Insulin pens for children are an easy and convenient way of administering insulin to a diabetic child than using syringes. While it’s larger than the average pen, its portability, ease of use, and accuracy makes the insulin pen a popular choice for diabetes management in most countries.
Caring for the Diabetic Child
Among children, Type 1 diabetes is more common than Type 2. Those with Type 1 have lost the ability to make insulin and will never get it back. They will need insulin therapy for the rest of their lives. Those with Type 2 diabetes can still produce some insulin but not enough for their needs. Type 2 is relatively rare, but cases are rising due partly to the obesity “epidemic” sweeping the country.
Parents are responsible for their children’s insulin therapy, especially when they are still infants and toddlers. As they grow older, children may help in managing their diabetes but parents should continue with supervising their diet, medication and exercise. It is better to train other family members to give injections for back-up during emergencies.
Make sure that your child’s school knows about his condition and needs and provides the necessary support and help.
Safe Dosing with Insulin Pens for Children
Insulin for children include short-acting insulin and rapid-acting insulin analogs, intermediate-acting insulin (NPH and Lente) and long acting insulin analogs. Actual dosage depends on their weight, age and development. Doses for younger and pre-puberty kids are usually quite small. In fact insulin for infants and toddlers may have to be diluted by trained parents and pharmacists. Insulin doses usually increase especially when young diabetics enter puberty. They may need multiple injections daily using various types of insulin before they eat and sleep or after heavy snacks.
Advantages of Insulin Pens for Children in Diabetes Management
Added convenience is offered by insulin pens for children who need more than one injection daily and are injected at their home, school and other settings. Students can inject themselves right in their classroom. Insulin pens look cool, are easier to carry around and do not need refrigeration. They measure small doses more accurately. They are more suitable to a child’s fast paced and busy life.
Children are prone to low glucose or hypoglycemia which can lead to seizures and coma. To prevent this, their parents or caretakers at home and in school must do the following:
- Monitor their blood glucose level regularly
- See to it that they eat meals on time and always carry a supply of snacks
- Make sure they always bring their insulin pen and other supplies they need
- Always check that their insulin is okay and that their doses are accurate
How to Use Insulin Pens for Children
Use insulin pens for children in the same way you would use a syringe.
- Choose the injection site. Make sure it is different from the last injection site. It may be in the same general area. For instance you can inject insulin in the stomach the whole day but space the injection sites about two inches apart. Or you can shift areas and inject the child in the stomach in the morning, in the upper arm at lunch, and in the thigh at night.
- If the child is very young, you can use a toy and other diversions to keep him or her calm and cheerful and relaxed.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water and let them dry. If the child is going to do the injection or help you, he should wash his or her hands well.
- Assemble the things you will need, including the insulin pen. It is better if they are kept in one kit or bag.
- Uncap the pen. When using insulin pens for children, check the insulin cartridge to see that it has not expired and that its color, odor and consistency are okay. Roll the pen between your hands about 20 times to mix the insulin.
- Attach a needle to the pen. Use a new needle for each injection. If necessary prime the pen to remove bubbles that can affect the amount of insulin injected. Point the needle up and then tap the pen until the bubbles rise. Dial a dose of 2 and do an air shot.
- Dial the correct dose. Pinch the skin gently and insert the needle beneath the skin at a 90 degree angle or 45 degree angle if the child is thin. Make sure the needle penetrates the fatty layer under the skin. Let go of the fold.
- Press the injection button and wait about 5 seconds until the full dose is injected. Remove the needle following the angle of insertion.
- Dispose of the needle safely.