that feature a wetness indicator, a special fecal barrier, tear-away sides, and sizes that range from extra-small to extra, extra-large. Many of the incontinency products available are also designed with different activities in mind, such as swimming. You’ll find either disposable swimming trunks or wash-n’-wear that can be used more than once. Both come available in different sizes and colors, with the ability to let water flow in and out, while retaining solids.

Keeping a child with physical challenges in a clean environment has always been a challenge, but with better products available and with continued advancements and improvements, caregivers and their kids are able to feel more confident. Products such as chair pads are waterproof and help to keep wheelchairs, furniture and car seats free from leaks and stains. There are also waterproof mattress covers as well as disposable underpads that not only have waterproof backing, but also feature a soft, super-absorbent top layer, which also offers good protection from accidents. Along with all of these products that help protect furniture, mobility equipment, and cars from leaks and accidents, let’s not forget about the items that can help protect your child’s skin from the irritation that so often accompanies accidents and leaks. Skin care items such as a foaming skin cleanser and disposable wipes with aloe can help quickly clean the skin, and moisture-barrier creams and ointments help prevent rashes and other skin irritations.

With all the products available today, incontinency and the other challenges of going to the bathroom need not be an issue of embarrassment or dread for children or for their caregivers, but rather a normal function that everyone has in common.

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