November 1, 2001
School and Daycare
Question from Walnut Creek, California, USA:
Our son, who has diabetes, has a four day school field trip, and we would like to know what kind of precautions you recommend for letting him go on such a trip. We are aware that the level of the activities during this event is going to be different from his day to day activities, and even though his teacher is aware of the boy’s condition, she does not have much experience dealing with diabetes. He is very excited about this field trip. Do you think we should let him go?
I would definitely let him go on the field trip. I would make sure that whoever is directly supervising him has some training in the basic management of diabetes and its emergencies. It may be best for you to review his blood sugars with him once a day by phone to help him troubleshoot or make insulin changes as necessary. See Acute Emergencies of Diabetes.
[Editor’s comment: I totally agree with Dr Brown. Diabetes should not be a deterrent to participation in such activities. Indeed, not allowing your son to go on the trip could lead to serious psychologic problems. Even if his control isn’t exactly what you’d like it to be during the outing, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
You do not say who old your son is and what his self-management skills are like. I would make sure than you have a written plan for him and the chaperones. I would also take the time to review basic routines and emergency treatment with supervising adults.