Low Blood Sugar: Emergency Care for a Child

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Low Blood Sugar: Emergency Care for a Child

Topic Overview

This information is for people who may help your child if your child is too weak or confused to treat low blood sugar. Make a copy for each of your child's caregivers.

  • Make sure the child can swallow. Give the child ½ teaspoon of water. If the child can swallow the water without choking or coughing:
    • Give him or her 125 mL of liquid (juice or soda pop) from the list of quick-sugar foods or glucose tabs or gel if available.
    • Wait 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Offer the child more quick-sugar food if he or she is feeling better but still has some symptoms of low blood sugar.
    • Check the child's blood sugar level using his or her blood sugar (glucose) meter if available.
    • Stay with the child until his or her blood sugar level is 4.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) or higher.
    • Offer the child a snack (such as cheese and crackers or half of a sandwich).
    • If the child becomes more sleepy or seems to have no energy, call 911 or other emergency services.
  • If the child is unconscious or unable to swallow:
    • Call 911 for emergency care right away.
    • Make sure the child’s airway is not blocked.
    • Give the child a shot of glucagon if one is available. See the slide show about how to give a glucagon injection.
    • If emergency help has not arrived within 5 minutes and the child is unconscious, give another glucagon shot.
    • Stay with the child until emergency help comes.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last Revised September 24, 2010

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