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Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child

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Your child needs to know when his or her blood sugar level is outside the target range. Fortunately, your child's blood sugar level can be checked anywhere and anytime by using a home blood sugar (glucose) meter. Blood sugar meters give results quickly.

Knowing your child's blood sugar level helps you treat low or high blood sugar before it becomes an emergency. It also helps you know how exercise and food affect your child's blood sugar and how much short-acting insulin to give (if your child takes insulin).

How is blood sugar monitored?

Here is a simple way to get started monitoring your child's blood sugar at home. Use these same steps to help your child learn this task.

Get organized

Before you start testing your child's blood sugar:

Do the test

When you test your child's blood sugar, you will know more about how well his or her treatment is keeping blood sugar within a target range.

Follow these steps when you test your child's blood sugar:

  1. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water, and dry them well with a clean towel. Have your child wash and dry his or her hands, also.
  2. Put a clean needle (lancet) in the pen-sized lancet device. It holds and positions the lancet and controls how deeply the lancet goes into the skin.
  3. Take a test strip from the bottle. Put the lid back on the bottle immediately to prevent moisture from affecting the other strips.
  4. Prepare the blood sugar meter. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific meter.
  5. Use the lancet device to stick the side of your child's fingertip with the lancet. Some devices and blood sugar meters allow blood testing on other parts of the body, such as the forearm, leg, or hand. Be sure you know where your device can be used.
  6. Put a drop of blood on the correct spot on the test strip, covering the test area well.
  7. Using a clean cotton ball, apply pressure to the place where you stuck your child's finger (or other site). This will stop the bleeding.
  8. Wait for the results. Most meters take only a few seconds to give you the results.

Record the results

Recording your child's blood sugar results is very important. The doctor will use your child's record to see how often blood sugar levels have been in a target range and to determine if your child's insulin dose or other diabetes medicine needs to be adjusted. This information lets you and your doctor know how your child's medicine, food, and activity are affecting your child's blood sugar. Be sure to take your child's record with you on each visit to the doctor or diabetes educator.

To record your child's results, you can:

Preventing sore fingers

The more often your child's blood sugar is tested, the more likely it is your child will have sore fingertips. Here are some suggestions to help reduce this pain.

Credits for Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child

Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Stephen LaFranchi MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology

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