Teaching Others to Check Your Child’s Blood Sugar
Whenever you put your child in someone else’s care—be it at a party, sleepover, school, afterschool activity, with a babysitter, or day care—you give the temporary caregiver a rundown of their likes and dislikes, eating habits, and allergies.
It’s no different for children with type 1 diabetes; there are just a few more things to cover. Your child will require careful monitoring to maintain control of their blood sugar levels.
When it comes to school and day care, this is often made easier by the fact that most of these facilities are already familiar with diabetes care. And, if they are not, they will need to get up to speed very quickly. That's because, by law, they are required to meet your child's diabetes care needs. For more information on the legal rights of students with diabetes, click here. You will want to take an active role to ensure that this happens as smoothly as possible. Putting everything in writing will help make sure that everything is understood as clearly as possible by the temporary caregiver. You will find more advice on putting your child’s diabetes medical management plan (DMMP) together for school and day care here.
No matter who is taking care of your child, they should know about his or her diabetes, and you will need to go over the basics with them. Ideally, you would train the person to do a blood sugar check for your child by doing it at least once with the temporary caregiver and your child and then looking on as the temporary caregiver does one without your help. Also, make sure that you show them this website and that they review the general instructions for using a blood sugar meter.
Depending on age and his or her level of ability, your child may be able to check their own blood sugar, or at least help in the process. Older children may be completely in control of their diabetes management. In that case, the caregiver may only need to observe the child and remind him or her when it’s time to test, eat, or take insulin.
More supervision and direct care are needed with younger children or those who are unable to manage their diabetes well. You should tell temporary caregivers:
- What your child’s blood sugar goals are
- When your child should take insulin
- When their blood sugar should be checked
- What numbers are too high or too low
- When to check for ketones (ie, if blood sugar is very high, or before strenuous exercise)
You should always provide the temporary caregiver with phone numbers to contact you and your child’s health care providers in case of emergency or serious illness. Make putting this list together easier by downloading an In Case of Emergency Checklist, printing it out, filling it in, and keeping updated copies of it for when you need them.