September 23, 2002
Other Social Issues
Question from Ashburn, Virginia, USA:
My 12 year old son, who has diabetes, visits his father on weekends (we are divorced), but his father does not pay much attention to the diabetes. He often leaves my son alone for several hours or with his 13 year old sister and lets my son wander his large neighborhood unsupervised for hours at a time.
Last weekend, my ex-husband got up very early on Sunday morning to play golf. He did not wake my son, help him with his blood sugar check, shot, or breakfast. My son woke up, watched television for awhile, and then passed out from hypoglycemia. His 13 year old sister found him unconscious, called me, then called 911. The medics were able to revive him, and everything is fine.
What is the appropriate level of supervision for 12 year old who has diabetes? Is it okay to leave them alone for any amount of time and if so, under what circumstances? What are guidelines for playing outside with friends when they are not in view of a care giver?
The appropriate level of supervision of a child such as this must be determined on an individual basis. If you have concerns about his level of supervision, I would direct them to the child protective services in the area in which your ex-husband lives.