ASK THE EXPERT
QMYseven-year-old son still wets the bed, and both he and I are embarrassed about it. Is this normal at his age, and what can I do to help him stay dry at night?
ALINALYNDEN, a helpline adviser for ERIC, the children’s bowel and bladder charity (eric. org.uk/bedwetting), says: “Wetting the bed is a common childhood condition affecting half a million children and teenagers in the UK.
“Around 12% of seven to nineyear-olds regularly wet the bed. However, it’s something which can have a huge impact on a child’s life, affecting their self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, achievement at school and social life.
Children may feel so embarrassed about their bedwetting that they avoid sleepovers or going on school camp for fear of their ‘secret’ being discovered.
“There are lots of things you can do now to try and help him get dry. The most important thing to start with is to give him lots of support and reassurance – let him know he’s done nothing wrong and he’s not the only kid his age to wet the bed.
“Make sure he’s not having bladder problems such as frequency or urgency in the day, and get these treated if necessary.
“Work out whether he’s drinking enough during the day (six to eight glasses of water-based fluid is best) and make sure he knows to stop drinking an hour before bed.
“Encourage him to have a quiet wind down without screens in that last hour before sleep and to do a sitting down wee before he gets into bed.
“Have a short trial of around a week or so without night-time pull-ups on to see if this helps his awareness levels.
“If you try all these things and they make little difference, book an appointment with your doctor or the school nurse. It’s important all children who are bed-wetting over the age of five years are seen by a health professional.
“They should start by ruling out an underlying reasons for the wetting such as a urinary tract infection or constipation, and get these treated first if necessary. Bed-wetting can also be a symptom of other illnesses such as diabetes.”
Half a million children and teens wet the bed in the UK