Diabetes

If your child or young person has just been diagnosed with diabetes, you might like to start by reading the diabetes overview page. From there you can check out the rest of the information. Read and learn about the condition and teach your child as much as possible about diabetes. Make sure to also use the skills and knowledge of the healthcare team looking after your child.

A family of 2 adults and 2 kids playing with a ball on the lawn by their house

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A boy wearing face mask having his COVID-19 vaccine while sitting on his mum's lapat home.

Children and young people with diabetes aged 5 years and over can have their COVID-19 immunisation now. The Paediatric Society Clinical Network for Diabetes recommends all children 5 years and over with diabetes have the COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.

School bag on a bench with notebook and calculator alongside

The NZ Clinical Network for Children and Young People with Diabetes advises that it is safe for children and young people with diabetes to be at school when they are open. It's also important for children and young people with diabetes (5 years of age and over) to have the COVID-19 vaccine. 

A girl with diabetes using a digital monitor to test her glucose levels

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are lifelong conditions. You can minimise the long-term risks and complications for your child.

4 children standing in front of a blackboard

It is important to work closely with school staff to create a safe environment for your child with diabetes. A diabetes healthcare provider will generally work with your child or teen, your family and teachers.

A mum cutting up fruit in the kitchen while her 2 children look on, one of them eating an orange

Healthy meal planning is an important part of diabetes management. There is no need for your child or young person to eat special foods or follow a restrictive diet.

A father chopping up fruit in the kitchen while his daughter eats it and looks on

The principles of dietary management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar. Check out some general guidelines. 

A family of 2 adults and 2 kids playing a ball game by the water

Regular physical activity is important and benefits people of all ages. It includes anything that gets your child/young person moving. It is not necessary to join a gym or buy expensive equipment at home.

A family - 2 adults and 2 kids running for a ball on grass

Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes. It just needs some planning. Encourage and help your child or teen with diabetes to take part in physical activity.

A young upset boy being hugged by his father

Diabetes-related distress and mental health concerns are common in tamariki and rangatahi living with diabetes. Support is available to help you and your whānau.

The back view of legs of five teens as they walk with bags and backpacks

Helping children and young people with diabetes to move towards self-management has 3 key parts: having knowledge, having skills, having support.

A teddy bear having a finger prick test

Glucose monitoring is important for children and young people with diabetes. 

A boy injecting into his tummy

People with type 1 diabetes mellitus need insulin therapy to replace the insulin that the body can no longer produce. People with type 2 diabetes may also need insulin.

Sick boy with thermometer lying in bed

Children and teens with diabetes do not usually become unwell any more often than children without diabetes. They just need extra care and attention from an adult who has received training from a specialist diabetes team. 

A child on an aeroplane looking out of the aeroplane window next to her seat

Children and young people with diabetes can travel just the same as people without diabetes. You will need to do more planning to make sure travel plans include management of diabetes.

A child outside putting his hand to his head - feeling unwell

Hypoglycaemia happens when the blood glucose level is less than 4 mmol/l, or where your child has symptoms of hypoglycaemia at a level close to this.

Mini dose glucagon

Mini-dose glucagon can sometimes be useful for your child or teen with diabetes, if they keep having hypoglycaemia and won't drink or eat anything more. It's not a treatment for severe hypoglycaemia when your child or teen needs the full dose of glucagon. 

A girl in her swimsuit standing on the beach by the sea - she has a sensor on her arm for continuous glucose monitoringon

The risk of diabetes complications may be reduced by maximising the time your glucose levels are in the target range (3.9 to 10 mmol/L). Screening is important to allow for early detection of possible developing complications.

A section of the KidsHealth diabetes QR code poster

To give others easy access to all KidsHealth's diabetes content, you can share a QR code poster. Anyone can scan the QR code with their phone and go straight to the KidsHealth diabetes section.