As we're all aware, every kid, parent, and teacher had a highly unusual, challenging virtual school year. Now, it's back to in-person school for most of them. There will be a lot of adjustments that everyone needs to make, but when your child is diagnosed with diabetes, you have a whole new layer of concern. To help keep them safe, we've compiled resources and a plan that you can share with your child's principal, teacher, and support staff.
What should I include in my child’s diabetes management plan?
Your child’s treatment plan is a detailed outline of what to do in a crisis and tips focusing on routine monitoring and activities. You can download a comprehensive plan here. To get you started, here is a list of items to include in a basic plan:
- Put your emergency contacts at the top of the page in red, so they’re unmistakable.
- Add instructions about how to check blood glucose levels and measure proper insulin doses.
- Clearly label all medicine and supplies with your child’s name.
- Provide detailed instructions for taking any required pills, checking for ketones, eating lunch and snacks, and exercising at recess and in gym class.
- Explain what to do in case of low or high blood sugar in detail.
- Provide the school with testing supplies for blood sugar and ketones and give them a glucagon emergency kit.
Meet in person with school staff
Once you have your plan in place, schedule an in-person conference with school staff who will be interacting with your child, including coaches, bus drivers, and recess monitors. Share the plan with them, making sure everyone has a copy. Carefully go over your checklist and share how to identify when your child is having a high or low blood sugar incident. Emphasize that your child might need a little extra time to complete assignments or tests due to high or low blood sugar. They might also need to keep a water bottle and a high-sugar snack or candy on hand and require more frequent bathroom breaks.
Sick days and school days
If your child must stay home from school, here’s a list of supplies to always have on hand to ensure they can still complete required assignments and be successful.
- Important phone numbers, including Arkansas Children’s diabetes team, after-hours phone numbers, friends or relatives you can call for help
- Copy of sick day guidelines - English | Spanish
- Copy of your child’s insurance card
- List of all current medications and doses
- Pen and paper to track ketone results, blood sugar levels, insulin dosing, carbohydrate counts, fluid intake, and any vomiting
- Alarm clock or timer to help regularly monitor blood sugar levels and ketones
- Pen needles or syringes
- Insulin pump supplies (if you use a pump)
- Glucagon emergency kit
- Blood sugar monitoring supplies
- Ketone test strips
- 8-ounce measuring cup to make sure your child is drinking enough liquids
Safe medications and remedies
- Sugar-free cough drops or sugar-free liquid non-steroidal pain and fever relievers (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
- Antidiarrheal and anti-vomiting medicines
- Do NOT skip Lantus/Levemir/Basalgar (even if your child is not eating or vomiting)
Snacks and Drinks
- Sugar-free fluids (water, Powerade ZERO)
- Glucose tablets or gel, as well as sugary drinks (juice, Sprite, Gatorade)
- Shelf-stable foods, such as unopened jars of applesauce, canned soup, peanut butter, canned tuna, and powdered milk
- Shelf-stable liquids, such as bottled water, boxed juice, powdered gelatin, sports drinks, and sugar-free beverages
With the right plans in place for day-to-day, in-person school as well as the occasional sick day, you and your child can be prepared for anything that might come your way. Contact Arkansas Children’s Diabetes Clinic if you have questions. We’re happy to help!