Dexcom G6 sensor fail x 5 on 3 yr old son

My 3 year old son is newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic and we were able to get the Dexcom G6 which we thought was a life safe and is turning into a nightmare. The first sensor was placed at the diabetic Ed office and lasted almost the full 10 days. We changed the sensor last Sunday and are now on our 5th sensor failed and ready to give up! We are placing on the butt. I have called the company every time it’s failed and gotten a replacement and talked with medical support. We tried a tenting technique to minimize bleeding at the site and everything seemed perfect this last time but last night we got an alert saying sensor expired replace sensor and it was only on for 8 hrs. I requested a new transmitter but the company says it’s not the issue and it’s a sensor problem but after 5 failed sensors it’s hard to believe it’s just the sensor. I’m looking for any advice from parents on how to get this to work! We are beyond frustrated and our 3 year old hates having to go through the sensor placement each time. He does like to take baths at night and I wonder if that is affecting the sensor? I’m willing to try placing on the arm although he’s pretty thin. I’m a nurse so I have a good understanding of how these work and how it needs to be placed in the tissue and don’t feel it’s a user error situation but maybe it is. I would love any advice and real life recommendations on how to get it to work or if you think it’s the transmitter.


May I please ask — what you mean by “tenting technique” to minimize bleeding at the site ? Thank you.

It was something the medical support staff for Dexcom told me to try which is pinching the tissue up and in the area you apply the sensor. Similar to how the teach to give insulin so it goes in the SQ tissue.

Hello. My insurance doesn’t cover the G6 so I use the G5 system (which uses the same sensors as the G4) and I’m very happy with it. I’ve gotten extremely few actual sensor failures with the G4/G5 but have found that if I unwittingly lie down on my pump/receiver I do get an Out of Range alert. The same has happened if I wear it in a pants pocket on the opposite side of the sensor. That issue was rarer with the G4.
This isn’t the same type of problem you’re having but may be something to check - perhaps the sensor/receiver connection is even more sensitive with the G6.
Wishing you the best in getting to the bottom of the problem - I’m sure it’s very frustrating.

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Thanks for getting back with me, I had not heard this term before .

Hi Samantha,
My grandson was newly diagnosed in November. He is four years old. I know taking baths within a short amount of time of replacing the Dexcom has not been a good fit for him either. I read so much … but I read somewhere that taking baths before changing the Dexcom is not recommended. Hope this helps. Sincerely, Grandma Robin

Keep trying. It is life saver! My son is 13 diagnosed a year ago. We don’t know what we would do without the dexcom. Try the back of the arm. That’s where we have found it works best. We rarely have problems. Also Dexcom will send you stickers which help keep it on. My son plays ice hockey and the Dexcom stays intact and gives us readings throughout games and trainings. Also I have learned so much about type 1 from the readings. Good luck!

I know hydration plays a big part of the sensors failing as well. Another could be you received a bad batch of sensors. Can you check to see if they are from the same lot# . If so I’d report it as such and request replacements be sent ASAP.

Although I must say with my experience the arm works best, especially with little ones. It’s least likely to be disturbed as much as the tush. Especially with bath time. How on earth do you tell a 3 yr old no baths?! Personally I’d try the arm. :pray: Especially with you being in the medical field, you know where to find good SQ areas! Diabetes is a personal disease. What works for some, won’t for others. Yes I know there are placement guidelines, but each body is different. Not to mention circumstances. Unfortunately, there is a lot of trial and error till you find what works for you and your warrior!

I signed up just to comment on this post. My 3 year old son is also newly diagnosed T1D. We also got the Dexcom G6 hoping to enjoy some peace of mind but haven’t quite gotten there yet. We’ve had the G6 for about 2 months, and only one sensor has lasted the full 10 days. It’s a struggle because he’s pretty scared of having the sensor put on! We haven’t replaced our transmitter yet, and I was also hoping that maybe a new transmitter could help with our issues. Here are some things we’ve done to try and prolong the time in between sensor replacements.

We have the G6 receiver, as well as 2 cell phones that are set up to receive the data. These two tricks have worked with varying results.

  1. Turn off receiver, turn off bluetooth on connected phones (I sometimes reboot the phones as well). Leave off for 15 minutes. Turn back on, wait the 30 minutes while the devices see if they can re-connect.
  2. We take a picture of the labels on the transmitters and sensors before we put them on him. I’ve re-entered the sensor number as if I’m putting on a new sensor to see if it re-connects. When this works, it re-sets the replacement date back to 10 days, so I’ll make a note to change it out earlier if I’m worried about the site integrity.

