Safe at School

Tips for Managing Diabetes in the Child Care Setting

The needs of very young children with diabetes—infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers—need to be safely met in the child care setting. Since very young children are unique in that they cannot participate in self-management tasks it is crucial for parents/guardians to secure a setting that can keep their child safe and well-managed. The following tips are designed to provide basic information for parents/guardians seeking child care.

  • Child care centers cannot refuse to accept your child because he or she has diabetes.
  • Your child's health care provider should work with you to prepare a care plan for your child.
  • Child care center staff should provide the care prescribed for your child by his or her health care provider including blood sugar monitoring, insulin and glucagon administration, recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and meeting nutritional needs outlined in the care plan.
  • You must provide all diabetes supplies, equipment, snacks and insulin or other diabetes medication to the child care provider.
  • All child care staff should receive basic diabetes information including training on diabetes emergencies and know who to contact for help.
  • At least one staff member should be identified and trained to give your child insulin, glucagon and do blood sugar monitoring.
  • You should train child care staff and help your child care provider to locate a diabetes trainer, like your child's diabetes educator, if needed.
  • Your child should be allowed to participate in their own care as they are able to do so.
  • You should be familiar with federal and state laws that protect your child's right to safely participate in a child care program.

Examples of unfair treatment by child care providers that may be illegal:

  • Your daughter's day care refuses to allow her back after her diabetes diagnosis—even though she's already been enrolled for a year.
  • Your son is routinely not allowed to eat a snack with the other children because there is no one to give him insulin.
  • You have to leave work to provide care to your child at the child care center.

Where to Get Help

If you need help, call us at 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383) or send an email to Our call center will ask you a few questions about your issue and send your request to the Legal Advocate Program for review and possible assistance.