All kids build blanket forts and play tag. However, not all kids test blood sugars and inject insulin every day. While a child with diabetes is just as healthy and active as their peers without diabetes, some special planning is required to make sure they are able to both have fun and manage their diabetes.
- Talk to friends and family members for a sitter referral. Also, check your local YMCA or online services such as www.safesittings.com to find baby sitters with familiarity dealing with diabetes.
- Have a sit-down discussion with your baby sitter about the details of diabetes. Explain how diabetes is controlled, provide a print-out of the symptoms and treatments of low and high blood sugars, and carefully outline emergency measures. You should have a printout of your child’s individual treatment plan, including insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios, sensitivity factors, and your child’s eating schedule, in addition to a list of any other medications or allergies that should be noted.
- If your sitter is looking like a keeper, have them visit while you’re home and become familiar with hypoglycemic reactions and insulin administration. If your child is on injections, have the sitter practice injections with your supervision. If your child is using an insulin pump, make sure the sitter is familiar with how to change the battery, unlock the pump, suspend the pump, and administer a bolus.
Seeking to Sit?
- If you have diabetes and you are a babysitter, you need to make sure your diabetes remains controlled while you are caring for your charges. Also, make sure the parents know you have diabetes and are very responsible when it comes to caring for your own health. Try to avoid low blood sugars while you are babysitting. However, sometimes a low can sneak up on you, so make sure you are prepared with juice or glucose tabs to treat hypoglycemic reactions promptly.
- Be sure that you have all the supplies you need while babysitting, including your meter, hypoglycemic reaction treaters, and any medications you are taking. Make sure these supplies are out of the reach of your charges.
- If you are caring for a child with diabetes, remember that the child may try to test boundaries. Make sure they know that their diabetes management plan won’t be compromised when you are in charge. Also, if you’re caring for other siblings who don’t have diabetes, make sure you pay special attention to all the children in your care.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08
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