We haven’t tried putting it on his arm yet (did not work well on his stomach, we’re putting it on his butt), but might do that next.
If anyone has any other suggestions, I’m all ears! Right now we’ve been stuck in an endless re-calibration loop for the last day and a half. Time to get back on the phone with Dexcom…

Hello, My daughter has the CGM and it is great but it can be a pain. My daughter plays sports and loves to swim. a lot of the time if the sensor fails it will happen within the first 24 hours (that’s usually when you know it’s the site or sensor). Also my advice, putting a sensor on before/after close to bath time is not a good idea. For some reason ours always fails too. If AFTER a bath - rule of thumb wait a hour. If your child a true bath taker (arms or even thighs are a better place rather than bottom) this also helps at night time so when they toss and turn it doesn’t cause friction etc… the back area gets easier when they are older because most will switch to showers. Also, when applying the sensor with that applicator apply a little bit of pressure (I wipe the inside with alcohol again) and of course wipe down the transmitter with alcohol to make sure everything is sterile and a clear message can be allowed (I swear the smallest debris can cause it to not register)… most importantly put in the new sensor code. Best of luck, and soon you will find your own way doing things!

That’s a lot of failed sensors, how frustrating.
My daughter is 4 and we have been using the G6 for 4 months, we almost always get the full 10 days.
Try the back of the arm. It’s the only place we use, and she’s a little peanut as well.

Hi! Thanks for the tip! We will definitely try that the next time we have sensor issues. I ended up calling Dexcom and told them I wasn’t going to use the system until they gave us a new transmitter. That seemed to work and they did send a new one. We got a lot of suggestions to place on the arm so we did and so far it’s worked well. He seemed to tolerate it a lot better too or maybe after 7 times he’s gotten used to it. In my search for solutions I’ve talked with others that said they kept having sensor issues and once they replaced the transmitter the issue resolved. We are also going to try no baths the day we replace the sensor. I also talked with medical staff at Dexcom that told me to pinch the skin up where you plan to place the sensor, press the sensor applicator down and gently pull back slightly and then press the button. I’ve noticed that really decreased bleeding at the site. I think in our attempt to be quick we apply too much pressure on the applicator and it might go in too deep. One more tip from Dexcom was NOT to calibrate. Yes that is what they told me. You can check accuracy with a finger stick and if it’s within the 30% range then leave it alone. I was told the G6 doesn’t need calibration unless it asks. They said not to calibrate within the first 3 hrs and it give it a good amount of time to warm up even more than the 2 hrs. We were calibrating right away and they said it was likely confusing the sensor. So far it’s been within range and we haven’t calibrated. Just wanted to share what I’ve learned! Good luck.

Hello there! I am sorry to hear you are having so much trouble. The Dexcom can be a great device once you get the hang of it. My daughter just turned 5 but she was diagnosed at 3 as well. We have been using the Dexcom since she was 3 and have had great success. I would suggest different placement. My daughter loves it on the back of her arms. Our sensors last the longest here since they stay dry during bath and have the least chance of getting bonked there. We also always use skin tac under the sensor and place an overlay patch over the sensor. With all this, we get the most mileage. One other suggestion I have is to make sure you wait at least 15 minutes before starting a new sensor. If you do not, it will fail during warm-up. Best of luck to you! You will absolutely love it once you get past these hurdles!

My daughter is 9 and newly diagnosed. We got the in February. Since we got it we’ve had issues and calling tech support is stressful. We still don’t get a full 10 days use out of it but it is getting better. We use to place it on her lower back but never got good readings, error messages, etc.
A technician I had spoken with told me that I was over calibrating the sensor or that my daughter’s lower back may be too skinny to get enough fluid for a good reading in the sensor. My daughter is a little skinny so I took his advice and changed the site to her tummy. We got much better reading all within the 20% range as stated.
It took some coaxing for us to even touch her stomach but once we got it there it things got a little better. I don’t trust the G6 100% but it does help letting us see what foods spike her and if she is nearing a low when active.


Our son was diagnosed last year at 4 years and we have run into some of the same issues as we have navigated the Dexcom. We find that the buttocks and belly are the worst areas (although the area recommended by Dexcom) because of the lean nature of toddlers in the belly and he simply just bumps it a ton in the buttocks. We use his arms and legs and have had very little issue. He swims, bathes daily, plays soccer etc. without issue. If the sensor looks like it’s on it’s last leg with adhesive we will wrap the arm or leg for baths or swimming.

