Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child
Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child
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.
Before you start testing your
child's blood sugar:
- Talk with the doctor about how often and when
you should test your child's blood sugar. Use the
Blood Sugar Testing Times Form (What is a PDF document?) to record this information.
testing your child's blood sugar with other daily activities, such as preparing
for breakfast. This will help your child build the habit of
- Use the
list of supplies to gather the things you need to test your child's blood
sugar. Keep the supplies together so that a test can be done quickly if
- Check your equipment before each test.
- Check the expiration date on the testing
strips. If you use test strips after the expiration date on the bottle, you may
not get accurate results.
- Many meters don't need a code from the test strips, but some will. If your meter does, make sure the code numbers on the testing
strips bottle match the numbers on the blood sugar meter. If the numbers do not
match, follow the directions that come with the meter for changing the code
- Use the sugar control solution that is made by your meter's manufacturer when you use a meter for the first time, when you open a new bottle of test strips, or when you check the accuracy of your meter's results. Follow the
directions that came with your meter for using the control solution
- At regular intervals, check the equipment. Put a copy of
the care of blood sugar supplies with your child's bag or
kit to remind you.
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:
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water and
dry them well with a clean towel. Have your child wash and dry his or her
- 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.
- Take a test strip from the bottle. Put the lid
back on the bottle immediately to prevent moisture from affecting the other
- Prepare the blood sugar meter. Follow the manufacturer's
instructions for your specific meter.
- Stick the side of your
child's fingertip with the lancet.
- Put a drop of blood on the
correct spot on the test strip, covering the test area well.
a clean cotton ball, apply pressure to the place where you stuck your child's
finger. This will stop the bleeding.
- 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:
- Get printed blood sugar logs from companies
that make diabetes medicines and supplies. Or use a home blood sugar diary (What is a PDF document?).
- Make a blood sugar log
in a notebook. You can record other information in the log or notebook, such as
insulin doses, physical activity, and what your child has
- Use a meter that stores the results. Many blood sugar meters
can save from 10 to more than 100 blood sugar results. Some are able to
calculate the average blood sugar for a period of time, such as over a day or a
week. Also, many meter manufacturers make computer programs that can use the
stored results to show patterns in your child's blood sugar levels.
- Many blood sugar meters connect over the Internet to sites that organize and store the blood sugar results.
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.
- Don't prick the tip of your child's finger.
If you do, the prick will be more painful, and you may not get enough blood to
do the test accurately. Always prick the side of the
- Don't squeeze your child's fingertip. If you have
trouble getting a drop of blood large enough to cover the test area of the
strip, hang your child's hand down below his or her waist and count to 5. Then
squeeze your child's finger beginning closest to his or her hand and moving
outward to the end of the finger.
- Use a different finger each time.
Establish a pattern for which finger you stick so that you won't use some
fingers more than others. If a finger becomes sore, avoid using it for testing
for a few days.
- Use a different device. Some blood sugar meters use
lancet devices that can get a blood sample from sites other than the fingers,
such as the forearm.
- Don't reuse lancets. They get dull and cause
Test Your Knowledge
Answer the following question to see whether you understand
how to monitor your child's blood sugar at home.
To test your child's blood sugar, you need to put a
drop of blood on the special test strip used with the home blood sugar
Continue to Where to go from here
Return to Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
December 4, 2012
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