Not All Heroes Wear Capes

TikTok Mom’s “Puke Bed” Is The Sick Kid Hack You’ll Wish You Thought Of

Brb, shopping for a kid’s inflatable mattress.

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A TikTok mom describes using an air mattress for easy cleanup when her kids have the stomach bug.

If you're on round 10 million of illness this school year, you're probably exhausted and seriously considering homeschooling. While there's not much we can do by way of keeping our kids illness-free (though some swear by elderberry syrup), there are always ways to make life easier when dealing with sick kids. From laying down tons of towels to strapping a bathroom trash can to your little germ factory, no measures seem too extreme to keep puke off the floor. There's even that old Jell-O water trick. But one mom has found a better solution to making it through the night when her kid has a stomach bug: Enter the inflatable mattress.

While you could use any inflatable mattress you have lying around, the kids' ones are particularly convenient since their low walls help keep wiggling kiddos in the bed — and also make it easy enough for them to make a run for the bathroom. Is it foolproof? Probably not. Some bugs are too hard to contain. But if it makes nighttime sicknesses a little less of a nightmare, it's worth a shot.

The Sick Bed Hack

"If your kids have caught every single illness, stomach bug, known to man this month, this is for you," TikTok user LovedThisHatedThat begins while rounding the corner into a bedroom, where an air mattress is on the floor. "This is an inflatable mattress that we got on Amazon. [We] bought it for travel but have not traveled at all. [We] have only used it for sicknesses and illnesses. Sometimes we put it in our room. However, it saves us from having to clean the beds all night long. We call it "the puke bed." It has been worth its weight in gold. I have gotten more use out of this than I ever thought I would, especially this month."

Here's why it's genius: It's portable, meaning you can set it up in your kid’s room or yours (to save yourself a ton of running back and forth all night). It's self-contained. And it's plastic, so you can hose it off. Whether you take it outside in the morning or simply use the sprayer in the shower is up to you. Knowing you don't have to climb all over your kiddo's bed trying to Clorox wipe every corner and crevice should help you sleep better, though.

Yes, there are pillows and blankets, but you have tons of those. If you keep some extra pillowcases and blankets handy and a designated hamper nearby, you can literally strip the bed and toss on a new blanket and pillowcase in a heartbeat. Then deal with the laundry once the sun is out, like the gods intended.

Throwing this out there, too: That inflatable bed looks a lot like an inflatable pool, which you can get on clearance at the end of summer. A few folded blankets underneath the pool will keep it soft to lay on — just keep them out of the potential path of vomit.

The big, important, don't-skip-this note: Inflatable mattresses (and pools) have age restrictions. Never put a child in a sleeping situation if you don't trust that they can roll over and avoid suffocation.

More Stomach Bug Solutions

  • Cover a section of the couch with a few trash bags, and then cover that with thick towels/blankets. That’s the designated “sick bay” in the living room.
  • Station small trash cans or buckets everywhere, even if you think your kiddo can carry one with them.
  • Line said barf buckets with grocery bags (and maybe even put paper towels or outsized diapers at the bottom to absorb excess liquid) for easy disposal.
  • Have a special cup. You already know you don’t feel like eating or drinking when you’re sick, and neither does your kiddo. A special sick cup will go a long way in encouraging them to hydrate.
  • Check out the back of the box and talk to your pediatrician or local pharmacist, but one TikTok pharmacist says Dramamine and Imodium are the way to go.
  • Keep those training potties nearby, too. Bowls and trash cans help when things come out from one end, but what do you do when they start working out the other end? Even if your kiddo has been potty trained for months, the bathroom isn’t always close enough when diarrhea calls. Will you want to lose your lunch carrying a training potty through the house to dump out? Yes. Still, it’s probably better than scrubbing poop from your rug.

On the plus side, the sickest stretch of the year is almost over. Until then, may the odds be ever in your favor.

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