Everyone who cares for your child – from babysitters to adult relatives – should be trained on the basics of diabetes care and what to do in an emergency.
Finding a Safe Diabetes Sitter
This can be a big challenge for parents of kids with diabetes. One great way to find an experienced babysitter is to meet other families like yours.
Through the American Diabetes Association's Family Link, Diabetes Camp or other events, you can meet other families of kids with diabetes.
Together you can brainstorm some babysitter options including:
- Taking turns watching each other's kids.
- Training a babysitter together.
- Placing an ad in a local university's newspaper for someone with diabetes-related experience, especially if the school has a nursing program.
- Recruiting a teen or young adult with diabetes, or an older sibling of a child with diabetes.
Training a Safe Diabetes Sitter
Before leaving your child in someone's care, it's important that the sitter knows that every person with diabetes is different – and so is their diabetes care plan.
Be prepared to train every baby sitter to know:
- What to do in an emergency situation. Describe when and how to administer glucagon. Show your babysitter where all of your emergency supplies are kept. Make sure your babysitter knows how to reach you with a question or in an emergency.
- How and when to check blood glucose (blood sugar) and ketones. Demonstrate how to use your child's meter, and then ask your babysitter to practice preparing the meter and checking your child's blood glucose level.
- Your child's target blood glucose range. Provide detailed instructions on what to do if the blood glucose level is high or low.
- How to administer insulin. Demonstrate the process and let your babysitter practice, if possible. Write down your child's insulin regimen clearly so the correct dose is given.
- Your child's signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and what to do if these occur
The American Diabetes Association's Safe Diabetes Sitter Guide can help parents prepare a sitter to take care of their child with diabetes. Download a copy of the Safe Diabetes Sitter's Guide - a one page information sheet for parents to leave with the sitter.
Snacks and Mealtime
Provide foods you know your child will like. Involve your child in planning the meals and snacks to ensure he will be willing to eat what you prepare.
Give a schedule and menu to the babysitter for each meal and snack, and indicate how much insulin your child will need to cover each food.
If your child refuses to eat or wants something else, review substitute foods or ask the babysitter to call you with questions. Be sure to talk with your child about the importance of eating the meal or snack.