Travel Checklist for Your Diabetic Child
If you have a diabetic child, you've probably established a manageable routine at home. But what if your child is on vacation or even just sleeping over at a friend's house? Here are some important steps to follow-so you can put your mind at ease.
Get Supplies Before Your Ride
Have more than enough medication, syringes (if necessary), and testing supplies on hand. Customized cases are available at reasonable prices for carrying insulin, syringes, meter, and other supplies. Some cases even include little ice packs to keep the insulin fresh in hot weather. Include the logbook, as well. Remember, insulin is sensitive to extreme temperatures, so you will need to protect them from hot or cold temperatures. Don't check the bag with the diabetes supplies when you're flying; take it as carry-on luggage. And you may need a note from the doctor to take syringes on board, particularly on international flights. Check airline regulations ahead of time, or, if you do a lot of traveling, get a note from the doctor and keep it for future travel.
Pack The Snacks
If your child is just going to a friend's house, her usual snack supply is probably fine, but if you're going on a long car or plane trip, stock a backpack with a variety of snacks. Juice boxes or packs of glucose tablets are needed as a fact acting glucose supply in case of low blood sugar also known as hypoglycemia. Put cheese and crackers into sandwich bags, or make a big bag of trail mix. Eating on the road can be unpredictable. You never know how long it will take to get to the next exit with a restaurant or when a meal could be delayed on a plane.
Time Zones and Medication
A cross-country plane trip wreaks havoc on any schedule. Before you leave, ask the doctor for guidelines on how to adapt your child's diabetes schedule to swift time-zone changes. In general, a trip east means a shorter day and less insulin. A trip west means a longer day and more insulin. Check your child's blood glucose frequently to figure out whether more or less insulin might be needed.
Wear an ID Bracelet
Make sure your child is wearing an ID bracelet that indicates that they have diabetes. It's especially important when you're in an unfamiliar city (without access to your usual health care team) and when your child is not with the family (at a sleepover or summer camp).
Check Blood Glucose More Often
When you're away from home, it's harder to stick to a schedule. Frequent blood glucose checking can give you and your child the information you need to make spur-of-the-moment diabetes decisions.
Disposal of Supplies
Take a hard plastic or metal box (like a pencil box) for used syringes and lancets. Wait until you get back home to throw them out.
Educate Other Adults
Whether it's a sleepover or sleep away camp, make sure that you educate the other adults who will be supervising your child. You can even make a fact sheet or tip sheet to give to them so they know how to react to a situation that might arise.
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