Managing type 1 diabetes outside of the family home comes with its own set of challenges. Fortunately, there are resources available to facilitate your child’s adaptation to diabetes management in different settings. In fact, there are certain summer camps specifically designed for children living with type 1 diabetes.

As the child grows older, the challenges also change. Here is some information and advice on managing diabetes in an educational environment, as well as information on exclusive summer camps for children and adolescents living with type 1 diabetes.

Starting daycare is an important stage that is often feared by parents. Parents of diabetic children find it even more stressful. How will their child be received in a daycare setting? Will the daycare workers be able to adjust to the demands of diabetes treatment?

Involvement of workers in diabetes treatment

A preschool child cannot take responsibility for his diabetes treatment. Its management requires the agreement of the educators who will provide the daily care required in loco parentis. Agreement to get involved in the treatment of a diabetic child should be voluntary.

A clear protocol that will serve as a reference document for educators should be a cooperative endeavor between parents, the child’s health care team and daycare team.

For a successful adjustment to daycare

Responsibility lies with the parents to share their knowledge of, and teach educators about, the technical aspects of diabetes treatment. The child’s health care team could also get involved at this stage. It is important to schedule a meeting with daycare management and the educators involved so that parents can explain what diabetes is, how it is treated and their child’s care plan. Some parents stay with their child during the first few days at daycare, or turn up at mealtime. This can be reassuring for everyone – parents, child and educators alike.

Good communication among the people caring for a diabetic child is still the key to successfully involving the care community in proper diabetes management.

Download Practical advice for diabetic children in daycare in the Resources box French only)

Research and adaptation: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

Reference: Geoffroy, L. and Gonthier, M. (2012), “À la garderie,” Le diabète chez l’enfant et l’adolescent, 2nd edition, Montréal, Éditions du CHU Ste-Justine, pp. 575-580.

November 2014 (updated on July 2018)

©All rights reserved Diabetes Quebec

A child whose diabetes is properly controlled is no different from any other child of the same age. Consequently, teachers can expect the same diligence and performance at school and the same participation in activities as other students.

Education is the best way to demystify the illness and its treatment. To help your child integrate successfully into school, we recommend you meet with all school staff involved with the child to inform them about situations in which they will need to intervene. Explain to them the need to follow a pre-established plan developed with the school nurse and you, the child’s parents.

Close cooperation between the medical team, school staff, child and parents is the key to a successful, problem-free school year. In most cases, when parental demands are reasonable, the school will cooperate and follow them.

The staff must notify parents when special events are being planned, or if the child exhibits unusual behavior or symptoms.


You need to encourage school staff to pay particular attention to hypoglycemia. For added security, you should provide the school with a blood glucose meter so that it can be available to your child or to school staff, when needed.

The treatment for hypoglycemia consists primarily in giving the child a sugary food or drink without delay. This should quickly rebalance the child’s blood sugar and the child should feel better quite soon thereafter.

Never leave a child unattended until completely recovered. If a child needs to leave the classroom to treat hypoglycemia, the child should be accompanied by a classmate who can call for help if needed.

It is important for the school to notify parents every time their child has a hypoglycemic episode, mentioning the child’s symptoms, the time of day it occurred and the treatment provided. Parents can then make changes or discuss this with their doctor.

Always give sugar to a diabetic child who is behaving oddly even if you are not sure that the cause is hypoglycemia. A transitory sugar surplus won’t hurt the child but a hypoglycemic reaction could be serious.

In a case of severe hypoglycemia with loss of consciousness, the treatment of choice is a glucagon injection. There should be a person at the school trained in administering glucagon. If not, call 911 to get the appropriate care for the child.

If a child with diabetes uses his disease to get attention, the best way to correct this behaviour is to take a blood glucose reading every time the child leaves the classroom. If the result is normal, the child should immediately return to his activities.

Insulin pump

Some diabetic children use an insulin pump. School staff should be trained in order to supervise the child, in a way appropriate to the child’s age, in administering an insulin dose. There is nothing very complicated about it.


Sometimes the blood sugar levels get too high (hyperglycemia). This state is not an emergency but might make the child go to the toilet and drink water more often. School staff should mention this hyperglycemic episode to the parents to help them better manage their child’s diabetes treatment.

In some cases, measuring ketones in a hyperglycemic situation is recommended, especially in children wearing an insulin pump because a diabetic imbalance can occur more quickly.


During meals, school staff may need to closely monitor diabetic children to ensure that they eat sufficient amounts of starches, fruit and milk, and foods that contain carbohydrates. School staff should avoid removing any foods that they think are inappropriate for diabetes. An insufficient amount of carbohydrates could potentially cause hypoglycemia.

In general, children with diabetes can eat most of the foods that all children like. Foods containing concentrated sugars, on the other hand, should be avoided when they are not part of the daily meal plan. When sugary foods are part of a special event, advise parents so they can make arrangements that will allow their child to participate along with classmates.

Specific cases

When a diabetic child is sick, diabetes control may be more difficult. The school must notify parents at once so they can take appropriate action. This is especially important if the child vomits, has a dry mouth or a fruity breath odour, like a ripe apple (acetone breath).

Finally, during physical education or sports competitions, teachers and coaches must know how to recognize, treat, and even prevent hypoglycemia.

Resources to consult:

Conseils pratiques pour l’enfant diabétique en milieu scolaire, Clinique du diabète CHU Ste-Justine, 2013. (French only)

School intervention protocol for students with Type 1 diabetes, [On line], Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, 2012.

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

Scientific review: Caroline Boucher, Nurse Practicioner, CHU Sainte-Justine Diabetes Clinic

Adapted from: Gagnon-Le Borgne, Danielle, Nurse, (Summer 2000) “Pour une rentrée scolaire réussie,” Plein Soleil, Diabetes Québec, p.21.

Other reference :

Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec (2011) Protocole d’intervention en milieu scolaire pour les élèves atteints de diabète de type 1 [Online] Founded at

July 2014 (updated on July 2018)

©All rights reserved Diabetes Quebec

Holiday camps for children with diabetes let them have fun and develop skills in a fun and safe environment.

In these camps, diabetes is the norm, and activities are organized around care and treatment. Children realize that they are not the only ones dealing with diabetes, and the camp helps them accept their disease.

These camps also teach them the joys of being active and give them the necessary motivation to live with their disease. Camp counsellors, who are often diabetic too, set an example, while their fellow campers share their experiences, fears and tricks for controlling their diabetes better.

What about a regular holiday camp?

It’s a question of judgement. Your decision should be based on your child’s level of independence, the changes the camp imposes on your child’s daily schedule, and the services offered there.


Here are three holiday camps for diabetic children:

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

Last update: July 2018

©All rights reserved Diabetes Quebec