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How should I manage my child's diabetes during air travel?

Before going on your trip, be sure to pack twice the amount of diabetes supplies that you think your child will need while on a trip. Be sure to include the essentials in your carry-on. Your packing list should include:

  • insulin
  • syringes
  • blood glucose (BG) testing supplies
  • pump and/or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) supplies
  • ketone testing strips
  • glucagon
  • glucose tablets or fast-acting sugar to treat low BG
  • a medical ID card (your child should always wear a medical ID bracelet)
  • day and night phone numbers for your D-team
  • all your contact numbers
  • batteries
  • snacks like peanut butter and crackers
  • first aid kit
  • anti-diarrhea pills
  • anti-nausea drugs

At the airport security check-in, notify the screener that your child has diabetes and you are carrying her supplies with you. Be prepared to show the doctor's letter and prescription labels. Advise the screener if your child wears a pump that it cannot be removed because it is connected to a catheter inserted under the skin. Bring your patience and a smile.

When on the plane, encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, as flying dehydrates the body. Change your watches and diabetes devices—meters and pumps—to the destination's time zone as soon as you arrive. If your child is leaving the country, print and pack the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers's list of English-speaking doctors in the areas you will be visiting. If abroad and unable to locate an English-speaking doctor, contact the American Consulate, American Express or local medical schools.

After air travel with your child with diabetes, remember to check your child's blood glucose (BG's) regularly. Jet lag, excitement and exhaustion can cause an unexpected BG reading. Also check your child's insulin before injecting each dose. If you notice anything unusual about its appearance, call the doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.