Waterproof bed pads are part of an effective solution to better manage the effects of incontinence. They are used to double up on mattress protection—be sure your base layer is a waterproof mattress cover that totally seals the mattress against damage from liquid (click here to read our Buyer Guide on waterproof mattress covers).
Waterproof bed pads, or chux pads as they’re often called, can also be used on a chair, wheelchair and sofa for protection at any time of day or night. Creating a multi-part approach, one that includes incontinence briefs too, ensures user comfort as well as less damage to furniture. The best products not only absorb liquid, they also feature odor-control, which decreases any embarrassment, too.
Factors To Consider
To narrow down your choices, you’ll want to first decide whether to get disposable or reusable waterproof bed pads. Disposable waterproof bed pads are the most convenient—when one gets soiled, you simply throw it out and replace it with a fresh one. Disposables will cost more in the long run (bulk quantities are more economical), but there’s no laundering to worry about.
Reusable waterproof bed pads are less expensive and the top layer fabric may be more comfortable. For instance, the Soff-Quilt Reusable Bed Pad has four layers of wetness protection including a stay-dry top layer to prevent skin irritation. The pad edges are bound for longer life through machine washings.
Like incontinence briefs, waterproof mattress pads offer varying degrees of absorbency. This is typically determined by the materials they’re made from—the fluid-retention capability of the inner core and the quality of the waterproof backing. Some brands offer extra high capacity, like the Tranquility Peach Sheet Underpads. These latex-free underpads with a near five square foot surface are able to contain over one quart of fluid. Special absorbent materials in waterproof bed underpads attract and distribute liquid across the entire pad surface to avoid saturation in one spot. Some are made with antimicrobial agents or other odor-reducers.
Another feature to compare is how (and how firmly) the pad is held in place—some have flaps that tuck under the mattress, straps that go over mattress corners or adhesive backing to secure them.
Comfort is another important factor. Any skin conditions and allergies need to be taken into consideration. HUnderpads by Tena, for instance, are latex-free and waterproof, with an outer layer that’s both soft and strong.
Some designs satisfy specific needs. The TENA Air Flow Underpad is designed for use on low air loss therapy beds and pressure relief mattresses that maximize air circulation to prevent or heal bed sores. It features a non-woven top layer and a breathable back layer to protect skin. The super-absorbent inner layer has a fresh scent while providing security and dryness.
Bed underpads are available in several sizes; your choice will depend on the area you want to cover. Fortunately there are many designs available to suit virtually every need.