This article discusses the various types of waterproof sheets available for bed-wetting. One thing that needs to be kept in mind as far as managing bed-wetting is concerned is this-even if a person wears diapers to bed they should also cover the bed with a waterproof sheet just in case the diapers leak.
The most common type of waterproof sheets are rubber and vinyl(also known as plastic). Vinyl sheets are available in two styles-fitted and zippered. Vinyl sheets can be purchased from stores such as Walmart,Sears,J.C.Penny,Target,Bed,Bath,and Beyond,and most department and linen stores. Some fabric stores such as Jo-Anne Fabrics and Crafts also carry vinyl which they can custom cut for you.Finally there is a company based out of North Saint Paul Minnesota called Comco Inc.(not to be confused with Comco Manufacturing) which can also custom cut vinyl to your specification. You might want to call them and ask them how much this will cost. I would use a fitted sheet that way if the diapers do leak it’s much more convenient to take off the bed(especially in the middle of the night) In addition it’s less trouble to clean. Although you can wipe a zippered cover off,it’s much more of a hassle to take it off the bed in order to let it air out after wiping it clean
Rubber sheets usually have a backing of flannel on one side and rubber on the other. One company that manufactures these sheets is Duromed. Some pharmacies might have rubber sheets in stock,if not many can special order them. Additionally, many hospital supply stores stock incontinence supplies including diapers and waterproof sheets.
Besides the covers previously mentioned many people use other items as waterproof sheets-people have a lot of ingenuity in terms of improvising in various situations and managing incontinence is no exception. I’ve heard of people using vinyl shower curtains and vinyl table cloths as bed-wetting covers. One woman on an incontinence forum said she used a plastic tarp as a protective sheet. The next few sections discuss an idea I have for making homemade bed-wetting sheets. Some people might consider this idea somewhat unorthodox but I thought I should at least mention it. I actually found out about this several years ago from a friend of mine. Her daughter had a bed-wetting problem and she used a regular plastic sheet to cover her daughter’s bed. I don’t know if other people also use this type of plastic for this purpose, but I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about.
At this point I’d like to discuss this option. Hardware stores such as Home Depot,Ace,Lowes,and others sell clear plastic sheeting in various sizes and thicknesses. In addition contractor supply stores,paint supply stores,Amazon,as well as other places sell plastic sheeting in different thicknesses and sizes.The most commonly used thicknesses for various tasks are 4 mil and 6 mil. The friend I mentioned used a regular plastic sheet that was 4 mils thick on her bed. Having a roll of plastic sheeting on hand is a good idea because in addition to using it for a bedwetting sheet the plastic can be used for many household jobs-as a drop cloth for painting,as a cover to rake leaves on for yard cleanup,to cover outside materials such as firewood,mulch lumber,patio furniture,and other objects,as a weed barrier for gardening,for weatherproofing,to use as a vapor barrier under insulation,to cover plants during the winter,for concrete and masonry work, as a slip and slide,for remodeling projects, as well as many other uses. An advantage of having the roll of plastic is that you can cut multiple sheets so you can have several bedwetting sheets on hand. Some waterproof bedwetting sheets can be pretty expensive and some of the vinyl sheets typically used for this problem can rip or tear after a while. When the youngster outgrows the bedwetting you can save the plastic sheets for various jobs around the house. The only drawback to using this type of plastic for a bedwetting cover is that it makes a crinkling sound whenever the user moves around in bed which some youngsters might find objectionable. This can be minimized however by placing several layers of cloth over the plastic. I talk about this further in the next few sections. As far as which thickness to use over the youngster’s bed since the 4 mil is thinner it makes less noise and therefore this might be a better choice for many people. Since many bedwetters are deep sleepers(a large number of bedwetters can sleep through a nuclear blast!) the rustling sound of the plastic might not bother them or they might be able to adjust to it over time. If you do decide to go this route I would try it on a temporary basis. If the youngster finds the noise disagreeable then you should cover the bed with another type of waterproof sheet.
