Need input RE: Pros and Cons of Pump Holiday at Sleepaway Camp

My 10 YO T1D (dx March 2011) has been on the pump most of the last 3 years. He’s been to diabetes day camp twice and diabetes sleepaway camp (1 week) and he’s nearly 100% self-sufficient (sans reminders) with the pump.

He is going to 1 month of regular sleepaway camp out of state this summer. The camp is very experienced with T1D and we’ve been in touch with another T1D family who have been successful there. My son brought up the possibility of going back on shots (lantus/novolog) for the month so he does not have to worry about pump sites or wearing the pump. I am going to ask him to list the pros/cons and be part of the decision making with full information.

Assuming it’s feasible and safe, I’m open to it. There are obvious pros and cons from a parent’s perspective, and I’d like to have all pros and cons on the table for us to consider. I wonder if anyone else has grappled with this and has any thoughts to share.



first, I think it’s great that he wants to be involved with camp and it’ll probably be a great experience for him.

in my opinion and based on the millions of people with diabetes who depend on and are successful with MDI, it is both feasible and safe. btw, shots kept me alive for 20+ years before I switched to a pump.

I think it would be very tough for him switch to shots for the first time while at camp. I believe that he can try it while at home and in his comfortable surroundings. The pump will give you good starting points for basal and bolus calculations, but it is very different and a lot of adjusting needs to be done for a successful switch.

The pump adds complexity and a few failure points compared to shots, in my experience the biggest exposure is that a pump is a mechanism and if it fails (most likely due to physical damage or loss of a component) you need to have a backup plan on-hand to avoid DKA. That backup plan might be shots, but it could also be a “loaner” pump from your manufacturer. - or both.

Shots will be a new learning experience and, if you are both used to the pump, it could take a few weeks to become comfortable with and to get your best basal dose. I had a hard time with long lasting insulin - it’s either too much and I get too many lows, or it is way to low and I am correcting with shots too many times during the day. To further complicate this - he will probably be way more active at camp than at home. in my opinion, except for avoidance of water and physical damage, shots are no picnic (bad pun, sorry) and he’ll need to be comfortable carrying and pulling a pen out for a shot before every snack or meal.

if you don’t have it, please get a copy of “think like a pancreas” by Gary Scheiner and “pumping insulin” by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts, or enlist a CDE and try things out.

cheers good luck, and have a blast at camp!

Thanks for the reply and the ideas. I’ll take it into consideration