Children and diabetes

Although type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1 diabetes in the UK, type 1 diabetes is more common among children. If your child has been diagnosed with diabetes you may be worried and concerned about their health in the future. However, the care team will be there to help and diabetes can be controlled very efficiently with the correct treatment.

If your child has diabetes you will be heavily involved in their treatment, especially if they are very young. Your child’s doctors will explain how to test their blood glucose levels, how to administer their treatment and how to ensure that they eat the right foods. You will need to keep an eye on your child but there will always be somebody to help you if you have queries or concerns.

Symptoms of diabetes in children

If you notice the following symptoms see your GP as soon as possible:

  • Uncharacteristic bed-wetting
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Being thirsty

It is not possible to cure diabetes but treatments can control the symptoms very effectively and your child should be able to live a normal life.

Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common and this is largely due to lifestyle factors, as obesity is becoming more common, children are spending less time exercising and generally eating more processed foods. Ensuring that your child has a healthy, balanced diet and does plenty of exercise will help to reduce their risk of developing a host of different health problems, including diabetes.

Childcare and school

If your child has diabetes, you may feel anxious about leaving them with another person and you may be worried about their health once they start school. However, it is not possible to be with them every hour of every day. If you work or you fancy a night out or a couple of days away, find someone you trust to look after your child. This may be a friend, relative or a registered childminder. Make sure you explain how your child’s medication works and let them know that you are at the end of the phone if they have any questions. Once your child starts school their teachers will be on hand to help and you can talk to them to ensure that you are happy with the help available and explain the needs of your child.


Diet is very important for diabetics. If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, they will be advised to follow a diet to prevent their blood sugar levels from getting too high. Your child’s care team will provide information and advice about the kinds of food your child should be eating and they will give you recipe sheets and guidelines to make it easier. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s diet, you can always ask a nutritionist or your child’s doctor for help. It is important that diabetics do not skip meals and follow a healthy diet plan. It is advisable to liaise with your child’s teachers to ensure that their needs are catered for at school.

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