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Low Kits

Your child will be prepared to deal with a low if he always carries with him (or on you, if he is very young) a Low Blood Glucose Treatment Kit (“Low Kit”). Low blood glucose can occur unexpectedly, anywhere. Being prepared to treat a low with the following items can turn a potential emergency into a minor “hiccup”:

low kit for type 1 diabetes
Prepared for the Worst: 

Your child should have accessible to her, at the minimum:

  • Rapid-Acting Carbohydrate: enough to treat 2 low blood sugars
    • Candy containing glucose or dextrose, or
    • Drink such as regular pop, juice, or Gatorade®

(For more information on rapid-acting carbohydrates, see The Basics/Lows.)

  • Blood glucose monitor, test strips and lancing device. 
  • Medical ID (bracelet, necklace, etc)



Prepared for Anything:

To make outings smooth sailing, in addition to the minimum supplies listed above, your child could also have accessible: 

  • Snacks such as granola bars, cookies, and crackers which can be used to prevent a low when blood glucose is falling gradually, or when exercise has increased the demand for glucose in the body.
  • Hand Wipes or Alcohol swabs (for finger pokes when hand-washing is not possible on-the-go)
  • Glucagon, for the treatment of a severe low (See The Basics/Severe Lows for more information.)
    • Glucagon should be stored at room temperature (between 15-30 C).  It should not be left in a hot car, nor a sports bag during hot weather (or in a freezing car or freezing hockey rink, at the other extreme). If you decide to carry Glucagon with you, take care to maintain this temperature range. In hot weather, you could store it in:
      • a cooler or small insulated zipper bag with an ice pack, orglucagon for treatment of a severe low blood glucose
      • in a wide-mouth thermos bottle with an ice cube, or
      • in a Frio® insulin wallet
    • If you will be in a remote location or one in which 911 emergency medical services will not be readily available (camping; a driving trip across the prairies or other rural areas; on an airplane), most diabetes experts STRONGLY RECOMMEND carrying Glucagon with you.

Note: To order this plastic case, please contact the manufacturer listed on the box.   

tips from the trenches of type 1 diabetes


We’ve always brought glucagon with us on overnight trips or vacations but now we even bring it for instances such as skiing for the day. We do this because of the length of time it would take to get medical assistance. It’s easier to have it and not use it rather than needing it and not have it. We are just careful to protect it from temperature extremes.   ~Danielle


Although not required for lows, you may also find it helpful to take with you a supply of syringes, pump infusion set/cartridge, and a vial of insulin, in case of an unexpected high blood sugar.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider getting an extra blood glucose monitor so that you can leave it in the low kit all the time, making it less likely that the monitor will be left behind in the kitchen drawer. 
  • For the Pre-Schooler (from Michelle):
    • Our low kit for our preschooler contains both candy and juice, in case my son refuses one or the other during a low.
    • We keep all of the above items in a small, insulated, zipper bag. This keeps the items together and (even without an ice pack) guards somewhat against extreme temperatures. When we are headed somewhere, we can just grab it on the way out the door without stopping to gather each item. If it is a very warm day, we add an ice pack just before we leave.
    • For convenience, the exact amount of candy needed to treat a low can be kept in your child’s pocket, or in a waist pouch, such as a SPIbelt™. We stash a measured low treatment in my preschool son’s insulin pump case when he is away from us for short periods (ex. preschool, Sunday school, or a walk with Grandma). His caregivers are alerted to its presence and can help him take his low treatment if he is showing signs of a low.
    • I keep a list of take-along supplies needed for outings (for lows and highs), taped inside the lid of our insulated bag (a Tegaderm™ works great!). Then I can double check that we have everything we need before we head out the door.
 
  • For the Pre-teen (from Danielle):
    • Our low kit for our preteen son is carried in his pump case which is with him at all times. 
    • We/he makes sure he has enough Rockets® to treat 2-3 lows placed in the back of the meter case which is restocked each time before he leaves the house. 
    • He also carries extra Rockets® in his coat pocket or backpack as a backup if he’s going to be away from us for an extended period or if he’s doing excessive activity such as tobogganing, long walks or bike rides.  


See The Basics/
Lows for more information on portable low treatments.




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The above information was adapted with permission from The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic information handouts.

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.



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