My youngest child, a non-diabetic child, is allowed to stay home at a younger age than my older diabetic child. She does not have a chronic illness to attend to while alone. But my type 1 child was not allowed that privilege until after he was 13 years old. Call it helicopter parenting, but he was not quite ready to attend to his low blood sugars without a responsible adult around. My main concern was that he needed to have very good awareness of his low blood sugars and how to treat them properly. He has always been able to notice a change in his blood sugars, but being able to treat his low blood sugars is a whole different animal. Once I started to feel that he had a solid grasp on this I began to let him stay home alone for short periods of time. I would run an errand, or stop by the grocery store. As I began to be more confident, my husband and I would venture out to the local restaurant for dinner. Now that he has earned our trust to stay home during the day without adults, he calls or texts me with issues with his blood sugar. He is now able to treat and care for his blood sugars for short periods of time. In turn this will eventually help him grow into an adult.
Each child is different. Some questions to help you determine when he or she can stay home are:
1. How mature is your child?
2. How does he or she recognize low blood sugars?
3. Is your child able to treat low blood sugars and follow up with a snack?
4. How far away will you be from the home?
Once you are satisfied with these key points, start with short trips from home. You should have a successful transition to leaving your child at home while feeling comfortable about the blood sugars.