Children and diabetes

Every parent wants to make sure his or her child is eating properly, keeping active every day, and getting enough sleep, but these things are particularly important if your child has diabetes.

Having a child with diabetes can be very stressful for parents. They are used to watching their child eat, inject insulin, and test their blood. This constant watching and coaxing is necessary to lower the risk of problems such as blood sugar that is too low or too high. But parents can't always be with their child, and some parents are very concerned about not being able to monitor their child's food, insulin, or blood sugar while they are at school or daycare.

The good news is that with proper planning, you can make sure that your child is well taken care of even when you are not with them.

Here is a quick checklist that you can use to make sure you cover the main points about diabetes with your school or daycare.

  • Ask about their diabetes experience. Do they have the tools and knowledge to help your child take care of their diabetes?
  • Offer to educate and fill in the knowledge gaps. Many people are happy to learn more about diabetes, and this education can be crucial.
  • Overview the needs of your child. Does your child have a pump? Are there private areas for them to test their blood sugar or give an insulin injection? Is there someone at the school that can help them if they have a problem? Answering these questions early can make the transition easier.
  • Have a diabetes management plan for your child. This plan lays out all of the main information about your child's diabetes. They usually include:
    • emergency contact information
    • list of the diabetes supplies and equipment
    • information on how your child is treated, including information on insulin, pens, pumps, meals and snacks, exercise information, and testing information
    • when to contact you and, if necessary, medical services
  • Do they know what hypoglycemia looks like and how to treat it?
    • symptoms include shaking, sweating, becoming pale, confusion, weak, and inability to concentrate
    • proper treatment such as glucose tablets and snacks, or glucagon if severe
  • Providing just that little extra care. Children with diabetes have temptations just like other kids. Teachers and staff are encouraged to provide that little extra care and coaching to help the child stick with their plan.