Children grow rapidly, and their bodies need glucose for normal development. At the same time, young children can have problems recognizing or communicating the symptoms of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Consequently, healthy glucose levels in children are usually higher than healthy glucose levels in adults. Different children have different needs; your child's health care provider can determine the best glucose levels for your child as he grows and develops. Elevated glucose levels could indicate a need for diabetic testing.
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Five and Younger
For children from birth to age 5, normal blood sugar targets are 100 to 200mg/dL. Fasting blood sugars should be near the low end of the range. Blood sugars after meals and before bedtime should be near the upper end of the range. If the blood sugar before bedtime is below 150mg/dL, your child's health care provider may recommend a bedtime snack and/or testing during the night.
Ages 5 to 11
For children who are between the ages of 5 and 11, normal blood sugar targets are 70 to 150mg/dL. Fasting blood sugars should be nearer to 70mg/dL. Blood sugar after meals and before bedtime should be near 150mg/dL. If the blood sugar before bedtime is below 120mg/dL, your child's doctor may recommend a bedtime snack and/or testing during the night.
Ages 12 and Older
For a child who is 12 or older, healthy glucose levels are essentially the same as those of adults: near 70 mg/dL when fasting and 150 mg/dL after meals. If the blood sugar before bedtime is below 100 mg/dL, ask your child's doctor about a bedtime snack or testing during the night.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Boys Town Pediatrics: Blood Glucose Monitoring
- Children With Diabetes: Diabetes Basics
- American Diabetes Association: Diabetes in Infants and Toddlers
- Planet D: American Diabetes Association Website for Kids
- Kids Online: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
- Islets of Hope: Special Care Tips for Diabetic Children