Guidelines for Babysitting Children with DiabetesChildren who have diabetes are healthy and can do everything other children their age can do. They do have to be careful to eat the right amount of food at the right time to make sure their blood sugar does not go too high or too low. You should make sure to ask the parents to tell you exactly what they want you to feed their child and at what time while they are out. If the child's blood sugar goes too low, you may to give him/her extra food. You should make sure you know the symptoms of low blood sugar and how the parents want you to treat a low blood sugar.
It is helpful for all babysitters to take a general course in babysitting. The American Red Cross has developed an excellent course. You could contact your local chapter to find out if this course is offered near you. Another organization that has developed a babysitting course is Safe Sitter. You can call also 800-255-4089 to see if there is a program near you.
Here are the basic guidelines for babysitters:
- Ask the parents if you can "babysit" at least once when they are home before you stay home alone with the child.
- Make sure you have a written schedule of when the child needs to eat and what the child should eat.
- Don't be surprised if the child with diabetes tries to "test" you to see if you will be firm in carrying out the parents' instructions about food. Before the parents go out, ask them what to do if the child doesn't want to eat.
- If the child with diabetes refuses to eat, contact the parents.
- Don't be surprised if siblings who do not have diabetes ask to have candy or sweets that the child with diabetes can't have or want more food in general than the child with diabetes is allowed to have. Ask the parents in advance what to do if there is disagreement over food.
- Remember, if there are other siblings who do not have diabetes, they may be jealous of the extra attention the child with diabetes is getting from you. Make sure you are prepared to give all the children some special attention.
Guidelines for Babysitters with DiabetesTeens with diabetes can be a good choice as a babysitter for a child with diabetes because they understand diabetes.
- Make sure to keep your diabetes under control when you babysit. You may not be able to supervise a young child properly when your blood sugar is low, so try to avoid low blood sugars and come prepared to treat a low blood sugar if it happens.
- Come prepared with your own snacks and emergency food in case you don't like the food left by the parents.
- You should bring any diabetes supplies that you will need while you are babysitting (meter, strips, lancets, syringes). You should not let any of the children touch or use any of your diabetes supplies. Make sure to keep them out of reach of the children. If you're babysitting a child with diabetes, you also shouldn't use any of the child's supplies.
- Set a good example. Make sure you know your own meal plan and the basic exchanges or carbohydrate content of common foods.
- You should not agree to test the child's blood sugar or give an insulin injection without the written permission of your parents. If you, your parents, and the child's parents agree that you can do this, first practice with the child's parents at home several times.
- Make sure you have disposable rubber gloves if you test the child's blood sugar. Do not touch the child's used lancets.
- Remember that if there are other children who do not have diabetes, they may feel "left out." Make sure not to favor or take sides with the child who has diabetes.
- Remember that everyone who has diabetes has different needs. Don't assume that what "works for you" works for the child, or that everyone feels the same way about diabetes as you do.
- Don't be afraid to tell the parents if they have given you too much responsibility for the child even if you are an "expert" taking care of yourself.
Most of all, have fun.
Last Updated: Sun Dec 05 10:17:22 2004
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