Diabetes In Children

How Much Diabetes Care Should A Child Be Responsible For?

Each child is different. One might be ready to give injections at the age of 6 or 7, while another might still be reluctant at 11 or 12. Here are some guidelines:


What the Child Can Do

Special Considerations

At/under 5 years of age

Can get a feeling of control by choosing the finger to use for blood testing, or where the injection should go. Older preschoolers may prick their own fingers, and learn to deal with symptoms of low blood sugar.

Try to use a matter-of-fact approach when giving finger-sticks and shots, with a lot of hugs and affection. Parents need to watch babies and small children closely for signs of low blood sugar.

At age 5 to 7

Can draw up insulin of one type. May give themselves shots under close supervision. Can do blood testing with assistance. Can begin to identify a healthy diet.

Young children may feel diabetes is a punishment for something they did. Day camps and summer camps for children with diabetes can help them work through these feelings.

At age 8 to 11

Can do their own blood testing, draw up insulin, and give themselves shots, but need to be supervised. Can keep logbook.

These children can develop a sense of responsibility in controlling their diabetes. Diabetes camps can give them social support.

At age 12 to 15

Should discuss their diabetes directly with the doctor and make many of their own decisions – although someone should make sure they are monitoring blood sugar regularly and taking enough insulin. Some teens prefer checking in regularly by phone with the diabetes team rather than having parents supervise.

Teenagers are very conscious of anything that makes them different. Teenage support groups and camps can be very helpful in allowing them to feel better about themselves.


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