Diabetic children

Diabetic children

6% of the population is diabetic; from that group only 8% are children or young adults.

Almost all of the children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The diagnosis is confirmed by frequent urination, excessive thirst, considerable weight loss, high blood sugar level (>11 mmol/l) and presence of ketones in the urine.

The parents must be present and involved until the child is mature enough to show that he can make wise choices.

Newborn up to 2 years old
Task (tests and injections)

  • At the age of 2, the child can participate in simple tasks, such as, wiping clean his finger for the test
  • The parents should get the child to choose between two places he prefers to get his injection or taking his blood glucose test
  • The child should be holding a doll or a favorite toy.
  • The parents should play with the child, by first pretending to inject the doll and then injecting the child
  • The child should be held firmly for the injection to keep the site uncovered
  • The parents should hug their child after the injection and then go on with their daily activities

Food and diet
Parents should:

  • Gradually incorporate some foods
  • Have a diet and food suited to the child’s age
  • Serve frequent small meals
  • Consult medical staff for adjustments or changes in food
  • Have meals and snacks taken at regular hours


Strategic management
Parents should:

  • Ignore the child’s temper tantrums so that the child will not be rewarded for his bad behavior
  • Establish limits. Do not permit ifs and buts. That can make the procedure a lot more difficult
  • Discard hypoglycemia: take a blood test for all different symptoms (bad mood, drowsiness, etc.) and treat it accordingly.


Preschoolers: 3 to 6 years old
Task (tests and injections)

Parents should:

  • Use a game to reduce fright (the toy or doll gets tested and the injection)
  • Reinforce the importance of the injection area rotation
  • Get the child to choose his injection area


Food and diet
Parents should:

  • Encourage a well balanced diet
  • Serve attractive and colorful foods
  • Do not reprimand small spills
  • Permit food adjustments for Halloween, birthdays and special occasions
  • Encourage the child to participate in preparing meals and snacks
  • Have a food exchange chart on the fridge door and let the child choose new proper foods


Strategic management
Parents should:

  • Offer a choice when  possible
  • Reassure the child that the treatment is not a punishment
  • Establish a limit to bad behavior
  • Give the child the possibility to express himself, accept and answer
  • Keep the routine and parental authority to a simple level, with no big demands
  • Keep a daily routine schedule
  • Give the child some control
  • Rethink the signs and symptoms after a hypoglycemia. The treatment and prevention should be explained to the child’s understanding level
  • For activities, teach them to take extra food
  • Always keep sugar with them in case of emergency
  • Inform the preschool teacher, the babysitter and school personnel of your child’s illness
  • Reinforce the importance of always caring a good I.D. (Medic Alert bracelet or necklace)

Primary school: 6 to 12 years old
Tasks (tests and injections)

  • From the age of 6 to 8 years old, the child can take his own tests and read the results, under adult supervision
  • From 9 to 10, the child can learn to prepare his insulin and inject it always under an adult’s supervision

Food and diet
Parents should:

  • Plan food adjustments for vacation days, parties and school outings
  • Consult a dietician for a diet evaluation
  • Plan meals and snacks in time and with no distractions (T.V., being late for work, etc.)


Strategic management
Parents should:

  • Concentrate their efforts on practicing the tasks so that the child may be proud of his accomplishments and capable of doing so.
  • Frequently give the child simple explanations and keep a constant supervision
  • Inform the school or the babysitter concerning hypoglycemia
  • Encourage the child to attend the diabetic summer camp
  • Teach the circle of acquaintances in recognizing and treating hypoglycemia properly
  • The child should always carry on him a proper I.D. (Medic Alert bracelet or necklace)


Tasks (tests and injections)

All teenagers should be able to accomplish all the tasks under little supervision

Food and diet

For special occasions, meals can be reprogrammed or readjusted. Teenagers should respect the exchange in the different food categories. They should adjust their diet according to their activities, growth, height and weight. The diet should also be adjusted after they have stopped growing.

Strategic management
Parents should:

  • Recognize and accept the growing need of independence of their teenager, not only in regards to diabetes, but also concerning all aspects of their lives
  • Avoid criticizing all the time. The teenager has enough mood swings
  • Know that teenager have a very important self image issue. Congratulate them on the tasks that they have accomplished
  • Give them the permission to make decisions concerning their treatment
  • While being interested and available, gradually encourage the teenager to self manage his diabetes

Teenagers should:

  • Recognize, treat and prevent hypoglycemia
  • Be able to contact the right person if he needs information or advice
  • Know what to do on sick days
  • Wear a good I.D.(bracelet or chain)

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