At the beginning of August, parents start amassing a stockpile as they check off the list of school supplies that each of their children needs for the school year. Gym shoes, notebooks, pencils, crayons and markers.
But parents of children with type 1 diabetes have another list of school necessities that they must pack: medical supplies.
In the weeks before school begins, I start going through my diabetes supply cabinet and pull out the items that we might need both for daily care and for unexpected blood sugars.
I prepare two classroom diabetes kits, another one for the gym office and one for the main office. Each of the kits is clearly labeled with personalized medical labels, which I purchased online.
Depending on the layout of the school, access to the main office or nurse's office, and the child's daily schedule, you can decide how many kits you will need, where they will be located and what each will contain.
Classroom Diabetes Kits
These two identical kits include the basic diabetes supplies my daughter may need during the day. We keep one in her classroom and another in the music room as a backup. That way, they can be quickly and easily accessed by the nurse and trained staff without having to go to the office. Also, they have what they need in case Quinn were ever to be in the classroom and unable to leave for an extended period of time, such as during a lock down or severe weather situation.
For these diabetes kits, I chose brightly colored block-shaped lunchboxes that easily hold all of the supplies. They include everything needed to check blood sugars:
- An extra blood glucose meter (we use the Omnipod® Personal Diabetes Manager [PDM] to check blood sugars, but keep a backup just in case)
- Test strips
- Lancing device and lancets
- Blood ketone meter and ketone test strips
The diabetes kits also include items for treating lows from minor to severe, including:
- A jar of glucose tablets
- Cake icing gel
- A glucagon kit
- A brick of juice boxes in the classroom and one or two juice boxes in the music room
In case Quinn’s stuck in the room for a while, I also include other food items:
- A regular snack, such as an applesauce pouch
- A protein snack, such as peanut butter crackers or a protein bar
- A small bottle of water
And lastly I include our two-page instruction sheet which highlights the protocol for identifying and treating low and high blood sugars.
Gym Office Diabetes Kit
I keep a hard plastic pencil box in the gym office that has Smarties, glucose tablets and cake icing gel, so that Quinn can be treated quickly while the people trained in caring for her diabetes are located.
Main Office or Nurse's Office Diabetes Kit
I keep another kit in the office that has supplies that are rarely needed, such as:
- Two extra Pods
- A small bottle of baby oil (we use it to loosen the adhesive when changing Pods)
Diabetes Supply Bag
Of course my daughter has her d-supply bag that she takes with her every day as she leaves the house. Quinn uses a cute purse that we throw into her backpack each morning. At school it sits in a designated spot during the day so the teacher or nurse can grab it as needed to check blood sugars and give insulin. In this "insulin pump bag" I always keep:
- Her Omnipod PDM case (which holds her lancing device, extra lancets, test strips and a vial of insulin)
- A juice box
- A travel roll of glucose tablets
- An extra Pod
- A glucagon kit
Refreshing Diabetes Kits Periodically
A couple times a year, usually during winter break and spring break, I bring the diabetes supply kits home from school and rotate stock so that the items aren't expired.
I know that this seems like a lot of supplies to gather and keep on hand, but for us it makes the school year run more smoothly. Ask your endocrinologist, certified diabetes educator and/or school nurse which diabetes supplies would be most appropriate for your child to keep at school.