Blood Glucose Monitoring, Child

Monitoring your child's blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) helps you to manage his or her diabetes. It also helps you and your health care provider monitor his or her diabetes and determine how well the treatment plan is working.

WHY SHOULD YOU MONITOR YOUR CHILD'S BLOOD GLUCOSE?

  • It can help you understand how food, exercise, and medicine affect your child's blood glucose.

  • It allows you to know what your child's blood glucose is at any given moment. You can quickly tell if your child is having low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) or high blood glucose (hyperglycemia).

  • It can help you and your child's health care provider know how to adjust your child's medicines.

  • It can help you understand how to manage your child's illness or adjust medicine for exercise.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TEST?

Your health care provider will help you decide how often you should check your child's blood glucose. This may depend on the type of diabetes your child has, your child's diabetes control, and the types of medicines your child is taking. Be sure to write down all of your child's blood glucose readings so that this information can be reviewed with the health care provider. See below for examples of testing times that your child's health care provider may suggest.

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Test 4 times a day if your child is in good control, using an insulin pump, or needs multiple daily injections.

  • If your child's diabetes is not well controlled or if he or she is sick, you may need to monitor your child's blood glucose more often.

  • It is a good idea to also monitor:

  • Before and after exercise.

  • Between meals and 2 hours after a meal.

  • Occasionally between 2:00 and 3:00 am.

Type 2 Diabetes

  • It can vary with each child, but generally, if your child is on insulin, test 4 times a day.

  • If your child takes medicines by mouth (orally), test 2 times a day.

  • If your child is on a controlled diet, test once a day.

  • If your child's diabetes is not well controlled or if he or she is sick, you may need to monitor more often.

HOW TO MONITOR YOUR CHILD'S BLOOD GLUCOSE

Supplies Needed

  • Blood glucose meter.

  • Test strips for the meter. Each meter has its own strips. You must use the strips that go with the meter.

  • A pricking needle (lancet).

  • A device that holds the lancet (lancing device).

  • A journal or log book to write down the results.

Procedure

  • Wash your and your child's hands with soap and water. Alcohol is not preferred.

  • Prick the side of your child's finger (not the tip) with the lancet.

  • Gently milk the finger until a small drop of blood appears.

  • Follow the instructions that come with the meter for inserting the test strip, applying blood to the strip, and using the blood glucose meter.

Other Areas to Get Blood for Testing

Some meters allow you to use other areas of the body (other than the finger) to test blood. These areas are called alternative sites. The most common alternative sites are:

  • The forearm.

  • The thigh.

  • The back area of the lower leg.

  • The palm of the hand.

The blood flow in these areas is slower. Therefore, the blood glucose values you get may be delayed, and the numbers are different than what you would get from your child's fingers. Do not use alternative sites if you think your child is having hypoglycemia. The reading will not be accurate. Always use a finger if your child is having hypoglycemia. Also, if your child cannot feel his or her lows (hypoglycemia unawareness) or you cannot recognize them, always use your child's fingers for blood glucose checks.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR GLUCOSE MONITORING

  • Do not reuse lancets.

  • Always carry supplies with you and your child.

  • All blood glucose meters have a 24-hour "hotline" number to call if you have questions or need help.

  • Adjust (calibrate) the blood glucose meter with a control solution after finishing a few boxes of strips.

BLOOD GLUCOSE RECORD KEEPING

It is a good idea to keep a daily record or log of your child's blood glucose readings. Most glucose meters, if not all, keep glucose records stored in the meter. Some meters come with the ability to download the records to a home computer. Keeping a record of blood glucose readings is especially helpful if you are wanting to look for patterns. Make notes to go along with your child's blood glucose readings because you might forget what happened at that exact time. Keeping good records helps you and your child's health care provider work together to achieve good diabetes management for your child.