Diabetes and Your Child: Safe
Exercise plays a big role in managing
your child’s blood sugar. It helps reduce the amount of glucose (sugar) buildup in
blood. This buildup is called high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). But too much exercise
cause your child’s blood sugar to get too low. This is called low blood sugar
(hypoglycemia). That’s why it’s important to watch your child’s blood sugar closely
they exercise. You will have to balance exercise with food and insulin to make sure
child is in their target range for blood sugar.
Exercise is a key part of your child's overall health and lifestyle. The
American Diabetes Association advises that children with type 2 diabetes get at least
minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week.
best way to manage your child’s blood sugar during exercise is to plan for it. These
some other things you can do to help keep your child safe during exercise:
At first, check your child's blood sugar before, during, and after exercise to
see how it's affected by exercise. Then check your child’s blood sugar before and
after each exercise session.
Teach your child how to notice critical symptoms and how to
manage their diabetes.
Have your child eat a snack before exercising when their blood sugar is below
target range. Try half a sandwich, a piece of fruit, or an energy bar.
- Don't use carbohydrate sources high in protein, such as milk or
nuts. These may increase the insulin response to carbohydrates.
Check that your child’s fast-acting glucose tablets and emergency glucagon kit
are nearby. Glucagon is a shot that raises blood sugar quickly.
If your child's blood sugar is 250 mg/dL or above, test for ketones. If ketone
levels are high, don't let your child exercise. Call your child's healthcare
provider. If ketone levels are low, your child may do mild to moderate intensity
exercise. Don't let your child do intense exercise until blood sugar levels are
below 250 mg/dL. Intense exercise may make blood sugar levels go higher.
Blood sugar can get low when your child exercises. Lows can last up to 8 hours after
exercise. That’s why checking your child’s blood sugar before and after playing sports
is so important. Here are some other tips for making sure your child is safe during
Tell coaches that your child has diabetes.
Give your child’s coach a list of low blood sugar symptoms. Also give
instructions on what to do when the child has a low. Be sure the coach knows when
Pack high-carb snacks for your child. This could
be a granola bar and a sports drink.
Check that your child has fast-acting sugar,
such as glucose tablets or a snack, on hand in case their blood sugar gets low. Be
sure the coach knows where the snacks and tablets are kept.
Ask the coach to keep snacks, glucose tablets,
and glucagon in the team sports bag. Make sure the coach or another adult is
trained to use the glucagon.
Don't let your child practice or play in a game
if their blood sugar is too high and ketones are present. Again, be sure the coach
knows about ketones and that your child should not exercise if they are
safe with friends
child’s blood sugar can get low when they are away from home. Here are some tips to
your child from having lows when they are away from home:
Tell the parents of your child’s friends about your child’s diabetes. If your
child doesn’t mind, you can also teach their friends about diabetes.
Teach your child’s friends and their parents about diabetes. Also teach them how
to spot and treat lows. Treating lows means using meals, snacks, and fast-acting
sugar sources, such as glucose tablets or juice, to raise blood sugar back up to
Pack prepared meals and snacks, when possible. This will make it easier for other
parents to help your child prevent lows. Include a note telling the parent when
your child should eat.
- Check that your child and the adults in the home where they are
visiting can reach you right away, if needed.
Talk to the parents about the dangers of severe
low blood sugar. Also tell parents when to call
more information about diabetes, visit these websites: