Diabetes in Children: Care Plan for School or Day Care

Search Knowledgebase

Topic Contents

Diabetes in Children: Care Plan for School or Day Care

Topic Overview

Parents of a child who has diabetes may worry when their child goes to daycare or school. Most schools are not required to accommodate students who have diabetes. In fact, only New Brunswick's Education Policy 704 requires that schools provide diabetes management for students. Because there is no national law, some schools will work individually with students who have the condition. Others may refuse. You may have to search for a school or daycare centre that will help you and your child manage diabetes.

Once you find an appropriate school or daycare centre, meet with the principal, teacher, and other staff members who may interact with your child during the day. Provide information on what's involved in managing his or her diabetes.

You might even try to arrange in-service training on diabetes that will cover the basics such as blood sugar testing, insulin injections, meals and snacks, and managing high and low blood sugar emergencies.

Work with your child care centre or school to develop a care plan that meets your child's needs and gives specific instructions for how to handle the following:

  • Blood sugar testing. Include how often and in what situations your child's blood sugar needs testing. For example, your child may need routine testing before lunch and special testing if he or she appears to have low blood sugar.
  • Insulin injections, if needed. Include information on how to give an insulin injection, how much medicine to give, and how to store insulin.
  • Meals and snacks. Make a list of foods your child can eat, how much, and when. Talk with the staff about what to do when there are parties at the facility.
  • Symptoms of and treatment for low blood sugar. Use the information found under Dealing with low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) emergencies for people taking insulin in the Home Treatment section of this topic. Give the staff copies of this information for later reference, and tell them how your child acts when his or her blood sugar level is low.
  • Symptoms of and treatment for high blood sugar. Use the information found under Dealing with high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) emergencies in the Home Treatment section of this topic. Give the staff copies of the information for later reference, and tell them how your child acts when his or her blood sugar level is high.
  • Testing ketones. Include instructions on how to test your child's urine for ketones and what to do if ketones are present.
  • Contact persons. Include how to contact both parents or another adult who cares for the child as well as the name and phone number of the child's doctor.

You will need to give the staff all of the materials and equipment they need to care for your child, including supplies to do a home blood sugar test, insulin, syringes, glucagon (if it's in the care plan), and materials for testing urine for ketones. And you need to teach the staff how to use these materials. Remind the staff that your child needs access to the materials and equipment at all times, even on a field trip. Occasionally check the expiration dates of supplies your child has at school.

Ask the child care centre or school to provide safe storage for your child's medicines. In addition, ask the school to provide a private place for your child to receive care, if that's what you'd like and feel would be best for your child.

Ask the staff to give your child permission to:

  • Eat a snack anywhere, including the classroom and school bus.
  • Use the washroom and drink liquids as needed.
  • See school health personnel whenever he or she requests.
  • Miss school without consequences for medical appointments.

Even if your child can perform a blood sugar test, let the staff know that your child may need help when his or her blood sugar level is low and may need to be reminded to eat or drink something during these times.

A child should never be left alone when his or her blood sugar level is low.

The Canadian Diabetes Association has a brochure called "Kids With Diabetes in Your Care." You can find it at www.diabetes.ca/Section_About/kidswithdiabetes.asp. You can also get a sample diabetes care plan and other information for teachers and child care providers from the Canadian Diabetes Association.

For older children who take their own insulin to school, check the school rules for kids carrying their own medicine, needles, and blood sugar meters. Many schools do not allow kids to carry any kind of medicine without special permission.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last Revised January 9, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.