Understanding the target blood sugar readings for your kids can help you identify health problems in the early stages. Diabetes is a disease that affects your body's ability to process carbohydrates and sugar, raising your blood sugar to dangerous levels if you do not treat it. If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, monitor his blood sugar readings to avoid unnecessary highs while protecting him from dangerous lows.
First Six Years
Children in the infant to preschool stages face the most risk when it comes to low blood sugar because kids that young cannot properly identify or articulate the symptoms that may indicate that blood sugar levels are dropping to unsafe low levels. Due to this risk, the American Diabetes Association recommends higher target readings for young children, suggesting that your toddler maintain blood sugar levels of 100-180 before a meal and 110-200 overnight. The recommended readings for overnight blood sugar relate to the increased risk of hypoglycemia in the overnight hours.
Elementary School Years
When your child reaches the elementary school ages of 6-12, her communication skills improve and she is more aware of changes in how she feels. This increases the likelihood that she can identify a hypoglycemic episode before it reaches dangerous levels. The target blood sugar readings for children in the elementary school years is 90-180 before meals and 100-180 overnight.
Teenagers are typically active in sports and other recreational activities as well as spending time with friends. If your child's busy schedule keeps him on the go, monitor his blood sugar regularly to be sure that he stays within his target range. Teenagers can regulate their blood sugar easier than young children, so the blood sugar targets are closer to the standard recommendations for adults at 90-130 before meals and overnight numbers of 90-150.
The American Diabetes Association reports that 1 in 400 U.S. children under the age of 19 have diabetes. Monitoring your child's blood glucose can uncover glucose intolerance, high blood sugar, and low blood sugar conditions. Target readings are a guideline, but your child's doctor may have other specific recommendations based on her medical history.
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Tara Kimball is a former accounting professional with more than 10 years of experience in corporate finance and small business accounting. She has also worked in desktop support and network management. Her articles have appeared in various online publications.