Why ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity exists

Having a child with a bladder or bowel issue can be scary and frustrating for both the child and parents/guardians, especially when it can take multiple trips to a GP and/or a lengthy amount of time to get a formal diagnosis. It can be difficult to know whether what is happening to your child is caused by a medical condition or whether it is a ‘phase’. There is help available in the form of ERIC, The Children’s Bladder and Bowel Charity. Alina Lyndon, Communications Manager for ERIC tells us a little about this vital charity.

How common are continence problems in children? 

Childhood continence problems are more common than you think.  1 in 12 children are affected by a bowel or bladder difficulty: that’s around three children in every primary school class. And, in an average secondary school, around 40 young people struggle with a wetting or soiling issue.  

The impact on children 

Afraid of wetting themselves in class or on a school trip; too many children and teenagers are missing out on sleepovers and camping trips; being bullied and constantly trying to hide the signs of their ‘secret’. 

The embarrassment and shame surrounding continence problems, means that many young people and their families are suffering in silence. Blaming themselves and unsure of where to turn for help, parents and carers hope their child will eventually grow out of it. Left untreated, bladder and bowel problems can cause serious health complications but with the right treatment and support most children can overcome their problem or learn to manage it.

What ERIC does to help

ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity has been dedicated for over 30 years to improving the lives of all children and teenagers in the UK facing continence challenges. We provide expert support, information and understanding to children and young people and those who care for them so they can establish good bowel and bladder health for life.

Our work includes:

Helpline: At the heart of our work is the ERIC freephone helpline. Staffed by a small team of expert advisors, we provide information, signposting and confidential support to children, young people and anyone who cares for them.  

“Calling the ERIC helpline was life changing. Knowing we were not alone was very empowering. The help we have had has changed everything for our eleven-year-old son. He is no longer afraid of having accidents at school, he has regained a sense of control of his life and the sense of shame and anxiety has lifted. He is now looking forward to his school residential trip next year, something we would never have previously thought possible. He has regained his life. Thank you.” Sarah, mum of Jack.

Information and resources: Our website is packed full of free information and resources for children, families and the professionals that work with them, including early years practitioners, teachers, nurses, social workers, GPs and health visitors. We have dedicated areas for younger children and teens so they can get information and realise they aren’t alone with their problem. 

Specialist continence products: Our online shop has over 200 specialist products for children with bowel and bladder problems. These include bedwetting alarms, watches with timers, which discreetly remind children it’s time to go to the toilet, waterproof mattress covers and sleeping bag liners and pants and swimming costumes with hidden padding. 

Training: Our established Training Programme provides best practice guidance to health and education professionals across the UK and internationally, equipping them to deliver the most up to date evidence-based, effective support to the hundreds of families they work with. 

Small but mighty!

ERIC is a small charity with a highly regarded reputation. Our work is recognised in the UK and internationally and we have won awards for our work in the field of childhood bowel and bladder health. Most recently this includes a prestigious Nursing Times Award for our best practice guidance document: Managing Continence Issues at Nursery, School and College. The award recognised a partnership approach with co-authors Bladder and Bowel UK (BBUK) to providing guidance and practical support for children at school.  
Contact details:www.eric.org.uk and our helpline: www.eric.org.uk/helpline