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Advice For Talking To Your Child About Catheters

advice for talking to your child about using catheters

Have you recently been told that your child will need to start a regimen of intermittent catheterization? If so, it’s normal to have a few fears about whether or not your child is ready to learn to self-catheterize. We have some helpful advice for talking to your child about using pediatric catheters.

Tips for Talking to Your Child About Using Pediatric Catheters

If your child needs to use catheters, they may have a variety of reactions. Some kids approach it like a new normal right off the bat. Others may feel scared. They might worry it will hurt or that their friends will know. The best way to help them through this transition is to talk to them. Here are a few tips that may help.

1. Let your child know they’re not alone.

First, make time for a good sit-down conversation with your child. During this heart-to-heart, you can discuss anything that feels comfortable for you both. However, the main thing you will want to get across is that intermittent cathing is a normal part of many people’s bathroom routines, and your child is not alone.

Many people incorrectly assume that only older adults need to use catheters. However, people of all ages and from all journeys of life use intermittent catheters to help manage a wide variety of medical conditions and needs, such as spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, neurogenic bladder, urinary incontinence, and more. That means children as young as newborns sometimes require the use of pediatric catheter supplies. In addition, many children can learn how to cath on their own once they’re old enough and ready.

2. Frame self-cathing as a normal part of their daily routine.

Next, it’s a good idea to make self-catheterization seem like it’s just another part of the day. Explain to your child that some people need to use the bathroom differently, and intermittent catheters help them do that. Normalizing catheter use can reduce the chance of having your child feel embarrassed, isolated, or different from other children.

Let them know that while the idea of using catheters may seem kind of scary, it is actually what will keep them healthy, and it shouldn’t hurt.

A mom with her little daughter

If your child’s catheters ever hurt or cause pain, don’t force the catheter. There are ways to potentially make cathing less painful. First, however, talk to your child’s doctor about the situation.

In case of minor irritation or pain when cathing, it’s possible that a catheter type change could help. For example, hydrophilic pediatric catheters remain well-lubricated from start to finish, making cathing much more comfortable.

3. Discuss the importance of hygiene to prevent UTIs and other infections.

When it comes to using catheters, practicing proper hygiene is an important part of keeping clean and preventing illness. Explain to your child why they need to avoid urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other related potential complications because of drawbacks like additional doctor visits, tests, and painful and even sometimes dangerous symptoms if left untreated.

You should always make sure your hands and/or your child’s hands are washed and clean before handling the catheters. Insertion supplies like antiseptic wipes and gloves can also be helpful in preventing contamination and infection risk as well.

washing hands

If you’re interested in catheters that may help prevent infections, contact 180 Medical. Our Catheter Specialists can go over your insurance coverage with you and discuss your child’s catheter product options.

4. Join the 180 Medical Kids Club.

Lastly, consider joining the 180 Medical Kids Club. Visual aids like activity books and stories with relatable characters who self-cath could help your child better understand the catheterization process. Plus, your child may need some extra help and support along the way as they learn to use their catheters.

That’s why we created the 180 Medical Kids Club. Through the Kids Club, your child gets to meet 180 Medical’s storybook characters Ethan and Emma, who live with spina bifida and self-cath on their own.

It’s a fun way to help your child adjust to the process of using pediatric catheters, whether they are doing it on their own yet or not. Our unique and colorful booklets are educational and fun, and most importantly, they help normalize the process of sterile catheterization.

ethan and emma
Meet Ethan and Emma by joining the 180 Medical Kids Club.

5. Get the right pediatric catheters for your child’s needs.

When it comes to intermittent catheters, it is definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation. 180 Medical has nearly 2 decades of experience in helping our customers find just the right insurance-covered catheter products based on their preferences and unique needs. We understand that what works for one person will not always work for another. That’s why we make it a point to carry an incredibly wide variety of catheter types from all the top brands on the market, so you have full freedom of choice.

catheter brands at 180 medical

Our staff goes through extensive training to merit the title of a specialist, and they will demonstrate compassionate care with you every step of the way. We’ll be glad to help you find the best pediatric catheters for your child, as well as any additional incontinence supplies they may require to supplement their order.

From the very start, 180 Medical is here for you. Find out more about how we can help you and your child by contacting us.

180 medical kids club

Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

About the Author
Advice For Talking To Your Child About Catheters
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she has been with the company for 15 years. She loves getting to be creative in her role and hearing from customers about the positive impact we've made on their lives.

Outside of work, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their dogs or browsing garden centers (where she will almost certainly buy another houseplant she doesn't really need).