It can be difficult coping with diabetes, especially if you’re a child. Luckily, there are educational toys and other products that help children conquer some of the mountains that diabetes can create. Here are a few that you may want to look into.
Diabetes Care for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers, a book by Jean Betschart, CRNP, CDE, a pediatric nurse practitioner and diabetes educator at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Betschart offers tips on giving an injection to a baby, dealing with a picky eater and communicating with day care workers.
The DiabetesDek contains 48 double-sided, pocket-sized cards that make good reference tools for teens and parents. They include tips on traveling, meal planning, insulin mixing, checking BGs and information on what to do in case of hypo- and hyperglycemia.
$11.95 (includes shipping and handling)
In Control: A Guide for Teens with Diabetes
Betschart and Susan Thom, RD, LD, CDE, team up to guide kids age 12 to 18 through the terrible teens. This book addresses many things your teen with diabetes may want to know but is afraid to ask: dating, driving and substance abuse, to name a few. The tone is not preachy or overbearing, but practical and down-to-earth, making the information easy for teens to digest.
A Kid Like You…With Diabetes Coloring Book
From the American Association of Diabetes Educators, this coloring book is adapted from the drawings of Jennifer Downing, a child with diabetes. The book follows Jennifer from her diagnosis through her diabetes education. Kids can color and learn about what it’s like to cope with diabetes. Plus, it gives kids positive reinforcement and allows them to learn while being creative and having fun.
A Magic Ride in Foozbah-Land. In this book, Julie and Jeff, two kids with diabetes, embark on a magic trip of discovery with Nurse Kelly inside Mr. Foozbah’s body to learn more about diabetes. This book is full of playful rhymes reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. Plus, the colorful illustrations will keep children, ages 3 to 7, excited to learn more about the importance of insulin and blood glucose monitoring. Also by Betschart.
The Medos Multiple Alarm Watch
This digital watch has six alarms to remind children ages 5 and up when to take their medication and when to perform their BG tests. These watches can help children gain a greater sense of independence from their parents while still avoiding missed tests and insulin shots.
The PortionPak2 is a reference guide for everybody, ages 6 through adult, that provides nutritional information in a small binder. Created by Michelle Saari to help her 6-year-old daughter, Dana, with her meal plans, the guide has brightly colored pictures which can help teach a child about nutrition and meal planning through color coding and visualization. The PortionPak2 determines serving sizes based on the Food Guide Pyramid and the exchange system, eliminating the need to weight and measure food.
$29.99 plus $7 shipping and handling
Safety Sport I.D. Medication Identification Bracelet
Designed for children, but useful for all ages, even adults, the Safety Sport I.D. is a waterproof, brightly colored medical i.d. bracelet. You can have “Medical” or “Diabetic” printed on it. It also contains a waterproof, coated paper insert on which is written your name, date of birth, phone number, address, emergency contact, drug allergies, current medications and a one-line medical history.
$7 recommended retail price
Sarah and Puffle
This book has plenty of illustrations and is easy for young children, ages 4 to 8, to understand. A young girl, Sarah, who has recently been diagnosed, is angry and frustrated with her diabetes. Then her stuffed lamb, Puffle, comes alive to comfort her and help her overcome the hurdles that diabetes has built. By Linnea Mulder.
$11.95 hardcover, $8.95 paperback
When A Child Has Diabetes is a comprehensive guide, covering children from infancy through the teen years, written by three professionals from the University of Toronto: Denis Daneman, MB, BCh, FRCPC, Marcia Frank, RN, MHSc, CDE, and Kusiel Perlman, MD, FRCPC. This book contains all the basics of diabetes care, plus topics like the financial strains of diabetes and looking into how diabetes will affect a child’s future.
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Looking for More? Need to Talk to Someone?
Try Parent Support Groups
Both the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and American Diabetes Association have regional offices in every state that keep an updated list of all support groups in the area. You can call either organization for the office nearest you that offers support specifically for parents of children with diabetes. Many regional affiliates also keep a referral list of professional counselors famliar with diabetes and family issues. Both organizations also have Web sites.
Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
American Diabetes Association
(800) 342-2383 (This number will automatically transfer you to your nearest affiliate.)
Also check out:
Children with Diabetes
This site offers parents general information about diabetes, a forum for questions and answers with professionals and a place to chat with other parents.