Childhood Diabetes

Childhood Diabetes

The Children's Mercy Diabetes Center provides comprehensive care for patients and families managing childhood diabetes. We create treatment programs that empower patients to effectively self-manage their diabetes and we continue to pursue studies that lead to new, more effective ways to treat and prevent diabetes. View current studies at

Our faculty and staff take a team approach to provide the best care possible for children with type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) or type 2 diabetes. We are always seeking to improve access to care by using technology, such as telemedicine, to make it easier for families to connect with their health care team at Children's Mercy.

What is diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a disorder where the body does not make enough of a hormone called insulin. Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually starts in childhood or early adulthood. It is treated with insulin injections, which help control blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes) is not the same as type 1 diabetes. The bodies of people with type 2 diabetes may produce insulin, but it may not be enough or may not be able to be used properly. Type 2 diabetes may be treated with pills instead of insulin shots. Type 2 diabetes is usually linked to being overweight. It is becoming more common in children ages 10 to 18 years old.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and even reversed when it's identified early. Learn more about our Type 2 diabetes prevention clinic.

Signs of diabetes in children

Type 1 diabetes symptoms include:

  • urinating a lot (some children wet the bed when they didn't before)
  • being thirsty and drinking a lot of fluids 
  • losing weight without trying 
Type 2 diabetes may cause the following symptoms, but most people have no symptoms, often for months or even years:
  • increased urination
  • increased thirst
  • blurry vision
  • unexpected weight gain or weight loss
  • frequent infections - for example, of the skin, gums, or bladder
  • frequent yeast infections of the vagina
  • tiredness
  • infections of the foreskin in uncircumcised males

If you think your child has diabetes, call your healthcare provider. 

Your appointment

Our team has provided some important information about what to expect during your child's appointment and what you will need to bring.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Blood glucose meter
  • Insulin pump
  • Continuous glucose sensor
  • Blood glucose, insulin pump or continuous glucose sensor home downloads
  • Food to treat low blood glucose

How do I cancel an appointment?

  • Please call (816) 960-8802 to cancel an appointment.

Tests and measurements

We want to ensure that your child maintains optimal growth and development along with optimal diabetes control. Your child will have the following measures performed at each appointment:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Height and weight calculated for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Blood pressure
  • Hemoglobin A1c

Annual screenings

Children with diabetes are at risk for developing complications. Once a year, children will need to have additional screening tests performed to detect early complications. These tests may include:

  • Thyroid function tests
  • Celiac panel
  • Lipid profile to help detect cholesterol problems
  • Urine test for microalbuminuria

The center also recommends your child receive dental exams every six months to ensure optimal dental health. Annual dilated eye exams are recommended once your child is 10 years of age.

Diabetes education

We understand that reshaping your family's lifestyle to accommodate a child with diabetes is a big adjustment. That's why Children's Mercy offers new-onset diabetes education to families in a series of three outpatient visits. Each visit includes both your child's doctor's appointment and hands-on educational sessions with our Certified Diabetes Educators. In between appointments, you'll have time to practice what you've learned and ask questions anytime by phone or at your next visit. 

Read more about diabetes education and find useful calculators and other tools on our Diabetes Education for Families page.

Support groups

The diabetes team offers two support groups at several times throughout the year. If you, your child, or your family members are interested in attending please contact one of the diabetes social workers: Lara Simon (816) 960-8981 or Heather Feingold (913) 696-5061.

2018 Diabetes Family Support Group

Offered from 6:00-7:00 pm for patients, caregivers, and siblings 

August 20th 
Children’s Mercy Broadway
3101 Broadway Boulevard 
9th floor conference room
Kansas City, MO 64111  

April 16th and November 12th 
Children’s Mercy College Boulevard
Endocrine/Diabetes Clinic
5520 College Boulevard, Suite 130
Overland Park, KS 66211 

2018 Diabetes Teen Girls Support Group 

Offered from 6:00-7:00 pm for patients ages 12 and older 

June 12th - Panel Discussion
Children’s Mercy Broadway
3101 Broadway Boulevard 
9th floor conference room 
Kansas City, MO 64111 

October 23rd
Children’s Mercy College Boulevard
Endocrine/Diabetes Clinic
5520 College Boulevard, Suite 130
Overland Park, KS 66211


Copyright © 2018 The Children’s Mercy Hospital