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Patient education: Managing diabetes in school (The Basics)

Patient education: Managing diabetes in school (The Basics)

Should I tell the school that my child has diabetes? — Yes, let your child's school know right away if they have diabetes (or "diabetes mellitus").

Who will manage my child's diabetes in school? — Most likely, one main person will help to manage your child's diabetes in school. If your school has a nurse, they will be the main person. If not, another staff member can be the main person. If this person does not know how to take care of diabetes, they will need to learn how.

Your child can also help manage their diabetes in school. As your child gets older, they can do more and more to manage it. But even if your child manages the diabetes on their own, a staff member at school should know about it and be ready to help in case of a diabetes emergency.

What should the school do to manage my child's diabetes? — The school should work with you and your child's diabetes team to make a written plan. This plan will list all the ways that the school will manage your child's diabetes. The school should let you know if they have questions about your child's diabetes or if any new problems come up.

What information should be in my child's school plan? — Your child's school plan should have information about how to take care of the diabetes day to day. It should also have information about how to treat problems or emergencies that might happen. The plan should include information from both you and your child's doctor about:

Your child's medicines – This should include all the medicines your child takes, where they are kept, and when and how they are given. The timing and dosing of your child's insulin are especially important.

Your child's meals and snacks – For example, the plan might list foods that your child should or shouldn't eat. If your child needs to eat on a schedule, it can list the times and amounts that they should eat.

Checking your child's blood sugar level – The plan should discuss who will check your child's blood sugar, and when and how it will be checked.

Symptoms that could mean your child's blood sugar level is too low or too high – Let the school know which symptoms to watch for.

How to treat a blood sugar level that is too low or too high, including when to get emergency help

How to reach you, another family member, and your child's doctor in case of an emergency

How to safely include your child in physical activities, school parties, field trips, and other special events

Your child's other needs – For example, your child might need to leave class at certain times of the day to take insulin, use the bathroom, or eat a snack.

The person who manages your child's diabetes in school should share this plan with your child's teachers and other school staff. They should tell the staff how your child's diabetes will be managed, which symptoms to watch for, and what to do in case of an emergency.

Every year before the school year starts, you and the school should review your child's plan. You might need to change the plan as your child gets older.

What can I do to help the school manage my child's diabetes? — To help the school manage your child's diabetes, you can:

Bring in the diabetes supplies that your child will need at school – This can include daily medicines, blood testing supplies, and emergency medicines.

Leave food or snacks for your child at school – You might want to make up snack bags that the school can give your child if their blood sugar gets too low.

Offer to teach the staff and students about diabetes and how it is managed

Share information about your child's health with the school and let them know if anything changes with your child's diabetes.

What else should I know? — By law (in the United States), most schools must meet the needs of children with diabetes. If your school has a problem meeting your child's needs, talk with your child's doctor or nurse. You can also look at diabetes websites, such as the American Diabetes Association ( and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (

More on this topic

Patient education: Type 1 diabetes (The Basics)
Patient education: My child has diabetes: How will we manage? (The Basics)
Patient education: Giving your child insulin (The Basics)
Patient education: Checking your child's blood sugar level (The Basics)
Patient education: Controlling blood sugar in children with diabetes (The Basics)
Patient education: Carb counting for children with diabetes (The Basics)

Patient education: Type 1 diabetes: Insulin treatment (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Blood glucose monitoring in diabetes (Beyond the Basics)
Patient education: Type 1 diabetes and diet (Beyond the Basics)

This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jan 01, 2023.
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