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Continuous Glucose Monitors and Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Parents share pros and cons of CGM for young children living with T1D

What are the pros and cons of young children living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) using Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM)?  That question was addressed in a recent article published online in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

Fifty-five parents of children living with T1D for at least six months while between the ages of 1-8 years old, were asked about their personal experiences with a CGM.

Some of the benefits described by the parents included less worry about fluctuating blood sugars, improved parental sleep, increased sense of safety with children who cannot recognize or express symptoms of low and/or high blood glucose and feeling more comfortable leaving their children in the care of others. 

Reported challenges include children having to wear multiple devices on their small bodies, frequent alarms and alerts, data gaps due to lost signals, skin and adhesive issues and difficulty interpreting the information generated by the devices.

Some parents felt the challenges outweighed potential benefits, so their children stopped using a CGM.

“I think there are more pros than cons for most children,” said Leslie Soyka, Division Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE). “It provides a lot more blood glucose data and allows the parents to see trends which helps with decision making.” 

The pediatric diabetes care team at UMass Memorial DCOE works with many young children who do not have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) recognition, which increases their risk of severe hypoglycemia.

“Many parents fear their children will have hypoglycemia overnight or when they are not with the child,” said Soyka.  “The additional monitoring and alerts provided by a CGM can allow parents to have less fear when their child is not with them and sleep better at night.”

She added, “Like any device, a CGM is not perfect and it may take some trouble-shooting to get the device to work properly. That said, we find that children adapt to pretty much anything and most end up wearing a continuous glucose monitor without any difficulty.

Cheryl Barry, RN, MS, CDCES, Manager of Diabetes Education at UMass DCOE points out, “From a care team perspective, it allows us to assess their overall control and not just specific points in time; making it easier to make adjustments in treatment programs.”

Dr. Soyka agrees, “As a provider, I find that the information provided by the CGM is very helpful in guiding recommendations that I provide to the family.”

The full article, titled “Benefits and Barriers of Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Young Children with Type 1 Diabetes” can be found here.

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