What to look out for when your child has T1D
For many families newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), few words instill as much fear as Halloween. A whole holiday centred on candy can be a lot for families to handle. However, with the right tools and attitude, Halloween can be just as fun for someone with T1D as it is for any regular goblin or ghoul.
Here are some helpful tips for having a T1D scare-free Halloween.
Make a plan
Planning ahead for classroom parties, trick-or-treating and everything in between will help make a potentially challenging holiday manageable. It’s important to make sure that teachers, neighbours and temporary caregivers all know how to handle the abundance of snacks and excitement.
Things they should know include:
- The amount of candy you are comfortable with your child consuming
- The appropriate insulin dosing based on activity level, blood glucose readings and the type of food being consumed
- What foods (if any) they should avoid
- What to do in case of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, as well as the symptoms for both
- A parent or guardian’s contact information
Know your carb counts
From candy corn to bite-sized candy bars, it’s important to know accurate carb counts to administer the correct insulin dosages. Check on the packaging for the carb count.
A few more tips
Running around during the evening hours may not be a part of your child’s typical routine. Here are a few tips to ensure that trick-or-treat outings go smoothly:
- All the activity and excitement around trick-or-treating can cause low blood sugars, so talk to your health care provider about setting a lower temporary basal rate to account for all the night-time exercise.
- Lower temperatures can contribute to hypoglycemia. Regardless of costume, make sure your child stays warm.
- No matter how complicated the costume, pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM) should be easily accessible. Find a place to stash your insulin pump and CGM under your child’s costume. There are a variety of products designed specifically for T1D supplies as well as other options designed for athletics.
- Have a plan for eating candy and food while trick-or-treating.
- Take inventory! Sneakily consumed candy can be the explanation for some elevated Halloween blood sugars.
Halloween treat alternatives
There is no reason that a person with T1D cannot eat candy if they want, but here are some creative ways to turn candy into other treats:
- Save some of the candy for treating lows. Candies, like Smarties, that feature dextrose as a key ingredient are great for quickly bringing up blood sugars while candies with higher fat content are not best suited for treating lows.
- Offer to buy back the sweets from your child.
- Transform your child’s candy pile into a surprise. At bedtime on Halloween night, kids can leave their excess candy in a pile and find them magically transformed into a special gift in exchange!
Halloween should be a blast for all kids, including those with T1D. We hope these tips and tricks ensure your Halloween is fun, not freaky!