The story goes like this: Toddler outgrows diapers, moves on to training pants. Pretty soon they graduate to underwear and never look back, right? Wrong. Approximately one in 10 potty-trained kids over the age of five is affected by daytime wetting, and nighttime bedwetting is common in children up to the age of seven. For some kids, daytime and nighttime incontinence issues may continue into adulthood.
Despite the prevalence of this condition, parents and caregivers often don’t have many places to go for help or guidance, so they turn to retail shelves. Retailers have a growing role in health care, so it’s only natural that parents will look to them for childhood incontinence care.
As an adjunct faculty member and guest lecturer, I travel the country educating nursing students, faculty, clinicians and health care staff on the topic of incontinence. Whether in the home or a professional health care setting, education is key to ensure the best possible outcomes for individuals. The better equipped retailers can be to help, the better experience it will be for the consumer.
The first thing to know about incontinence is that it shouldn’t prohibit kids from having fun and doing things they enjoy. To fully participate in school and other childhood activities, kids need to be comfortable. Using high-quality hygiene products that are made from breathable materials is key to reduce moisture and heat buildup, and ultimately avoid skin irritation and discomfort.
However, breathability is just one part of the skin health equation; finding the right size, fit and absorbency is also key to avoid issues such as urinary tract infections or skin irritation.
Absorbent hygiene products should be form-fitting, easy to put on and take off, and make the child feel secure. For example, if a child is routinely experiencing products that leak overnight, they are likely wearing the wrong size.
Right now, there is a substantial gap in the absorbent hygiene market for older kids and teenagers, who have outgrown baby diapers but are not yet ready for adult incontinence products. To manage these incontinence issues, First Quality introduced Boundless size 8 youth diapers, a first-of-its-kind product for children who are between 58 and 85 pounds.
These youth diapers are designed with more kids in mind, including those who may need the assistance of aids and caregivers throughout the day. With easy-to-use, adjustable tabs to help with efficient changes, Boundless youth diapers function differently than training pants, which are designed to be pulled up and down. These youth diapers also include a wetness indicator to avoid unnecessary changes.
Boundless youth diapers are backed by First Quality’s clinical team, which staff a 24/7 nurse line, providing free, 100% confidential support to consumers online and over the phone. First Quality’s team of licensed nurses can answer questions about product selection, application and fit, as well as general inquiries related to childhood incontinence. This is a service we make available to retail partners.
In creating Boundless youth diapers, and to address older children’s preferences, First Quality removed the super-cute design elements that are the hallmarks of its baby diapers. Retailers should make the same considerations when thinking about how they merchandise products for older children. They should be marketed differently than baby diapers and adult products and should stand out on the shelf to make it easy for parents and caregivers to find.
Retailers should also consider how consumers prefer to purchase absorbent hygiene products. Many people prefer the discretion and ease of online ordering and home delivery. Others prefer a one-stop shop for food and other essentials. It’s important to meet consumers where they are, with the products and information they need to make educated decisions.
As retailers’ role in health care changes, they have an important part to play in providing more inclusive options for kids managing incontinence. By being a resource for parents and caregivers, retailers can help ensure that every child feels confident and protected.
Michele Mongillo is a registered nurse, nursing educator and the global clinical director at First Quality.