A bedwetting or enuresis alarm will be used every night, sometimes more than once each night, for weeks and possibly much longer. Bed wetting alarms are also used for sensing incontinence. The caregiver (parent) and patient (child) should consider several characteristics to identify a suitable alarm system:
1. Convenience: Is the alarm easy-to-use, including the wetness sensor being easy to attach and detach, and easy to clean and re-use? Is it convenient for the caregiver and patient to control the alarm (start, stop, change the alarm sound/light/vibration, etc.), have remote control of basic alarms features? Is the alarm system wireless? Can additional alarms or alarm features be easily added or changed?
2. Comfort: Is the alarm sensor small and light enough to be attached near the patient’s point of urination and be comfortable? Is the alarm small, light and easy to wear? Does it produce loud sounds, vibrations, or other effects that will wake or alert the user, and possibly the caregiver as well? For Wired Alarms, can the alarm box be attached easily and comfortably to the patient or patient’s clothing (typically to the patient’s shirt)? Is the attachment secure? Can the attachment damage the shirt? For Wireless Alarms, are the sensor and transmitter combined as one unit, or are they separate items that the patient must wear?
3. Flexibility: Will the alarm accommodate movement and motion by the patient? Can it be used with different clothing and under different night-time and day-time conditions? For example, the child may be playing and moving around. Or an adult user may have physical disabilities and/or be hearing impaired. Is the alarm system wireless? Can the alarm be used in public places and still provide privacy?
4. Durability: The alarm is likely to be used many times. Is it designed and built to work satisfactorily time and again? Does the sensor break easily or “decay?”
5. Reliability: It is important that the sensor senses the urine and sounds the alarm reliably every time a bedwetting incident occurs. It is also important that false alarms not occur. Will the alarm system reliably and consistently wake/alert the user, and possibly the caregiver?
6. Effectiveness: Is the alarm effective in waking up the patient (child) and the caregiver (parent)? Does it offer sound, vibration and/or other ways to alert and wake the patient? Is it loud enough, bright enough, vibrates enough, etc.? Are combinations of these available? Can the parent be assured of being woken by the alarm when the child is woken, so the parent can verify that the child is awake and help in the clean-up and other procedures? Can the alarms be changed by the users to better suit them? Is the sensor easy to attach, detach and clean? For Wired Alarms, is the connector from the sensor to the alarm (at the alarm box) secure, and will not come out accidentally during sleep and movement?
7. Weight & Size: The weight and physical size of the alarm and its sensor can affect how comfortable it may be for the user. Higher weights and larger sizes can make the devices worn on the body more uncomfortable. However, blindly looking at weight and size are not appropriate, as the technology and methods of attachment and use can significantly affect the user’s comfort.
8. Cost: The initial cost of the alarm system is not the only cost that should be considered. There may be continuing costs associated with using the alarm, including extra parts and supplies, special clothing, modifications to clothing, and disposable items. Apart from the money being continuously spent, add the extra time, effort and inconvenience, and the overall cost can be significant over time. Shipping costs also affect the up-front cost. The warranty also affects cost, as a shorter warranty may involve having to purchase the alarm or parts more often.
9. Warranty: The warranty offered suggests the minimum operating lifetime of the alarm system. Standard warranties on commonly used alarms can range from one year to one month. By definition, the user has no assurance that the alarm will work and be useful for a longer period of time.
10. Certifications: Is the alarm registered with and certified by appropriate authorities for safety and can be legally sold, shipped, and used in the country of interest?
Because every alarm has its limitations, manufacturers and sellers are notorious for inventing comparisons that only compare the positive features of their alarms, or compare their alarms to selected sub-sets of alarms which may be inferior to the alarm(s) being promoted. Every effort has been made to make the comparison charts presented here complete and comprehensive for Wired and Wireless alarms, examining every significant alarm and their detailed characteristics factually and with numerical data presented where possible. This provides the reader with full details and avoids the selective discrimination found on other comparison sites.
Correctly Understanding the Purpose of a Bed-Wetting or Enuresis Alarm:
1. A bed-wetting alarms cannot predict when a patient will bed-wet. It can only alert when bed-wetting occurs and adequate wetness reaches the sensor.
2. The caregiver or parent must be responsible for making certain that the patient or child responds to the alarm. Some children or patients do not want to get up or respond and may ignore the alert or invent excuses for not responding. The parent or caregiver must be responsible for making sure that the child or patient does respond to the alert.
Complete Disclosure About Products:
It is very important to also consider whether the manufacturer/seller are providing complete disclosure about their product. Manufacturers and sellers often do not disclose information which may prove embarrassing for them, including details of the product and its operation. Look for completeness, so that you understand how honest and straightforward the manufacturer/seller may be, and you also understand all of the features and characteristics of the product.
Because every alarm has its limitations, manufacturers and sellers are notorious for inventing comparisons that only compare the positive features of their alarms, or compare their alarms to selected sub-set of alarms which may be inferior to the alarm(s) being promoted. Every effort has been made to make the comparison charts for Wired and Wireless alarms complete and comprehensive, examining every significant alarm and examining detailed characteristics with factual numerical data where possible. This provides the reader with full details and avoids the selected discrimination found on other comparative sites.
Motivation and persistence are very important if alarm therapy is to be successful. Caregivers and patients are more likely to use the alarm system willingly and consistently if it is convenient to use every time.