I often had the question: How did you know your son had diabetes? I didn’t. Even as a healthcare provider Type 1 diabetes was not the first thing in my mind. Mostly because I am a mom before I am a nurse practitioner. Quincy did have most of the symptoms when I look back right before diagnosis. And because I am a practitioner I knew something was wrong and I had him into the clinic quickly. He was never in diabetic ketoacidosis upon diagnosis. So As a parent how do you know.
First If you think something is wrong with your child, take your child into your doctor. Nothing you can read here or anywhere else will substitute what a good provider can do when seeing your child and running some lab work.
Secondly the main symptoms of type 1 diabetes (or diabetes in general) is extreme thirst, extreme fatigue (more than you would see with a growth spurt), extreme hunger but also weight loss, a fruity breath smell or loss of consciousness. The later are later symptoms and are indicative of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is when the body is breaking down large amounts of protein to make fuel and in turn makes the blood more acidic. This can render a person unconscious and without health care death.
If your child has any of the milder symptoms thirst or hunger that cannot be satisfied, fatigue or weight loss then take your child to the doctor. the symptoms could be diabetes or a number of other diagnoses.