Mealtime Protection


During the 1990s, wearing a bib was frowned upon by professionals and alike as something too babyish for adults. Nowadays, there is a huge range of specially designed mealtime protection for all ages on the market and I think there are 2 main reasons for this. The first reason is there are more people, specifically adults, who require some form of mealtime protection. The second reason is that I believe general attitudes towards wearing mealtime protection have improved as it is now generally accepted.


There is a huge array of protective garments available for mealtimes, some formally designed for the task, while others are general garments that suit the purpose. The level of protection can vary widely from simple napkins to bibs and aprons, to plastic smocks with sleeves, to boiler suits and coveralls with hoods. The latter may seem extreme but for some people before important situations or who are extremely prone to make a mess when feeding themselves, the full protection may be ideal.


The materials used in protection garments can range from plastic, nylon or PVC that can be easily wiped down to terry cloth or neoprene that is good at soaking up liquid and good for those who drool. Another option is disposable ‘paper’ style garments as bibs, aprons, smocks or coveralls, which may be useful for holidays and general traveling if you do not want to carry dirty garments back with you.


Mealtime garments may use a range of fastens from Velcro to buttons and poppers. While Velcro can be easy to put on, it is also maybe too easy to take off for people prone to spasms or pull on their bibs. Velcro does not always wash well and can quickly lose its usefulness. Also with mealtime garments that have sleeves, it is important the garment is appropriately sized at the shoulders for the feeding motion, otherwise the back fastening can easily come undone with the slightest movement.


The choice of mealtime protection is a personal one and an individual may require a wide of different garments to suit their differing needs in differing situations. For example, someone may use a full smock with sleeves for breakfast because its Weetabix and they would to look their best for the day. For lunch, they may just use a plastic bib because its light and easy to carry, and a cooking style apron for dinner at home because their clothes are going in the wash anyway.


There are no right or wrong answers of what garments should be use and it is a matter or trial and error to find which ones work best for you.


Examples of protection


  • Tissues
  • Napkins
  • Neckerchiefs
  • Bibs
  • Towels
  • Aprons
  • Smocks with Sleeves
  • Gowns, Boilersuits
  • Jackets
  • Overtrousers
  • Shower Caps
  • Overshoes
  • Pull on Sleeves
  • Wheelchair Capes
  • Coveralls with hoods




  1. Choose garments that you are comfortable with and matches your needs and tastes.
  2. It is fine to have a range of garments for a range of situations.
  3. Consider disposable garments for holidays and travelling.
  4. Wash garments with Velcro with the garments closed to avoid the Velcro from becoming clogged.


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