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Low Blood Sugar: Emergency Care for a Child


Topic Overview

This information is for people who may help your child if your child is too weak or confused to treat low blood sugar. Make a copy for each of your child's caregivers.

  • Make sure the child can swallow. Give the child ½ teaspoon of water. If the child can swallow the water without choking or coughing:
    • Give him or her 4 oz of liquid (juice or soda pop) from the list of quick-sugar foods or glucose tabs or gel if available.
    • Wait 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Offer the child more quick-sugar food if he or she is feeling better but still has some symptoms of low blood sugar.
    • Check the child's blood sugar level using his or her blood sugar (glucose) meter if available.
    • Stay with the child until his or her blood sugar level is 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher.
    • Offer the child a snack (such as cheese and crackers or half of a sandwich).
    • If the child becomes more sleepy or seems to have no energy, call or other emergency services.
  • If the child is unconscious or unable to swallow:
    • Call for emergency care right away.
    • Make sure the child's airway is not blocked.
    • Give the child a shot of glucagon if one is available. See the slideshow about how to give a glucagon injectionClick here to see an illustration..
    • If emergency help has not arrived within 5 minutes and the child is unconscious, give another glucagon shot.
    • Stay with the child until emergency help comes.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerStephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last RevisedJuly 16, 2010

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