Finding a child sitter

Hi everyone,
I have an almost 8 year old son who has been diagnosed for 5 years. He is now on the pump and participating in his diabetes management. Up until now his grandparents and school have been the only ones to watch him, we have never had a “baby sitter”. Thus is quite confining and want to find a sitter for him for date nights etc…How have others found a sitter? This seems rather daunting. Thanks!

Hi Kerlly,

I’m not looking for a sitter but I do have a suggestion. Primarily, you ,ust find a responsible individual who will pay attention to your son, be observant.

Be fairly complete in how you give directions; what to do when your son is acting differently - tell the sitter his usual high and low behavior and symptoms, the amount of exercise, and when and what for meals. What I’m trying to say, please let your son live a normal life [what ever “normal” is these days] and live life. Don’t isolate him.

I was a little older when diagnosed, but I can tell you that there wasn’t much different in how I was treated in the family than my six brothers and sisters who did not have diabetes. We ate the same foods, played similar sports and got into whatever trouble kids would encounter. And somehow, I’ve managed to have a full, active and complete 74 years - true, I had no more than a couple of blood tests a year and learned to pay attention to how I felt.

Dennis, thank you for your response, it is nice to hear about peoples experiences.
Our son is not isolated and plays in the neighborhood with friends, goes to camp, plays soccer. The issue is is that a typical 16 year old high school student is probably not the best choice for a caregiver to a child with diabetes. I am asking for feedback as to how parents find a child sitter. Any suggestions are very much appreciated.

We worried about this, too. I spent some time trying to find a “safe sitter” (an organized effort to help families find trained sitters, often who have T1D themselves), also through the endo’s and pediatrician’s offices, and by asking friends who worked in the medical field, but we didn’t find anyone through those methods. The next step would have been to post ads at the local college’s nursing school, but we never got to that point.

What we ended up doing is finding someone responsible, whose judgment we trusted (and yes, older than your average teenager – our sitters tend to be graduate students and preschool teachers who are looking to earn some extra money), and training them ourselves. In one case, our CDE was able to meet with the sitter and two of our daughter’s teachers to conduct the training, which was awesome. But basically, we figured if we could be taught, then other people could, too. And like Dennis suggested, we leave very detailed instructions.

We’ve also found there is more knowledge out there than we might have thought. One random summer camp counselor one day said our daughter “looked low” so she pulled her out of the pool to check her sugar. She was low, she gave her juice, it was all good, and I heard this story only when I came to pick her up that afternoon. So, um, yes, you bet I asked her if she babysat. She said yes, and I got her phone number. :). Another woman takes care of her grandmother, who has T2D, and is comfortable giving injections for that reason. Another has a niece with T1D, and though she hadn’t ever helped care for her, she was motivated to learn.

So anyway, I would encourage you to go for it. It’s so important to take time for you, and it’s so easy to have the sitter text you a bedtime blood sugar number if that helps. Let me know if I can answer any other questions, and I hope you find someone!

I just want to throw a possibility out there. I know caregivers to a child or parent with medical issues can apply for respite care for a few hours a week. I’m not sure if this would apply for being a parent to a Type 1 child, but you might want to look into this with your local Department of Human Services (you can probably find them online or in the blue pages section of the phone book). If it’s approved, you may be able to request someone who has some experience with diabetes, or at least someone who has the aptitude to learn what would be needed. Do you use a CGM system with him? I think both Enlite and Dexcom now have remote options that send live CGM readings to a cell phone that you can keep an eye on. If that option doesn’t work, check local Home Health Care agencies to see what options they might have. Some are better than others, so ask for plenty of references and maybe speak to a couple of those people in advance to see what they think.


Today the Beyond Type One site called “safesittings” had a piece about sitters for type one children that attempts to match families with experienced teen sitters who themselves are T1D. The link is

I don’t know anything about this so I just offering this as a possible resource.