Another thing to consider if you are considering using this type of material to cover the youngster’s bed is the following. If the bed-wetter shares the room with another sibling this can make him or her feel self-conscious as well as disturb the other person. If the child sleeps in their own room this obviously won’t be an issue but the crinkling of the plastic might make it hard for them to sleep. This problem can be minimized somewhat by placing several layers of cloth covers over the plastic. Places like Jo Anne Fabrics sell flannel sheeting(and other material) on rolls and you can ask them to cut several sheets so you can place them over the plastic. If you have extra blankets in the house you can use them to place over the plastic as well as using an extra mattress pad. The purpose of placing multiple cloth sheets over the plastic is to muffle the sound of the plastic making it more pleasant for the child to sleep on. You might have to tinker a bit in terms of how much and what combination of cloth material to layer over the plastic. Terry cloth might be a good choice since it is thick and the thicker the material the more it will cut down on the rustling sound. Towels,extra blankets,mattress covers,and flannel sheets are just some of the items that could be used for this purpose. Places like Jo Anne Fabrics and Bed,Bath,and Beyond might have additional suggestions for material to use for this situation.
Certain people might not be able to get past the crinkling noise of the plastic so this choice obviously isn’t for everybody but at the risk of sounding cliched it’s good to think outside the box. As far as I know my friend’s daughter didn’t seem to have a problem with this type of cover but everyone is different. If parents have had lots of trouble with vinyl mattress covers ripping and tearing they might want to look into this option .Some people might consider using this type of material for a waterproof sheet as overkill, but it’s good to be open minded about trying different ideas. Who knows it may become a trend to use this type of cover to manage bed-wetting! In addition to protecting the bed from bed-wetting you can use the plastic to protect the bed from dust mites and other allergens.
There is one more thing that should be kept in mind if you are going to try this kind of waterproof sheet.. If the child is planning to stay away from home-either at a friend or relative’s house or if the youngster might go away to camp for the summer,it would be better to use a different type of sheet to cover the bed in order for the youngster to maintain discretion.
Another place to consider going to for purchasing plastic sheets to put over the bed is a fabric store. Stores such as Jo Anne Fabrics sell vinyl by the yard in various thicknesses. Some people purchase this type of vinyl to make their own slip covers to put over furniture,for table cloths, and for various projects. Jo Anne Fabrics sells 8 gauge thick frosted clear vinyl which is 54 inches wide for $3.49 per yard. From what I understand most vinyl mattress covers you purchase at stores such as Walmart,Target,and Bed-Bath and Beyond,and similar places are made of 3 or 6 gauge vinyl. As mentioned earlier in this article some of these vinyl covers can tear after a while. Bed,Bath,and Beyond have fitted vinyl mattress covers ranging in price from $5.99-$11.99 while Walmart has fitted vinyl mattress covers from $4.97-$7.97. Depending on what size bed you have and how much vinyl you want to use over the bed it might be slightly more expensive than the vinyl covers at the stores just mentioned, but overall I think it would be more cost effective to purchase the 8 gauge frosted clear vinyl sheeting because it will most likely last longer than traditional vinyl mattress covers. I looked at the vinyl and it seemed like an ideal material to use for this purpose. I’ve also heard that 10 or 12 gauge vinyl might be suitable for protecting the bed. You can look at the various thicknesses they sell to determine for yourself which type of plastic would work best. If you have a Jo Anne Fabrics(or other fabric store) I would look into this option. You’ll have to give them your mattress size in order to determine how much vinyl you’ll need to cover the bed. Also there are mail order fabric places that sell vinyl sheeting by the yard and some of them sell samples for a nominal price. For instance the Online Fabric Store(www.onlinefabricstore.net) sells swatches of clear vinyl fabric in sizes of 4” x 4” for $1.00. Other places that sell vinyl fabric include Hancock Fabrics(which have stores throughout the country-in order to find out if they have a store near you you can click on the store locator on the website or look in the phone book),J&O Fabrics
Like protective garments,protective bedding and sheets are available in both disposable and reusable styles. HDIS(Home Delivery Incontinence Supplies) has different brands and sizes of disposable underpads. Another place that sells disposable underpads is Continence Connection. Other companies that sell both reusable and disposable bed pads are XP Medical and ABAIP which stands for A Better Absorbent Incontinence Product. Some companies that make bed pads are Tranquility and Attends. If you’re considering going the disposable route you might want to ask the customer service rep from whatever company you’re buying them from if they have samples. Most incontinence supply stores and hospital supply stores sell both reusable and disposable bed sheets so you shouldn’t have any problem finding what you need.
I hope this article has given a good overview of the different options out there to help manage your bed-wetting. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to find the solution that works best for you. Just like everything else in life there’s a lot of trial and error involved. As always I welcome any comments and feedback you might have.