Updated 02 February 2017

Your diabetic child at school

Parents need to work in conjunction with schools in order to provide a safe environment for diabetic children.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes in children is about 2 in every thousand. These children mostly attend schools and daycare centres. Parents need to work in conjunction with schools in order to provide a safe environment for diabetic children.

Up until recently, type 2 diabetes was rare amongst children. The incidence of Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, though, with some children as young as 8 diagnosed with the condition.

Knowledge is power

At least three teachers at the school need to be briefed on the symptoms of hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia and also on how to do a blood glucose test and administer an insulin injection. Remember that relief teachers and at least one departmental head also need to be informed.

Yes for Medic-Alert bracelets

Check every morning that your child is wearing his – whether around the wrist or neck. This could be a real lifesaver in times of crisis or if there is an accident of some sorts.

Pack some snacks

Your child should also have a permanent supply of sugary snacks in case of becoming hypoglycaemic. Glucose tablets or foods like raisins should always be kept handy.

Emergency numbers

The school and day care centre should always have numbers where parents or a doctor can be contacted. In a crisis you should always be contactable. Remember to update the details if they change.

Medication supplies

The school should always have a supply of emergency medication. This could save your child’s life in a crisis. There should always be at least three teachers at the school who know how to administer these. There should be a safe place to keep these and a private place to administer medication.

Bending two rules

Your child should be allowed to snack in class if his/her blood sugar levels drop and should also be allowed to test blood glucose levels at any given time. Make sure all the teachers who teach your child know this.

Occasionally missing school

Your child may well be absent from school for medical appointments. Warn the school in advance. 

(Liesel Powell, Health24, updated February 2010)


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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