I talked briefly about this in my article “Waterproof Sheets for Bedwetting” but I wanted to discuss this in greater depth so that is why I decided to devote an entire article to this topic. Vinyl sheets are the most widely used type of waterproof sheets to cover the bed to protect it from bedwetting and are available in two styles-fitted and zippered. From what I understand the fitted cover is used more often, most likely because it is easier to put on and take off which is especially useful when cleaning the sheet after an accident.
Some vinyl covers are poorly made and as a result can rip or tear after a while. With that in mind I thought that I would tell parents(as well as adults who may be suffering from bedwetting) about an idea I have for a waterproof sheet to put over the bed to protect it from bedwetting. I first found out about this almost 20 years ago from a friend of mine who had a young daughter with a bedwetting problem. She used a regular plastic sheet(the kind you use as a drop cloth or to cover outside materials) on her daughter’s bed. This seemed to work real well.
At this point, I’d like to talk about what type of plastic to buy and where to buy it from. Plastic sheeting comes in several different sizes and thicknesses and is sold by the roll. Plastic sheeting as you may know is used in construction for a variety of purposes such as covering outside materials,as a vapor barrier to put under concrete and to cover concrete during the curing process,as well as for many other uses, so the material is extremely durable and lasts for a long time. The most popular thicknesses are 4 and 6 mil.(mil stands for millimeter). It also comes in either black or clear. I would used the 4 mil plastic because it makes less noise. Hardware stores such as Home Depot,Ace,and Lowes carry rolls of plastic in various sizes. 10 ft. x 100 ft. and 20 ft. x 100 ft. are popular sizes. I saw a roll of clear 4 mil plastic in 10 ft. x 100 ft. at Home Depot for $44.00. The brand name is Husky.
Once you get the plastic home you’ll need a utility knife or a pair of scissors to cut the plastic. There are a couple of ways you can cut the plastic to cover the bed. You can cut it so the plastic wraps all the way around the mattress or you can cut the sheet so it covers part of the mattress. For instance you can cut a sheet that stretches from the end of the pillows to the end of the mattress and then tuck the sheet in. The amount of plastic you’ll need depends on the size of the mattress. After cutting the plastic,place it directly on top of the fitted mattress pad that goes on top of the mattress. Next,place some cloth covers over top of the plastic. Blankets will work fine for this purpose. Finally,place the fitted sheet over top the blankets. I find that two blankets combined with the fitted top sheet is sufficient for reduce the crinkling sound that the plastic makes whenever the person moves around in bed. Remember to tuck the blankets under the mattress so they don’t come loose or bunch up when the person moves around.
This brings me to the next topic. Although this type of plastic is very durable,the drawback to using it is that it makes a rustling sound when the person moves around in bed. Since many bedwetters are sound sleepers(most can sleep through a nuclear blast!) this might not be an issue or they might be able to adjust to it over time. I would put the plastic over the bed and see how they feel about it. If they find the crackling sound objectionable I would put another type of waterproof sheet over the bed.
Besides being sturdy,another advantage of using this type of plastic is the fact that you have a great deal of flexibility with how you can cut it to cover the bed. You can also cut off several sheets of plastic which comes in handy if the child or teenager leaks through his or her diapers and wets the plastic underneath. In a situation such as this, you can use another sheet of plastic while the other piece is drying on the clothesline.
Another benefit of using this type of material is that plastic sheeting has a lot of uses around the house. You can use the plastic as a drop cloth,to cover outside materials such as firewood,patio furniture, and plants during wintertime to protect them from frost, you can use the plastic for remodeling work,as a vapor barrier for insulation,for yard work,for concrete work,as well as many other tasks. With that in mind,even if the child,teenager,or adult finds the plastic unpleasant to sleep on,you can still use the plastic sheets for other purposes.
One suggestion I have to motivate the child or teenager to try the plastic out for a while is to offer them some type of incentive such as increasing their allowance or giving them a certain number of gold stars or points which they can then cash in for a present they really like such as a video game,a book, a cd, or something else they want. I suggested using this same approach in my article “Ways Parents Can Encourage Older Children and Teenagers to Wear Diapers for Bedwetting”. As mentioned, many bedwetters are deep sleepers and the crinkling noise the plastic makes might not bother them.
The child care author Vicki Lansky talked about using plastic garbage bags for a bedwetting sheet in her book “Practical Parenting Tips”. In addition, another book on bedwetting said that any type of plastic can be used as a bedwetting sheet so using hardware store plastic sheeting is an option that should be considered.
Finally, keep in mind that the plastic is not meant to be used as the primary form of protection. The child or teenager should wear diapers to bed whether pin-on cloth diapers covered with plastic pants,disposable tape on diapers,or both. As mentioned in other articles of mine some individuals that wet the bed wear both types but wear disposable diapers during the warmer times of the year such as spring and summer because they find the cloth diapers and plastic pants too hot(and therefore too uncomfortable) to wear during that time. As far as what type of diapers to have your child or teenager wear to bed, I’ve written several articles talking about the different types and brands of pin-on cloth diapers,plastic pants,and disposable tape tab diapers available for older children and teenagers with bedwetting problems. These articles are “Disposable Diapers to Manage Bedwetting with Older Children and Teenagers”, “Information Regarding Pin-On Diapers for Older Children and Teenagers With Bedwetting Problems”, and “Brands of Plastic Pants for Older Children and Teenagers With Bedwetting Problems.”
I hope my idea works and helps parents and adults dealing with this issue. I would love to get any feedback from people who might have tried my idea. Please feel free to comment on whether or not this worked for you if you feel comfortable doing so. One of the things that I would be interested in knowing is whether the child or teenager was able to sleep with the plastic on the bed or if they found the noise too unpleasant. In that case what type of waterproof sheet did you use to cover the child or teenager’s bed? I wish parents and adults suffering from bedwetting good luck, and I hope my articles helped you find products that enable you to manage this problem in a way that makes you feel comfortable and dignified.