Home of Huggles

Siobhan’s struggles spark clever Kiwi invention to help kidney kids

Raising a kidney kid has many challenges, but one Kiwi mum has invented a clever Kiwi product to make life a little easier.

As a mum of a kidney kid, Siobhan Richards was used to her son’s catheter leaking and often spending hours washing sheets and cleaning to prevent infections. Siobhan realised she could transform not just her own life but the lives of many others enduring similar battles. This is when ‘Home of Huggles’ was born.

The inspiration for this clever Kiwi invention was her son Jakob. Jakob was born with a single kidney and struggled with severe vesicoureteral reflux, leaving him dependent on a mitrofonoff catheter. While significantly improving his life, the catheter was prone to leaking, leaving Jakob’s bed wet and badly stained.  Mum Siobhan, fed up with the all too frequent leaks, sought to find a solution to keep Jakob’s bed dry.

“I had a normal mattress protector on Jakob’s bed, but found it very frustrating being a busy mom and having to wash the mattress protector multiple times a week. They can take a long time to dry, even with a tumble dryer. This often meant putting down layers of other blankets, towels, and sheets to protect the mattress. On some occasions even this was not enough, and I would then also need to deal with a urine stained bed – I thought to myself, there must be an easier way.”

“I asked my mom to make me a mattress protector out of the barrier textile she uses for her loungers and honestly it has been a life changer for me,” says Siobhan.

After a few weeks of testing, Siobhan and her mum realised they were on to something which could transform the lives of other families in similar circumstances.

Expanding to include a small range of protective products, Home of Huggles uses a specialised barrier textile which is designed for medical and acute settings. The barrier textile is similar to that used to cover hospital beds, so it is waterproof, resistant to blood, urine, fats, and oils. Gentle to the touch and with a multidirectional stretch, it is also antimicrobial, antifungal, and effective against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

“Now, if there is a leak, all I need to do is remove the sheets, wipe the huggles mattress protector, wipe it dry, and put new sheets on. It takes hardly any time, has reduced my washing load and generally made my life so much easier.”

“Trying to clean urine out of a mattress is a massive amount of work which no doubt is a frustration for many kidney kids’ parents.  I have found that a sheet itself has sufficient absorbency for us but appreciate that some children may need an extra layer of an absorbent fabric.

“Jakob is turning 5 tomorrow and what a journey it has been,” says Siobhan. “We are so grateful to have reached a stage where we can live relatively normal lives and keep his reflux under control. We take it day by day and still have a journey ahead of us but am so proud of the amazing kid he is.”

Home of Huggles products are available for purchase online at https://www.homeofhuggles.co.nz/. They will also be running a marketing campaign with Natural Parent Magazine which starts in July.

Siobhan is happy to make a donation to Kidney Kids NZ with any sales of her ‘Home of Huggles” Mattress protectors, for which we are incredibly grateful.

(10 June 2020) Released on behalf of Kidney Kids by Goode PR, Auckland. For more information or images, please contact Vikki Lee Goode by email [email protected]