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Tips and Tricks for Toddlers

By Amanda Sheldon

Managing Editor

Posted:  7/12/2011 12:00 AM


Today we have a guest post from Angie Levesque, mother to 5-year-old Isabelle. Nearly four years ago, Angie and her husband Ken were overwhelmed when Isabelle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Today, Angie shares her family’s story along with some helpful tips she’s learned along the way for other parents of young children with diabetes. Have a tip to add? Tell us in the comments!

The summer of 2007 was an exciting time in our lives. We had just celebrated Isabelle’s second birthday and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our youngest daughter Lindsay. Life as we knew it couldn’t have been better. Only a few weeks after bringing our new baby home, we noticed changes in Isabelle. Though normally sweet and happy, her demeanor slowly became more irritable. She was drinking and going to the bathroom more frequently and was very restless at night. I kept attributing the changes to our new family dynamic. But as summer ended, Isabelle's symptoms spun out of control. Within an hour of our visit to the pediatrician, we were on our way to the hospital where they admitted Isabelle into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

During our three-day stay at the hospital, we were overcome with a whirlwind of information and emotions that come with a diagnosis of diabetes. At the time I didn’t understand the complexity of the disease and how much our lives were about to change. The first few weeks were the hardest. A week after her diagnosis, I remember wondering if she’d ever smile again.

Little by little things got easier and, most importantly, Isabelle started to feel better. But she hated the shots. After months of anxiety before every injection, Isabelle began pump therapy. When we explained the pump to Isabelle, we simply told her that it would take the place of shots. She was thrilled.

We still face many challenges with Isabelle’s day-to-day care, especially since she started Kindergarten this past year. However we have learned a few tricks along the way. Here are just a few tips I would like to share with other parents:

  • Use Topical Cream:  One challenge we've had with the pump is site changes.  We change Isabelle's infusion set every two days and it is definitely not something she enjoys. When she was very young, we used a topical numbing cream to ease the pain.  
  • Use a Pump Clip: Initially I wasn’t sure how she would adjust to carrying a device on her body 24/7 at her young age, but honestly she grew accustomed to it rather quickly. We make sure to keep Isabelle’s pump locked and her tubing tucked away so it can’t hook onto anything. Isabelle uses the pump clip so we can hook the pump to the side of her pants and we just tuck the tubing in the waistline of her pants.  
  • Train School Staff:  We trained the school staff on how to use the pump with a step-by-step quick reference guide I put together. I included how-to’s for checking her blood glucose, locking/unlocking the pump, entering BG and carb values, bolusing and correcting lows. The guide is hung up in each of the classrooms that Isabelle uses and has been extremely helpful especially at the beginning of the year.
Isabelle turns six years old this summer, a time when I tend to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished since her diagnosis. Although diabetes is a challenge, we feel grateful for the technology that is available to us that makes living with the disease more manageable. The pump is certainly not a cure nor is it an answer to all of the complications that come along with diabetes, but it helps us manage. We look forward to the innovations of the future.


- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps

- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

Please visit for complete safety information.


Mike Hoskins

Posted on Sat Jul 16 11:45:53 GMT 2011

Thanks so much Angie, for sharing your families story! Being diagnosed at age 5, it was the spring just before I began kindergarten. My mom (a T1 herself) had to educate the teachers and staff, as I was the only one and the first in a generation in that district. She was also diagnosed at the same young age and her mom went through the same thing in that district, but most were new by the time I got to that point. Anyhow, it's always an adventure and hope Isabelle does great as the school experience continues!

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