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7 min. read

What I wish you knew about Type 1 Diabetes

Our Children with Diabetes series offers type 1 diabetes (T1D) guidance and support, including bite-size educational material, to both parents and children. This article covers the T1D basics and is designed for friends and family members of a child with type 1 diabetes.

Table of contents

What to know about type 1 diabetes – for caregivers, friends and family


When your child has T1D, everything you do requires careful planning. The thought of leaving your child in the care of someone else or of another adult asking them to take over your care provider role likely fills you with dread. How can anyone else provide the same level of T1D care as you?

This article aims to increase your confidence in other carers by taking the basics of T1D and condensing them into a handy guide. Think of the below as a preparation checklist for your friends, family and guardians looking after your child with T1D.

Hit the print button and share our handy guide with your child’s caregivers for peace of mind. Or simply share the link far and wide! 

10 Things I wish you knew about T1D

  1. There’s no known cause: Scientists believe genes and environmental factors can trigger the disease, but I didn’t do anything to cause type 1 diabetes, and it isn’t contagious.
  2. T1D is an autoimmune disease1: My body can’t turn carbohydrates into energy because my pancreas doesn’t produce insulin.
  3. I can live a normal life: With a little advanced planning, I can do most things other kids do. I can play sports and eat all kinds of food, but I must consult my HCP to check my blood sugar and adjust my medication regularly.
  4. Managing blood sugar levels is key: I have to check my blood sugar levels multiple times daily, either with a finger stick or by wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
  5. Diabetes technology exits: My diabetes technology includes a blood glucose meter, an insulin pen or pump and a CGM. These items must be with me at all times.
  6. Environmental factors are at play: Some things that affect my blood sugar levels that are out of my control include stress, hormones, the weather and illness.2
  7. High blood sugar symptoms: Thirsty, excessive need to wee, stomach pain, irritability. Action: I need to consult my HCP to help me to reduce my sugar levels.
  8. Low blood sugar symptoms: Sweating, dizzy, hungry, irritable, shaky, anxious, headache. Action: Eat a snack to increase blood sugar levels.
  9. Emergency procedure: If I become unconscious, call emergency services. My blood sugar levels are either incredibly high or incredibly low. This is dangerous, and action should be taken immediately.
  10. THANK YOU: You’re an important part of my diabetes management team. Thank you for caring for me! 

Top Tip!


Keep your own log of the child's blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Top Tip!


Pre-plan the food you’ll serve and count the carbohydrates in each dish.


  1. CDC. What is Type 1 Diabetes. Available from: https:// www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/what-is-type-1- diabetes.html. Last accessed: January 2024.
  2. Good to Know: Factors Affecting Blood Glucose. Clin Diabetes. 2018;36(2):202. 

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