Kids and diabetes: What your child’s sitters and grandparents need to know

2014-09-30 15:31:46 by Janet Haas, RN, CDE, as posted on the blog.


Raising children is bound to be nerve-racking at times, and a diagnosis of diabetes can amp up a parent’s stress level.

To relieve stress – for both you and your child – it’s important to sometimes rely on sitters and grandparents.


Here are 6 things your child’s babysitters and grandparents should know:

1) How to recognize signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Knowing how to deal with a possible episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is the most important information you can give your child’s caregiver. Hypoglycemia can occur when your child doesn't eat properly or gets more exercise than usual. If untreated, it can result in loss of consciousness and/or seizures.

Warning signs include:



  • Hunger

  • Paleness, sweating or shaking

  • Glassy or dilated eyes

  • Pale or flushed face

  • Personality changes like crying or stubbornness

  • Headache

  • Unusual drowsiness or inattention

  • Weakness, irritability or confusion

  • Speech and coordination change


2) How to treat hypoglycemia.
To raise blood sugar levels, give your child sugar – preferably in liquid form. This may include 1 of the following (which adhere to the rule of 15):



  • 4 glucose tablets

  • 4 ounces juice

  • 1/2 tube Insta-Glucose or cake decorating gel


3) Recheck blood sugar 15 minutes after treatment.

4) How to give sugar to a child who won't eat.
At times, a child may refuse to take sugar or be unable to eat. In this case, squirt Insta-Glucose, cake decorating gel or syrup between your child’s cheeks and gums and ask him to swallow.

If he can't swallow, lay him down and turn his head to avoid choking. Massage your child’s cheek to help his body absorb the sugar.

5) Who to call in case of emergency.
Your child’s caregiver should know who to call when hypoglycemia occurs. List phone numbers in the order they should be called. Parents are usually first and then an alternate person, such as another relative or close neighbor who knows how to care for your child.

If your child is unconscious or having a seizure, call 911.

6) Where to find supplies.
Make sure your caregiver knows where to find necessary supplies for monitoring and treating low blood sugar. You may want to leave these items on the kitchen counter, where they're handy.

In case your child needs them while away from home, caregivers should know to take along extra snacks, tabs or juice when going to museums, movie theatres, friends’ homes and other locations. Monitoring supplies should always be ready for use both at home and away.

To help your child become well-adjusted psychosocially, it’s important for her to build close relationships with friends and family members.

Encourage a normal relationship with grandparents – including letting them watch your child for a day or more. This will help ensure your child has a happy childhood, and you can get a break from the stress of parenting.


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