School and Slumber parties; a parent’s nightmare
Dr Abdul Razzak Al Madani, President of Emirates Diabetes Society
Children who are diagnosed with diabetes at a young age have a more difficult time than the ones who are able to manage the condition on their own. The parents of these children are usually the gatekeepers between the child and the condition, they’re the ones who not only monitor and administer the necessary medication, but also make sure their child’s sugar levels and diet are well managed.
However, certain situations such as school or slumber parties, leaves the parents away from their child for longer periods of time, during which a medical emergency could take place. The important first step in preventing any mishaps is informing the immediate surrounding circle of the child’s condition; this includes the principal, teachers, head nurse, and parents of friends.
Second, it to make sure your child has extra medication in their space at all times. A tip would be to speak to the school nurse at the beginning of the term about your child’s schedule and medication, and inform them of the necessary actions to be taken and when. It would also help if you could spare extra medication to be left in the school clinic in the case that your child accidentally drops and breaks their insulin, or has forgotten it at home. Additionally, ask your child’s doctor to provide you with a glucagon kit, which could be used in the event that your child has a severe hypoglycemic attack and may be unconscious, you could keep the kit at home or with the school clinic in case it’s needed.
Similarly could apply for slumber parties, inform the guardians that will be attending to your child of their condition and make sure they have your contact information for any inquiries or emergency reasons. Inform them gently to monitor your child’s food intake, such as late night cake or chocolate, asking them to substitute it for healthier options such as cut fruit and a glass of milk. You may also choose take a moment to educate the parents on how to administer the insulin to your child or give it to them yourself before you leave your child, but do take the time to show them how to test for your child’s glucose level before they go to sleep and inform them what to do in the event it is either too high or too low.
As parents, it may be difficult to relinquish your control over your child’s health, but in the long run, you will find yourself breathing more comfortably when you know your child’s educators and school are aware of how to handle any emergency situation, and your child will thank you on the long run for allowing them to experience their school activities and fun without fear.