Diabetes: High or Low Blood Sugar in Young Children

Diabetes: High or Low Blood Sugar in Young Children


Even if you're careful and do all the right things, your child can have problems with low or high blood sugar. Teach your child to be aware of the symptoms and what to do if they occur.

Symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Sweating.
  • Feeling weak and hungry.

But your child's symptoms may be different.

Low blood sugar happens quickly. A person can get low blood sugar within minutes after exercise or after taking insulin without eating enough.

Symptoms of high blood sugar include:

  • Feeling very thirsty.
  • Passing urine more often than usual.

High blood sugar usually develops slowly over hours or days.

Both low and high blood sugar can cause problems and need to be treated. Your doctor will suggest how often to test your child's blood sugar.

Symptoms in very young children

Young children with diabetes aren't able to recognize when their blood sugar level is high or low and then tell an adult. And sometimes it's even hard for a parent to tell the difference.

A very young child with high or low blood sugar may:

  • Be cranky or angry.
  • Cry.
  • Look pale.
  • Be nervous or shaky.
  • Stare off or not respond when touched or spoken to.
  • Have dark urine with a strong sweet odour.
  • Be drowsy or hard to wake up.

When you see changes in your child, do a home blood sugar test. It will show the actual blood sugar level, so you don't have to guess.


Current as of: March 1, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Stephen LaFranchi MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology