Monday, September 16, 2013

Chummie (bedwetting alarm) review


This is a review of the Chummie bedwetting alarm. Yes, I am really writing a review of this product! I felt a bit ashamed at first to be seeking one out for a certain recently-turned-5-year-old. Then I saw all the reviews on Amazon from parents of 8-, 10-, and 12-year-olds, and I didn't feel so dumb.

The truth is, Magdalena has never been able to stay dry at night. I know you all just got ready with your helpful suggestions about how to fix this, but I promise you that we had tried everything over the past 2+ years. And nothing worked. Our best efforts were hampered by the fact that both Jeremy and I work so neither of us could dedicate ourselves to long periods of frequent, pee-based night-wakings. Also, we could not afford to have Magdalena's bedding be The One Load of Laundry that could be washed and hung out to dry each day.

So I took the opportunity of our summer in America to finally get this done, since I wouldn't have to wake up early to go to work and I would have access to an American washer and (!) dryer and, of course, Amazon, where I could buy this product. I had thought that maybe bedwetting alarms didn't exist anymore - I vaguely remember them from my childhood, do you? They were metal-based and gave off a tinny screech if they got wet.

Well, bedwetting alarms still do exist, but as you can see from the image above, these are not the ones you remember from your own childhood. The Chummie we got for Magdalena was so cute that she was eager to try it out. We've had it for about six weeks now. Here are the pros and cons of our experience.

Pros: Chummie is cute and compact. The sensor works very well and it's easy to program and attach to the pajamas. There are several alarm sounds/volumes to choose from, including - thank goodness! - a silent vibrate/flash mode that we use since the girls share a room. Chummie came with a few accoutrements that, while nice, are not necessary, such as a sticker chart and some brand-specific cleansing wipes for the sensor (you can just wash the thing off in a regular sink, no big deal). Most importantly, Chummie works. In the beginning, when Magdalena was still getting used to it, she had a few halfway accidents before getting out of bed in response to the alarm. In the past week or two, however, she's been 100% dry every morning. Sometimes this is because Chummie woke her up in the night and she went to use the toilet. Other times, she's just legitimately slept through the night without wetting the bed, which is a minor miracle, considering all we've been through with her.

Cons: The alarm unit itself only weighs 1oz, but with 2 AAA batteries in there, it's a bit heavier. So you'll want to make sure your kid's pajamas are a bit sturdy around the neckline. I said above that the sensor is easy to attach, but that's only after you find the right tape (we ended up using some athletic tape that wasn't harmful to the sensor but was strong enough to adhere to the underwear). Every once in a while, Magdalena complains that she doesn't like the way the cord feels against her skin. But it hasn't been a deal-breaker for her (and you could always leave the cord on the outside of the pajamas if you really needed to). That's about it!

Final word: Magdalena is thrilled to not have to wear "special panties" (pull-up diaper things that, thankfully, are pretty cheap here) anymore, and I am thrilled to have a 5-year-old who can finally stay dry at night. We are very happy with Chummie and I would recommend it to anyone who has tried everything else out there without success.

12 comments:

Nancy said...

I remember in Egypt when we were training Rachel to sleep through the night/naps without wetting the bed (so, not at all the same problem as an older child, but still...) and I complained about having to wash her sheets every day and a friend in America said, "Washing the sheets everyday isn't that big of a deal," and I was like, "Tell me more about how convenient your washing regimen is," (insert smiling Willy Wonka here) because we had a tiny washing machine that ran FOREVER and then had to line dry. Washing the sheets everyday is a HUGE deal when it works that way. A couple of times I even walked pee-soaked sheets over to friends' houses where I would beg to use their washer and then DRYER so that I could put my child to bed on sheets. :)

I'm so glad this is working for you. I'd never heard of such a thing before. One of my siblings was a bed-wetter until the double digits sometime...but I don't think my parents used one of these alarm things. I don't know what they did, actually.

Anyway, hurrah for staying dry! :)

Bridget said...

Guess what, it really *wasn't* a big deal in the US with a washer (with a short cycle) and dryer! It could all be done within an hour - amazing. I felt a little silly for waiting to be in the US to do all this but it ended up being a pretty good strategic move, in terms of laundry.

Jen said...

Hooooooooo, boy. Toilet training any child at any age for any part of the day or night has to be one of the most mentally taxing things we do as parents of young children.

So happy you found something that is working!

Kathy Haynie said...

I had to use one of the older devices (not nearly as cute as a Chummie) with one of my children. They are all in their late 20s-30s now, so you know it was a good while ago! Should have used it sooner - would have saved me a lot of laundry and the child a lot of distress. We, too, had tried everything. So glad this is working well for Magdalena.

Glenda The Good said...

I'm going to share this. I have several kids whose kids are struggling with the same thing. I don't blame you for waiting. After your laundry post I got anxiety about all your laundry needs 😕

Glenda The Good said...

Haha I mean friends with kids :)

janis said...

What kind of athletic tape did you use? I'm struggling to find an alternative to the expensive Flexitape...

Bridget said...

Just regular athletic tape. I don't know the brand, sorry!

Caitlin Carroll said...

I missed this post originally, but I still have crazy clear memories about using one of these alarms as a 7 or 8-yr-old. It beeped so loud and obnoxiously though, so glad that Magdalena's had other settings! It was SO embarrassing to wear pull-ups to sleepovers (remember those things?!) though, so I'm glad my parents finally forced me to potty-train at night. I even peed at my friend's house on multiple occasions, but luckily we were really close to it wasn't a big deal.

Theresa Henry said...

Thank you so much for this review, we had used the Malem alarm with our daughter years ago but are looking for and alternative for our youngest (9 year old) son since the reviews on the current Malem alarm are not good.

John Doe said...

Warning: Customer Beware:
Regarding Chummie (Bedwetting Alarm).

I purchased the Chummie Pro. This unit comes with a very thick plastic mylar sensor pad. The unit works very well when wet, but the plastic sensor is extremely hard to sleep on and tends to snap and crack when moving around on it, even when placed under the sheets.
Their Tech Support Line is a “Joke” and a waste of your time. You would do much better by choosing another brand.

Karin Leslie said...

We just use 2 pairs of underwear and put the sensor between them :)

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