Topic Overview

Children with diabetes should participate in their treatment to the
extent that is fitting for their age and experience with the disease.

  • Toddlers and preschool-aged children usually aren’t able to do
    tasks for diabetes care such as giving insulin or checking blood sugar.
    As children get older, they typically cooperate with these tasks.

    • When your child with diabetes begins school (or attends a child care
      center), you and the staff will work together to build a care plan with
      instructions for handling your child’s special needs.
    • Children can take part in all school activities while still getting the supervision and care
      that they need.
  • Children in elementary school can cooperate in all tasks
    required for their care. With maturity and experience, many children-with supervision-can test their blood sugar level.
  • Children in middle school or junior high school
    should be able to test their own blood sugar level. But they may need help
    during low blood sugar episodes. Some children can give insulin
    shots as long as this happens with supervision.
  • Teens should be able to handle their care
    with appropriate supervision. Teens may choose to use an
    insulin pump instead of shots. If they choose to use a
    pump, they still need supervision from adults.

    • Lifelong habits for self-care begin in the teen years. You can work with your child to set goals he or she can reach, such as checking blood sugar more often or eating more healthy foods.
    • Some families work with a counselor, such as a certified diabetes educator (CDE), to make this learning process easier.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD – Pediatrics
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD – Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology

Current as ofMarch 13, 2017