Dexcom will still replace sensors that don’t last the full 10 days if you use sites other than their listed ones.

Good luck!


I have to say that I’m shocked–I used the G4 for four years and I don’t think I had a sensor fail once, except when I was wearing one on my back and accidentally pulled it out when I sat down on a chair. Your experience with the G6 sounds frighteningly close my experience with the Medtronic Guardian.

I wonder whether the FDA put in some regulation between the G4, on the one hand, and the G6/Medtronic units, on the other, that requires the sensor to report that it needs replacement under certain conditions.

Hi Samantha @sjkiesow, maybe I should be thankful that because of insufficient manufacturing capacity I have not been able to upgrade from the G5 [seven day sensor life] to the G6. I’ve never had a sensor failure with the G5 and thankfully, because of Medicare snafus on order refill, I’ve been able to restart old sensors and get 14+ days use.
True, I’m 75 years older than your son but I’m slender [BMI >20] and I have loads of scar tissue from 60+ years of insulin MDI injections and pump infusions. What I do is carefully and deliberately select my sensor site and insert it as well as the Practitioner did for your son’s first.

I have complained several times to Dexcom about the G6 not lasting the 10 days, (though I have never had an issue with it lasting less than a day). When I’ve called they said the G6 is particularly tricky with skinny people/kids. No matter what you need an adhesive to hold it in place like the Giff Grips (I know Dexcom has their own that works well. You can ask for it) and make sure the sensor is never obstructed (adhesive should go around sensor.

I would never have my 6 year old bathe right after installing a Dexcom. I give him the night off those days and let him watch 10 minutes of TV while I do the insertion of either that or pump.

My skinny 12 year old daughter has been using the G6 since October 2018. It’s a love/hate relationship! I have had to get numerous sensors replaced for various reasons but when they are working well they are very accurate and do last the full 10 days. She wears the Dex in her arm or lower back/butt. It does get easier as you figure out what works best. A few things that I have learned.

(1) Placement - For my daughter, her arms work best and get the most accurate reads. She’s too skinny for the stomach to be comfortable. The lower back/butt works but sometimes has some issues. When placed in her back, I may see some erratic readings for the first 24 hours where the graph doesn’t have the same curve that you expect. However, it usually sorts itself out and is very accurate after the initial 24 hours.

(2) Insertion - I always pinch and plump up the fat of the area where I insert. I raise the top end of the applicator up a little and try not to press down too hard on the orange button. She is skinny and if I don’t do this she is more likely to get a bleeder. Not all bleeders mean the sensor needs to be replaced. If there is minimal blood it will usually still give an accurate read. So unless it’s a lot of blood or it hurts, I will usually leave the sensor in.

(3) Don’t overcalibrate - I usually never calibrate. The only time I will calibrate is if it is in the initial 24 hours after insertion and the graph looks off and the finger prick is really different. And I will only do it twice in that 24 hour period. You also should only calibrate when your child’s BG is steady and not rising or falling. Since the Dex has a lag time, if your child’s BG is on the rise or fall and you calibrate with the number from the finger prick, you will actually be giving the Dex the wrong information which will confuse it.

(4) Compression false urgent lows - My daughter has had a number of false urgent lows in the middle of the night. I believe these are “compression” lows that are caused when she is lying on her Dex. Usually when she rolls over off her Dex the readings will go back to normal. However, sometimes these can lead to sensor errors where it needs to reboot itself. The first time this happened, I thought all the alarms going off were real, was ready with a snack, only to take a finger prick and realize it was a false alarm. Now I know better - that you don’t go from 100 to 39 in 5 minutes while sleeping. When you call technical support, they will tell you to replace the sensor, send you a new one, and never give you any explanation. However, I have realized that after these compression false urgent lows, the sensor still works fine and doesn’t actually need to be replaced.

It can be a very frustrating experience, but at the end of the day the pros outweigh the cons, and I would still recommend the G6. When the sensor is behaving, the numbers are so accurate and provide so much peace of mind as a parent.

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I’m the mother of a 2 year old T1D diagnosed at just 9 months old she started using the g5 sensor at 11 months old and the g6 for the past 6 months we’ve always put it on her lower back alternating sides we do have are occasional sensor fails and sometimes she bleeds or it falls off early which is frustrating and also heartbreaking but 9 time out of 10 it works perfectly in this spot. I also tent her skin when inserting I wish you better luck with your little one.