For Parents: Signs Of Type 1 Diabetes in Children

As all parents know, infants and small children sleep a lot and drink a lot. That is perfectly normal. But if your child suddenly appears more drowsy and fatigued than usual or is constantly thirsty, these symptoms, along with several others, could be telltale signs of type 1 diabetes.

Formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes can appear in infants, toddlers, young children, and teenagers. Some people aren’t diagnosed with the condition until well into adulthood.

But understanding type 1 diabetes and recognizing the signs of the disease in children is the best way for parents to quickly identify the issue and seek the treatment that can keep their child healthy and happy.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Of the estimated 422 million people worldwide who have diabetes, about five percent are living with type 1.

When the body is functioning properly, it makes insulin-producing cells in the pancreas called islets which detect the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Islets then release the right amount of insulin to normalize blood sugar levels and use as energy. In type 1 diabetes, however, the body’s immune system attacks the islet cells in the pancreas.

Without these cells, the body cannot produce its own insulin. As a result, the sugars stay in the bloodstream, essentially starving the cells of the energy they need to maintain the body’s essential functions. High blood glucose levels can cause severe short-term and long-term problems, including the risk of coma or death.

Be On The Lookout For These Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms In Your Kids

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children can appear suddenly, so keep an eye out for these signs in your child:

  • Ongoing, intense thirst
  • Grunting while breathing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Huge appetite
  • Extreme drowsiness or lack of energy
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden strange behavior (acting “drunk”)
  • Breath that smells fruity, sweet, or like wine
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Difficulty breathing

Monitoring Your Child’s Blood Sugar With CGM

Effectively managing your child’s diabetes is critical. Accurate and frequent monitoring of glucose levels is an indispensable part of those efforts. Fortunately, advancements in glucose monitoring technology have made controlling your child’s glucose levels easier than ever.

Traditional blood sugar monitoring involved pricking a finger multiple times a day to test blood samples, an inconvenient and uncomfortable burden, especially for kids. Now, Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) allows those with diabetes to avoid finger-pricking through the use of a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device.

Contact us today to see if you and your child qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading