I don't have a child with T1, but I am T1 myself and a parent. So I am the one who has to be sure that I am okay to drive my children where we need to go. I am sure it is scary; having kids are like watching little pieces of your heart run around outside of you. You can't insulate them or isolate them, but give them the tools they need (which you clearly already know by your concerned post :) ). I can only offer what I do in my routine.
I check my blood sugar 20 minutes before I leave. If it's under 100, I eat a couple of crackers. If it's low, I treat my low and eat a cracker or two (maybe some cheese). Then I test 15 minutes later and make sure I am in range. I also keep glucose tabs on my keychain, (just bought one from Wal-Mart that holds 4), I have glucose tabs in my purse, car and a snack sack that I keep next to me in the passenger seat that also contains crackers, granola bars and a bottle of liquid glucose drink. I check my blood sugar every time I drive (unless it's been a short period of time since I last tested and was above 100).
You use more strips, but it's a must. You might want to ask his doc to factor this into his monthly prescription. CGM are great. But I am guessing that they are worried that as a teenager he might be inclined to go by the number on the CGM and not test before driving, which would be worrisome. But the CGMs are great for trends and alerting him that it is coming down while driving which is something that he might not be aware of, but the CGM picks up on.
Thank you all for your comments.... he does "feel" his lows and when he is on his bike he just eats a few tabs and goes on...and has done well so far w/biking... Hopefully driving will be as easy and he will always feel his lows.
I have a simple answer to your concern about your son going low while driving ... I never leave the house without an individual bottle of coke or pepsi sometimes that bottle lasts me all week or sometimes 20 minutes .... I've noticed that as soon as the soda touches your mouth you start to feel relief and it's very convenient because if you start to feel low while driving all you have to do is reach for your bottle of soda that is sitting in your cars cup holder .... And I always keep a bag of jelly beans in my glove compartment they work just as well as the glucose tabs ..... I've had diabetes since 10!and I've never had any problems with driving because in all these years I have never left the house with some form of fast acting sugar .... Licorice and milk is also good when low ....and I'm now 32 and a mom of a 4 year old who is always trying to eat my goodies
Ive been T1 D since 9 years old. Started driving at 15. Its second nature. Ive driven cross counrty and 2k mile trips alone. Its really no big deal. Ive always kept candy in the car. It used to be snickers in the glovebox in the early 90s. That didnt work too well. They always seemed to melt. None the less it treated lows.
I keep a big bag of smarties in the drivers side dorr. I just pull one out and snack away if need be. There is a stash of LBS stuff in the trunk so If I get really low I can pull over.
If your super worried (point of this thread right?) makes sure hes low sensitive and possible think about a CGMS for him. Also, you might think about having him test before he drives. Although, a single test wont tell you the trend, but it might put your mind at ease. Also, let me say, Ive been driving for 20+ years now as a T1D and never had an accident due to LBS or any other D reason.
He is now where he can drive w/ us in the car.. on a permit. He has also had 2 lows...Not while driving...thank God where he did not have warning.... one he even went unconcious and hit his head...and got a concussion and hurt his knee badly and now is going to PT for it. Lately he just tests and east something before driving and has tabs avail... so far so good...but I can't say I am fully relaxed... might try the soda thing... easy to grab..fast acting.... thank you all
Better than soda, try treetop apple juice cans. They are 20 carbs for a 7oz can and have fructose which the body breaks down faster than corn syrup (how soda is sweetened). The cans come in a 6 pack and can be found at most grocery stores.
I might look into a CGMS if hes having undetected lows like that. The Dexcom CGMS has helped me a ton in my D management.
I was diagnosed about 8 or 9 months before I first got my permit when I was 16, my parents were somewhat nervous at first but after a while they got used to me driving.
But just like Danny and others here say, have him check his BG every time before he begins to drive.
Always keep candy or some sort of sugar very close by, if he gets low, have him bring the levels back up before he continues the drive
Its ok to test as long as the car is stopped, like if stuck at a long red light where there is enough time, I've caught lows during these times.
The very last thing anybody wants is any of us turning into a hypoglycemic madman behind the wheel, been there, done that, once...... Long story, thank god I didn't kill anybody that night, that was almost 6 years ago now.
More advice as far as cars go, its best you have him drive something that is slow and underpowered, let him get some driving experience before you ever let him behind the wheel of a more serious real car. A Honda, Toyota, or anything else that is slow is a great place to start a new driver off with, first car I ever drove was a 2000 Civic Manual trans, I started on stick shift from the very start.
Also, teach him to check all the fluid levels, oil, coolant, AT trans fluid if applicable. I've known of a number of cases where new drivers cooked engines on older aging cars by not checking up on things under the hood, leaks and such can begin in just a matter of years of the car's age. Ruining a motor is a lot easier than it sounds. Also on a cold morning or day, teach him to start the engine first and let it run for at least 30 seconds, this is a good time to get the BG test completed. Crankshaft and Cam bearings do not like being put under load at all while cold, and if hes in a hurry, let it run for at least 5 SECONDS! Throwing the engine under load before it gets up to full oil pressure can destroy the head within a matter of months or years, it makes me just cringe when I see somebody do that somewhere.
Thats about it though, best of luck to you're son's new adventures of driving :)
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