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Is Your Diabetic Child Prepared for a School Emergency?

Discussion in 'School and Daycare' started by Ellen, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    In a thread above about meters and school, someone mentioned lockdown. Here's a recent article from Diabetes Health and an important link. When creating a 504 plan, keep these things in mind about why your child must be able to carry meter, insulin, food etc. on the person - not simply locked up in a nurse's office. Of course we hope none of this is ever necessary.


    http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2007/06/20/5241.html

    Is Your Diabetic Child Prepared for a School Emergency?

    Teri Lemke
    20 June 2007

    These days, it doesn't take much imagination to envision a weapon, bomb, chemical, or biological threat occurring at school. Such a situation, although unlikely, is a possibility in today's world. Consequently, parents must consider whether their diabetic child is properly prepared for a crisis. An examination of your child's school emergency plan may be well worth your time.

    Schools emergency plans differ based on individual school layouts. Most follow a general guide and then tailor it to their specific needs. Depending on the type of emergency, school and classroom doors may be locked, or everyone may be taken to the gymnasium or cafeteria (where many schools store an emergency cache). According to your school's plan, is staff clearly identified to assist your child in such an event?

    If you are fortunate enough to have a school nurse, much of the responsibility in an emergency falls on him or her. According to Sarah Butler, RN, MSN, CDE, NCSN, of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), "the role of the school nurse is to work with teachers to create an Emergency Care Plan. Such a plan for an elementary or middle school child would recommend that parents supply a juice box or a snack in the classroom. High school students should carry a snack or juice."

    A new program called H.A.N.D.S. (Helping Administer to the Needs of The Student with Diabetes at School), created by NASN, addresses how to handle such situations, says Butler. These emergency plans may be critical if your child is locked in a classroom for any length of time. Emotional distress alone may impact your child's blood sugar in such circumstances.

    In an evacuation situation, school nurses are trained to carry an emergency backpack with health paperwork and supplies. Many schools practice for such situations, often timing themselves to see how much they can gather together on short notice. When there is no nurse on site, however, teachers and children must be prepared to contend with a crisis.

    Unfortunately, staff members may be overwhelmed with responsibilities in an emergency, leaving them unable to reach your child with a snack or help manage a hypoglycemic episode. Moreover, if the regular staff happens to be absent on the day of an emergency, the substitute teachers and nurses could be unfamiliar with the emergency protocols and procedures. Under such circumstances, children may have to fall back on their own resources.

    During an evacuation, is your child prepared to be delayed for hours on a bus? According to the National Association for Pupil Transportation, glucose tabs are not among the first-aid items routinely stored on school buses. What about walking more than a mile to a safe house? In most cases, the school nurse would carry necessary items. However, would those supplies be sufficient if children were detained for a long period?

    The bottom line is that in the event of an emergency, children with diabetes are probably safest if they're prepared to tend to their own needs. A frequent inventory of your child's backpack for necessary supplies and food is important. But even this becomes problematic if children are too young or are not allowed to take their backpacks with them during an evacuation.

    So if your school plan contains only vague directives which fall short of a definitive plan for children with diabetes, you may want to address the issue before your child is involved in an emergency situation. For more information about H.A.N.D.S., go to the National Association of School Nurses website at http://www.nasn.org/Default.aspx?tabid=411.
     
  2. jules12

    jules12 Approved members

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    Ellen - Thanks for posting this. This is one area I had not thought about and will definitely be putting a plan into place.
     
  3. 3js

    3js Approved members

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    thx for posting this. in our province the general rule is that all meds be kept in the office.

    but since kindergarten i have insisted that ONLY back up supplies be kept there. day to day stuff is kept ON HIS PERSON,or BACKPACK. i just do not trust other people to be thinking about my child`s medical needs. he also has a cell phone (also taboo) in his knapsack. i have been approached the odd time thru the years about this, but i don`t think they really want to deal with me over it, lol. and that suits me fine.

    i really believe this is something every parent should insist upon. in the heat of the moment, will someone else really be thinking about your kid- or dealing with the safety of the class as a whole?

    plus why should our kids be chasing down staff to get their stuff? they have enough hassle testing ect. during the school day.

    i am working on a kit to go in the big classroom emerg bag, but in case he`s separated from it somehow, i want him to have his own supplies.
     
  4. sevans

    sevans Approved members

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    Thanks for posting this, b/c it has caused me to think about changes that I need to make to my son's routine. Everything at school is locked up in the nurses office or the office when the nurse is not there. I have never thought about what should happen during a lockdown or bus breakdown even if he is on the bus for only about 20 minutes.
     
  5. nantomsuethom

    nantomsuethom Approved members

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    What I put together with the 2 parents at the school that I work at:
    The kids have what looks like a lunch box. In the "kit" we put a meter, lancets, test strips, glucose tabs, their picture and their symptoms and what to do for highs and lows. They are both pumpers so their extra insulin is kept in the clinic. They also have glucose tabs and lots of cheese crackers in the classroom.
    They take this "kit" everywhere they go in school - p.e., music, art, lunch (last year - to recess) or if they are visiting another classroom. At the begining of the year they would forget it occassionally but it is now a habit to grab it on the way out the door.
     
  6. dejahthoris

    dejahthoris Approved members

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    This should be on Stickies!
     
  7. Kimby

    Kimby Approved members

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    A year ago, the unthinkable happened at a local middle school. A student shot another student in the hallway between classes. The school obviously went into lock down pulling students out of the halls and into any safe classroom. Diabetics ended up in classrooms they don't typically attend. There weren't any diabetic incidents, but there obviously could have been! EVERY classroom in the building now has smartees in their emergency kit. Our city has been recognized for its low crime rate. It can happen anywhere!
     
  8. carecope

    carecope Approved members

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    I agree, it is up to us as parents to take extra precaution and time to explain the way the world currently is to our adorable children. I couldn't imagine the guilt I would possess if something were to happen where even my words could have helped.
     
  9. jbmom1b2g

    jbmom1b2g Approved members

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    I have been talking with our nurse about a lockdown at our school. While my DD's insulin is in the fridge in the nurses office I am going to be getting the teacher a glucometer. But as someone stated if they are in the hall when lock down takes place they get pulled into the closest room. Our school has put into place where all the teachers get a red folder with all the kids who have special needs ie diabetes and peanut allergies. They will also be getting some I am sure glucose tabs for each room. The teachers will also have food in thier class room if they are in the room longer then expected.
    We had a lock down 2 yrs ago when a guy down the street locked himself in his ex's house to try to kill her and ended up killing himself. It was pretty scary.
     
  10. jules12

    jules12 Approved members

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    Lock downs are important to think about -- but emergency plans need to be thought through as well- we live in a tornado area and last year the kids had to go to the "designated area" for over an hour - in the middle of lunch - lunches were left on the table. My ds's teacher was awesome - not only did she remember he was suppose to take his backpack but she had already packed a bag of snacks for the entire class so he wouldn't be the only snacking if needed.
     

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