Children Get Help for Mom with Type 1 During Low

An Australian mother with Type 1 diabetes might owe her life to the quick-thinking of her two young children, according to a report in the Latrobe Valley Express.

As Naomi Brittain’s family was getting ready for school, she suffered a bout of hypoglycemia and became unresponsive. Her sons noticed she was in distress and took action. Twelve-year-old Brendan Webb called the Australian equivalent of 911 (“Triple Zero”), while 10-year-old Kieran Webb tested his mother’s blood glucose levels.

Read more: 3 tips for talking to children about your Type 1 diabetes

They then let the paramedics in and informed them about their mother’s condition before turning their attention once again to getting ready for school. The responding paramedic said Kieran had been so diligent in testing his mother’s glucose levels that he had used up all the fingers on one of his mother’s hands. Brittain was treated and her children were taken to school by ambulance.

No one with Type 1 diabetes likes to imagine suffering severe hypoglycemia, and parents with Type 1 diabetes might be particularly reluctant to discuss the possibility of such a low with their children. However, this incident underlines the importance of making a plan.

Every parent must decide what they feel their child is capable of handling, but giving children the information they need to help if a low strikes might reduce their anxiety around Type 1 diabetes. Here are some suggestions to make sure children are prepared:

  • Give children a basic understanding of what is happening during a bout of hypoglycemia
  • Keep a list of basic medical info on the fridge or in another easy-to-find place
  • Make sure children know how to call 911 and when to do it, as well as what information to give to the dispatcher
  • Show children where you keep low snacks (unless that means you will no longer have low snacks)
  • Have children learn how to test your glucose levels
  • Role play what to do should a low occur

Have your children ever helped when you were suffering from a bout of hypoglycemia? You can send your stories to me at

Image: Papuchalka – kaelaimages /

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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