CHECKING YOUR CHILD’S BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL

Why is it important to check my child’s blood sugar level?

It’s important to check your child’s blood sugar level so that you know:

      1. If the level gets too low or too high and you can provide treatmentpromptly before it becomes an emergency.
      2. Insulin dose adjustments i.e next dose , can be made if the child’s blood sugar level is checked .
      3. How well-controlled your child’s diabetes is – Keeping your child’s blood sugar under control helps prevent health problems later in life.

How do I check my child’s blood sugar level?

This is done by a device called a “blood glucose meter.” Your child’s doctor or diabetes nurse will show you how to use yours. You will need to prick your child’s fingertip to get a drop of blood . Try not to use the same finger each time. You will put the drop of blood on a special glucose test strip that fits into the meter. After a few seconds, the meter will show your child’s blood sugar level. Be sure to record your child’s blood sugar levels and show the record to your child’s doctor or nurse. He or she will use this information to make changes to your child’s treatment plan.

How often should I check my child’s blood sugar level?

If your child uses insulin, you need to check his or her blood sugar level 4 or more times each day. That will probably mean checking blood sugar levels before meals and snacks, and at bedtime. At least once a week, you might also need to check your child’s blood sugar at night (between midnight and 4 AM). Plus, you might need to do overnight checks more often if your child’s overnight insulin dose changes. Teenagers should check their blood sugar anytime they plan to drive.

Certain conditions can affect your child’s blood sugar. You might need to check your child’s blood sugar more often when he or she:

      1. Is sick
      2. Travels, especially to another time zone
      3. Eats or exercises more or less than planned
      4. Is under extra stress
      5. Gets vaccines – Vaccines are treatments that prevent infections.
      6. Has symptoms of low or high blood sugar – These symptoms can be

different, depending on the child and his or her age.

Common symptoms of low blood sugar can include:

      1. Acting cranky, tired, or not eating (especially in babies and toddlers)
      2. Sweating or shaking
      3. Feeling weak, tired, nervous, or hungry
      4. Having nightmares or not sleeping well
      5. Confusion

Common symptoms of high blood sugar can include:

        1. Urinating more than usual
        2. Feeling thirsty and drinking more than usual
        3. Lethargy
        4. Breathing fast or having a “fruity-smelling” breath – This can be a sign of a medical emergency called “diabetic ketoacidosis.”

What should I do if my child’s blood sugar is low?

Your child’s doctor or nurse will tell you how to treat low blood sugar. It depends on the level, your child’s age, symptoms, and the time of day. In general, low blood sugar is treated with either:

        1. A quick source of sugar – Your child can eat or drink a quick source of sugar . Foods that have fat, such as chocolate or cheese, do not raise low blood sugar levels as quickly. You should carry a quick source of sugar for your child at all times. You should also leave quick sources of sugar at your child’s school, and with babysitters and coaches.
        2. A glucagon shot – Glucagon is a hormone that can quickly raise blood sugar levels. It comes in the form of a shot. If your child’s doctor recommends that you carry a glucagon shot for your child, he or she will tell you when and how to use it. Your child’s doctor might also recommend that you leave a glucagon shot with a staff member at your child’s school.

What should I do if my child’s blood sugar is high?

 It depends on the blood sugar level, your child’s age, and his or her symptoms. Episodes of high blood sugar are usually treated with insulin and extra fluids. To check how serious the high blood sugar is, you might need to test your child’s urine. Your child’s doctor or nurse will show you how to do this. 

Should my child’s blood sugar be checked at school?

 Yes. You, your child’s diabetes team, and the school should make a plan to manage your child’s diabetes in school. This plan will list when your child’s blood sugar should be checked and who will check it. Most children check their blood sugar before gym class, before lunch, and any time they do not feel well.

When can my child check his or her own blood sugar?

It depends, in part, on your child’s age. Have your young child help with blood sugar testing as much as possible so that he or she learns how to do it. Many children are able to check their own blood sugar by ages 8 to 11. But they usually still need help using the results to choose insulin doses.