Summer Sleep Away Camp and Bedwetting
A Three-Step Plan to Protect and Prepare for Camp
Summer sleep away camp offers so many opportunities for children and teens, yet it can instill fear in the hearts of a child or teenager who wets the bed.
When bedwetting continues, whether it happens every night or once a week, the child is concerned about other campers discovering their secret. Even if they don’t express it to a parent, overnight camp can be anxiety-filled for them. Even children who are eager to leave home for sleep away camp are likely to worry constantly or even attempt to remain awake all night so as not to be discovered.
Preparation is the key to giving your child a true sense of security during their sleep away camp experience.
Review the camp policy regarding bed wetting:
a. Ask for a detailed account of how they will be able to keep your child’s secret safe.
b. Learn who will be checking the bed each morning, what time, who it will be, and how they will be disposing of wet sheets and replacement sheets.
c. If you will be sending disposable diapers such as Pull-ups or GoodNites, ask where they will be kept and how will they be discreetly disposed, so your child’s secret is safe.
d. Don’t assume sleeping bags, double sheets, extra underwear or rubber mattress covers, as part of their camp equipment, will protect them.
e. Educate the camp director and nurse about the deep sleep disorder so they understand what is causing your child’s chronic bedwetting. This is not psychological or purposeful behavior.
Medications do not offer a full-proof solution:
a. Always review side effects with your pharmacist.
b. Never assume medication will keep your child dry and inform the camp director of the possibility of nighttime wets.
c. Children are very active at camp and need to stay properly hydrated. The drug most prescribed for this situation is DDAVP, or known as Desmopressin, which requires are reduction of fluids.
d. Have a back-up plan in place if the drugs fail to dehydrate them enough to keep them dry at night.
Daytime control issues need attention:
a. Daytime leaking, urgencies and/or frequency of urination can be symptoms from nighttime bedwetting.
b. Daytime “accidents” his will increase worry for a camper as well as possible exposure to bullying.
c. Review this problem with the camp director well in advance.
d. Determine how the camp staff will handle your child’s wet clothes and smell.
e. Ask for the name of the person your child can turn to for immediate attention if this occurs.
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