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. 

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 must be treated with insulin shots. With treatment, blood sugar levels can be controlled. 

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.

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. 

New Onset Diabetes Education

When diagnosed with diabetes, children over 5 years old and their families will receive the education and training needed to maintain healthy blood glucose levels in three outpatient visits over the course of 1 month. Children under 5, or those who present with diabetic ketoacidosis, will be admitted to the hospital where education will be provided during an inpatient stay. 

During the outpatient visits, children and their families will meet with physicians, certified diabetes educators (nurse and dietitian), and a social worker to ensure all questions are answered surrounding this new diagnosis. 

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Outpatient Education

Blood Glucose Monitoring Information

How to check your blood glucose
  1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water OR use alcohol swab. Make sure fingers are dry before testing.
  2. Insert test strip into meter.
  3. Set depth of lancing device (higher number is deeper) and slide the cocking handle back.
  4. Hold finger below heart level. Place lancing device firmly on side of the finger and press button. Do not use pads or tips of fingers.
  5. Squeeze from the palm of the hand down to the tip of the finger to obtain sample.
  6. Touch blood sample to test strip. Meter will count down your result.
Important Tips
  • Meter will hold all blood glucose data in its memory, so please make sure time and date are always accurate.
  • Please bring all meters to endocrine/diabetes clinic appointments.
  • Change lancet every 24 hours and dispose of used lancet in sharps container.
  • Use a new test strip with every check.
  • Rotate lancing sites and do not overuse the same finger.
  • Insurance will likely dictate which monitor you receive, but any of the many available will provide accurate blood glucose results.
Diabetes Management Calculators

During your education we will explain how to use diabetes management calculators to manage insulin and ketones.

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 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.

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