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Childcare and starting pre-school

Starting nursery or pre-school is a big step for you and your child, but having type 1 diabetes shouldn’t stop them enjoying nursery or pre-school to the full.
Content last reviewed and updated: 15.08.2023

A toddler with type 1 diabetes playing with toys at nursery

Starting nursery or pre-school with type 1 diabetes

There’s no reason why your child can’t enjoy nursery or pre-school, just like other children. Your Diabetes Healthcare Team and the nursery or pre-school will be able to help you make sure everything is in place for your child to have a healthy and happy time.

Policies and training

Nurseries and pre-schools should have the following in place:

A medical conditions policy

This outlines how the nursery or pre-school supports children with medical needs. The policy should help you, the nursery or pre-school and your child’s Diabetes Healthcare Team to put together a plan to manage your child’s type 1. It should include details like; what type 1 diabetes is and how it is managed, how to administer insulin and who can do it, a meal plan (if needed) and how to deal with hypos and who to contact in an emergency. For more details view the Statutory Guidance for England.

Trained staff

Nurseries and pre-schools should have staff who are trained in how to look after a child with type 1 diabetes. This training can be provided by a Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse and should be included in their medical conditions policy.

Eating and drinking at nursery and pre-school

Most nurseries and pre-schools work to provide nutritionally balanced meals for children, which your child can eat too. However, you will need to work with the nursery or pre-school on a meal plan, so that the member of staff giving your child insulin knows how much carbohydrate is in their meal and how much insulin they will need.

Childminders and babysitters

Childminders are governed by Ofsted and have to follow the same guidelines as nurseries when it comes to looking after a young child with type 1 diabetes. This includes having a policy in place and devising a care plan along with you and your child’s Diabetes Healthcare Team.

Babysitters are more casual childcare and are often friends and family who look after children occasionally. It’s important that they know how to look after your child and their type 1, even just for a few hours, and know what to do in an emergency.

Use our quick guide and hypos kit to help the person looking after your child know what to do.

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