Best Ways to Travel With Autism and Incontinence
Incontinence in autism comes with its own unique set of daily challenges. Comforting and supporting your child, preparing for accidents, and avoiding sensory triggers may leave you exhausted at the end of the day. On top of that, you may soon have travel coming up. However, traveling with incontinence is not impossible, but is actually easy to do with a little extra planning.
Be sure to pack the essentials
The first step for a successful trip with an incontinent child is to be over-prepared with everything your child may need. Pack enough diapers for each day and then pack a few extra. This may be a good time to consider switching to a more absorbent brief to keep your child comfortable during long car rides or extended periods without access to a bathroom.
Chux or protective pads will be great to protect hotel mattresses or car seats from urine in case an accident happens. Many can hold up to 24 ounces of liquid to keep areas urine free and also make the cleanup process quicker and easier. Speaking of the cleanup, you’ll want to take a few disposal bags with you to discreetly throw away soiled diapers and conceal their smell to prevent embarrassing odors.
Plus, hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes will be great to have for quick clean-ups in any location and not just for incontinence. You know kids have the potential to get dirty or sticky fingers in any situation. Antibacterial wipes can be lifesavers. They are available in space-saving packages and can be used to clean surfaces in public restrooms whenever a diaper change needs to be made. In the event of a quick change or clean-up you may need spare clothes, so be sure to pack extra outfits, including pajamas, so your child can be dry and comfortable.
On vacation, you might not find the best food options available but sugary drinks and junk food can worsen incontinence, so pack water and healthy snacks for your child to enjoy.
You’ll also want to take a quality book bag that’s both functional and comfortable. It will need to carry a change of clothes and all of your child’s incontinence supplies in case an accident occurs in public.
Ways to help your child feel comfortable and stress-free
Traveling somewhere new and disrupting your child’s normal routine can cause stress and anxiety. In some cases, this can worsen incontinence, so you can reassure your child by supporting him/her and remaining calm. If an accident happens, don’t make a big deal of it. Quickly and discreetly clean up and change your child, and let him/her know that everything is fine. Incontinence can be embarrassing, and your child might not want relatives to find out about accidents, so do your best to keep the situation under wraps.
You can also help your child by developing a code word for when he/she needs to be changed or use the bathroom. Another good way to help is by practicing timed voiding. Instead of waiting for children to realize the need to go on their own, remind them every few hours by asking if they need to go. If they’re too caught up in an activity to go to the restroom, remind them that the activity will still be there afterward. Enter the restroom with your child to help reduce sensory triggers and allow him/her to not flush if the loud whoosh of the rushing water bothers them, or block the mirror if it upsets them.
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Where you can find extra help
Connecting with a quality durable medical equipment (DME) supplier can simplify managing incontinence by taking a lot off your plate. For example, they may help you save money by helping you qualify to have your child’s incontinence supplies covered through insurance.
A quality supplier will also pair you with a single incontinence specialist to handle your child’s needs with understanding and compassion. They will help match your child with correctly-fitting diapers and check in on a monthly basis to see if they need to make any changes to the supply. This is because your child may need a more absorbent product and will need to change sizes as he/she grows. An incontinence specialist can also recommend the latest, most advanced products to assist with incontinence.
They also eliminate the need to run to your local department store to buy diapers. Instead, they will discreetly ship your child’s incontinence products to your home every month in blank packaging.
When you prepare you can enjoy your trip!
The idea of traveling with incontinence may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right DME, incontinence products, and a little extra planning your family will have the vacation of a lifetime- filled with laughter, memories, relaxation, and much more.
This article was featured in Issue 86 – Working Toward a Healthy Life with ASD