When children begin going to
school, most people assume that they will have very
little problem with the issue of going to the bathroom.
However, some children may have trouble with the ability
to control when and where they need to go, either due to
a physical challenge or because of a disease or illness
that doesnít allow for regular control over their
bladder or bowel functions.
be very stressful, embarrassing, and frightening to the
child. Hope can be found through several steps that
parents and other caregivers can take in order to help
an incontinent child feel well-adjusted, happy, and
secure throughout their school day.
The most obvious
place to begin is with what type of under garments are
best for your childís particular situation. If your
child is too large for regular, disposable diapers, you
may want to consider contoured or fitted diapers. They
tend to vary in style, from those which have a slight
hour glass shape to those that are fully-fitted panties
with elastic legs and waist. When researching these
types of undergarments, itís important to be aware that
some of the fully contoured briefs and diapers canít be
bleached, a fact which may help to narrow down the
choices. Waterproof pants are usually worn with other
reusable products, however, they can also be used with
disposables products. When used with disposables they
can provide an added margin of safety, provide some
noise reduction and sometimes offer a little camouflage.
Waterproof pants are most commonly made from vinyl
plastic, available in various thicknesses, with a choice
of colored or white. Then there is the all-in-one
incontinent pant which is also reusable. This product
combines an absorbent pad or diaper with a waterproof
shell and function like adult disposable diapers. The
only draw back for the all-in-one pant is that it tends
to be one of the incontinence products most difficult to
design well. A related product, known as protective
underpants, are designed to protect against moderate to
light leakage. The advantage of wearing protective
underpants is that they can look and feel like normal
underwear while providing protection for at least
moderate incontinence, and there are also some
all-in-ones which are designed for heavy incontinence.
To a child, a cloth panty is ďrealĒ underwear, and this
will help them to feel more like their peers.
that may also provide security for incontinent,
school-aged children is adaptive clothing. Many
incontinent children have other medical conditions that
may complicate their incontinence care and management,
especially at school. Adaptive clothing can provide ease
of care that is not always available with standard
clothing. This is particularly true for clothing
designed to help parents care for a child with special
needs. Clothing can make it easier to dress someone who
has limited flexibility, and also make it easier to
access catheters or diapers. Specialized clothing can
also help hide incontinence products better than
standard clothing. For example, a T-shirt that snaps
under the crotch canít pull out of the waist band and
allow for the protective under garments to be shown.
Specialized clothing can be both attractive and
protective, such as slips that have waterproof panels
which can be worn under dresses and skirts. There are
also other special garments, like swim suites, that are
made especially for children with bowel incontinence.
encouraged to work with their childís healthcare team.
These professionals will usually be able to help the
family and child develop an emotionally healthy way of
dealing with incontinence, especially when at school.
You can also speak with your childís teacher, principal
and school nurse to make sure they understand your child
with regards to their bathroom needs, and if necessary,
make sure the school and the childís healthcare team
have an open dialogue regarding the obstacles and
solutions that may be experienced throughout the school
year. Remaining involved and informed will help you to
continue to provide your child with a wonderful, stable,
and happy educational experience.
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