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From New Jersey, USA:

We are planing to invite our Godchild from Germany to visit us. He is 10 years old and has Type 1 diabetes. How will we deal with the time difference (6 hours) regarding injections? In case of an emergency, how well prepared are airlines for diabetes?


Usually 6 hours is too much to change the insulin schedule in one day. It is usually preferable to change the daily schedule by 1-2 hours each day until the child is on the new time zone schedule. It is usually best to try to keep the spacing between meals as close to normal as possible, but to just start the day at a different time. Of course the child has to be prepared for an unexpected high or low during these days of readjustment.

I doubt that any airline would take the responsibility of giving an insulin injection to a child in flight, though you could check with airlines that fly between Germany and the USA. You could try to arrange the flight so the child is not due for a shot on the flight, but you need to have some emergency plans if the flight is delayed or an unexpected stopover is made.

It is usually best not to rely on airline food as it often does not come at the right time and may not be suitable for the child's meal plan. It might be best just for the parents to send the child with some sandwiches and snacks and ask the airline if the stewardesses can remind him what time he needs to eat. "Diabetic" meals on airlines are often just low salt and low fat, but may not contain the right amount of carbohydrate.

The parents might want to try to arrange for the child to fly with an adult they know. It might be too big a responsibility for some 10 year olds. On the other hand, some 10 year olds are capable of watching their meal plan and giving their own insulin.


Original posting 21 Sep 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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