Continence, Child Health & Sustainability
Since the 1960’s the average age at which children achieve day and night time continence has increased to three years and rising. The severity and frequency of nappy rash and urinary tract infections among infants have increased, as have Instances of delayed development of continence. This can negatively impact bowel and bladder control as well as personal psychosocial wellbeing into adolescence and beyond.
In the Uk each year a billion pounds are spent on disposable nappies. Once used they contribute a million tonnes of rubbish to our incineration and landfill tallies. Their waste management cost society £140 million and 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions can be attributed to their use.
50% of children worldwide still achieve full continence by between 8 and 18 months. The approach to hygiene and training for continence used by the carers of these children begins in the first weeks or months of life and is based on timing, habit, and communication.
There is an opportunity to change the way we as a society approach basic infant hygiene and the development of continence in children. The potential benefits of doing so as a desirable, preventative measure are far reaching.