Talk to any parent of an older, special needs child and they can tell you about the panic they started feeling when they realized their child was about to outgrow baby diapers.
It might have felt like it happened overnight - suddenly, the size 7 baby diaper (for 41 lbs+) are barely fitting around the waist and tabs are popping off when the child is mobile. Or worse, the absorbency level of a "baby" diaper can't keep up with the bladder size of a child who is approaching double-digits.
Parents often rush to their pharmacy or big box store and buy the small adult briefs, only to find that they're too big. So what do parents do while their growing child is in this grey area of no-longer-a-baby/not-quite-an-adult?
Fortunately, there are a number of good manufacturers who have identified this gap in the market and are working to product junior, youth and extra-small products to help. Here are our top 3 picks for older children and youth:
1) Tranquility All-Through-The-Night Briefs: One of our bestsellers for many reasons, not the least of which is that these briefs come in a wide range of sizes starting from Youth (Y) for a waist as small as 18".
These are a huge favourite with special needs support groups and have a loyal following with parents because they know that their child can continue to use the same product in different sizes as they grow (particularly important if your child has developmental delays and is easily flustered by changes).
Hint: Need something even smaller?Tranquility also make a little known "Junior Slimline" brief, which is great for kids 28 to 42 lbs.
2) Abena Abri-Form Air Plus Premium Briefs: This European brand is imported from Denmark and has the advantage of a soft, breathable cloth-like exterior - perfect for kids that tend to run a little warm.
Like the Tranquility ATNs, they come in a wide range of sizes, starting from XS for a waist as small as 19". They also have very good standing leg guards, which help to prevent leaks, even when sleeping on the side at night.
3) Tranquility Overnight Underwear OR Abena Abri-Flex Premium Underwear: Alright, so this is actually two recommendations, but we couldn't choose.
If your child is ready to try pull-ups, both of these products come in XS sizes starting from a 17" waist and provide exceptional absorbency. Tranquility's underwear has a slightly softer feel than Abena in our opinion, but Abena's has more elastics to hug the body.
Ultimately, discovering the right product for your son or daughter is a combination of knowing your child's unique needs , some good research and some trial and error. All the products suggested here are available as samples on our Children & Youth Samples page or if you're ready to buy, check out our new Children & Youth Products page.