When you have a baby one of the many things you don't expect to use indefinitely is nappies. You look in to the not so distance future and envisage *the joys of* potty training and eventually a nappy-free life.
However, when you have a child with disabilities, you recognise that you might not have a nappy-free future.
In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal. However, last year I felt a pang of sadness and frustration when I realised that, my then three year old son, Brody was becoming too big for the six plus nappies that I buy. I knew about the continence service and that he would be referred when he was four, but I didn't know how long this would take or where else I could buy bigger nappies.
A quick search on Google revealed I could buy them online. What disgrunted me though was - as usual - the special needs price tag! SEND parents know the one I mean - it's usually quadruple the price of a standard product because it's associated with disability. Companies are ever so thoughtful like that. Life really does cost a lot more when you're disabled!
As a result, I set up a change petition asking all supermarkets to consider selling or manufacturing bigger nappies for incontinent children with disabilities.
The NHS Continence Service
Of course I am aware of the continence service run by the NHS. Although we have yet to receive any nappies, we have had a few meetings with our continence nurse now.
This service is without a doubt beneficial for many families. However, it is unfortunately inconsistent in its approach and the service you receive very much depends on where you live. This becomes more apparent, the more I speak to others. Referral age, eligibility, waiting times and the number of nappies you receive differs hugely throughout the UK.
Pull Up Nappies
People online with good intentions point me towards Pull Ups, which come in slightly larger sizes. However, they are designed for children in the process of potty training. Hence there are fewer nappies in a pack and the absorbency isn't as good. They're not adequate for a child who is doubly incontinent. Not only this, it would cost a small fortune for parents to buy Pull Ups, as one pack may last only a day or two.
Cloth nappies may suit some children with additional support needs, and there are some fantastic companies where parents can buy these online. However, this isn't a best fit solution for every parent and child for many reasons (sorry cloth nappy fans).
Gap in the Market
The truth of the matter is that thousands of parents require bigger nappies because their children are either ineligible for the continence service, or require more nappies than they receive. Expensive nappies online are just that. Expensive and online. Not a quick or cheap solution.
There is a huge gap in the market which supermarkets could take advantage of. At the same time, they would be helping a large consumer group - one that is often disregarded. The disabled community has consumer needs like everyone else. Except sadly we often need to campaign for "access for all" and encounter unneccesary overinflated prices.
This needs to change.
I truly believe in this petition and that it could benefit many families - mine included. To date, over 14,500 people have signed. And some of the supermarkets are starting to listen...
Please sign and share it with your friends and hopefully together we can make a difference.
You can view and sign the petition here.
My Beautiful Boy Brody