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We’re about to hit my son’s 3 year anniversary of having Type 1 Diabetes and one of the most asked question I always see in my Type 1 Diabetes Parent Groups are “What’s a good bag for my kid to carry their diabetes essentials in?”. As us Type 1 Diabetes parents know, there is a lot of stuff for your kid to carry around – whether your child uses an insulin pen or an insulin pen. Even if kids aren’t going to regular schools and camps right now, there is a lot of Diabetes essentials. DAILY: You will need a finger pricker, test strips (even if your child is on a Dexcom CGM), a pen or an insulin vial or two (in case one goes bad), fast acting sugars for lows, syringes in case you need to inject insulin, alcohol pads to wipe down skin, either Glucagon or Baqsimi (for emergencies), and extra insulin pump supplies in case a pump goes bad or expires). If you have room, carrying the Calorie King book, a water bottle, a snack with some protein – helps to steady blood sugars, and extra tape for Dexcom or your insulin pump.
For my kid, we’ve done it a few ways. There are times that my son may go out quickly with just his phone, PDM for his insulin pump and a fast acting sugar, but most of the time, he carries the bare minimum that I mention below in a small pouch. You don’t want them to carry around a huge amount of supplies, however that changes if you are going on vacation of course. But even with the bare essentials, some kind of a backpack is going to be needed.
DAILY SUPPLIES: Make sure you have your insulin, a finger pricker (even if you have a Dexcom GGM for your child) – we love the Genteel Gentle Lancing Device, test strips, a glucose meter, extra needles or syringes if you need to use insulin out of the pen or vial, tape for the insulin pump or Dexcom, extra pump or two, low supplies (juice, GoGoSqueeZ, glucose tabs, fruit snacks, candy – fast sugars), alcohol pads, hand sanitizer, and either Glucagon or Baqsimi (for emergencies). I always send a water bottle out with my child, especially in the heat. Here’s our pouch for essentials. This goes in his bag to school, to friend’s houses, to relatives, if we go out for the day, if we go to the supermarket. I also check to make sure I am fully stocked.
Right now, we put it into a small insulated lunch bag and then place it a backpack. We do this because it has to go to school and back and then on the weekends, I can place it into a clear backpack or a different bag.
This post is about some different bags that may work.
But first, don’t forget to keep your opened Insulin room temperature!
Frio Insulin Cooling Wallet
We keep my son’s opened insulin in a Frio Cooling Wallet bag. When it’s hot out, I wet the frio insert and then put it into the frio bag to keep it at room temperature (once an insulin vial is opened, it is good for 30 days). I usually have two vials of insulin open at once (my son uses an Omnipod Insulin pump), in case one of the vials goes bad.
I would recommend getting one to hold your insulin pen and your lantus pen or have two if you are a frequent traveler.
Get the Frio here (it’s FSA and HSA eligible) https://rstyle.me/+BdN3eTUuBPpWUeoDB9n5ng or here https://amzn.to/390wIuc
Holding Essential Supplies
I would try to keep all the supplies together in a pouch and then put in a backpack. You can use a large ziploc gallon bag or a zippered bag. We are currently using the Planetbox Shuttle Carry Bag ($8.95) because I had it in the house. Here are some other choices.
This pouch looks terrific.
Get it here: https://amzn.to/3eOLSnT
Or look at this one. Comes in a pack for 3 for $18.49.
Get it here: https://rstyle.me/+mYNlAQWda8m8xyLkSBjGQ
Any insulated lunch box may work also. I take that on vacation to keep things from being broken (in a suitcase).
We like clear backpacks because you can take them into a sporting events or concert stadiums and comply with their rules (provided your county is in a stage that would have an event like that).
We like this bag from Urban Outfitters – https://rstyle.me/+-mMXnJ2ToeTBF5ERAHCkMQ
A lot of kids like a sling bag to carry around their diabetes supplies. It’s compact and most kids are used to seeing other kids carry one around. Most kids with diabetes don’t want to call attention to themselves, but the fact is they need to have their supplies on hand with them.
Here’s a good one that has room to carry the essentials I mentioned above. https://amzn.to/30G7H3F
Or another choice: https://amzn.to/32VyUC6
Waist Packs AKA Fanny Packs
Laugh if you must, but these are great for kids to carry their pump, phone (or Dexcom receiver) and a small fast acting sugar snack. Kids will still have to carry the essentials I mentioned above in a backpack, but this is a good way to quickly be able to grab a phone to see a blood sugar reading or to check their insulin pump. Or if your child is not on a pump, they could carry their insulin pen, a meter and test strips + a fast acting sugar in a fanny pack. Smaller kids may prefer the Spibelt, but it was too small for my teenager. He has a small waist, so we found that the Kids Art Class Waist Packs from Target were perfect.
While they do rotate the styles per season, you should always be able to find an Art Class Waist Pack in stock.
Or this one: https://rstyle.me/+qaXhteuY_nKDWVqfkycQ5A
Or if you have a younger child, the spi belt is perfect. It can fit a pump or an Dexcom receiver (maybe not both), but it’s small enough for tiny waists.
Get it on Amazon.
I mentioned a bunch of Diabetes essentials above. Here is some more info on that.
We love the Genteel Gentle Lancing Device on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fX1XsH
Here is a full review on that: https://www.themamamaven.com/genteel-gentle-lancing-device-for-people-with-diabetes-can-it-really-draw-blood-with-no-pain/
Contour Next Smart Meter — you can get it on Amazon or through your insurance. We just switched to this with our new Omnipod Dash Insulin Pump System. Before that we used the Omnipod PDM (personal diabetes system as a meter). Most likely your insurance or your endocrinologist’s office will give you a meter though.
Calorie King – this book has extensive carb info for eating out and foods from the grocery. There is an app, but I find the book better.
GoGoSqueeZ – the regular size has 15 grams of carbs which is good for treating lows because it’s shelf stable and healthy. I also like the version with Yogurt for treating at night because of the protein in it – helps to keep my child stable at night.
Glucose Tabs — my son doesn’t love these — but they stay very well in all kinds of weather and are pretty easy to carry around. We buy the big bottle and a smaller 10 pack to refill. Each big glucose tab is 3 carbs, so have 5 of them to treat a low (you always want to treat a low blood sugar with 15 carbs unless it’s a severe low)
Mega Smarties – these will help low blood sugars. 2 big tablets are 5 carbs each, so to treat a low, have 6 of them.
Juice boxes – You want a small juice box to treat a low blood sugar – a 15 grams of carbs (4.23 fluid ounces). I usually buy Juicy Juice Apple or Apple and Eve Organics Sesame Street juices. If you have a teenager, like I do, I suggest you keep the juices at home and have him carry glucose tabs, GoGoSqueeZ or fruit snacks with him (my son got pretty angry with me when I showed up to his Middle School with Sesame Street Juice Boxes).
So, Type 1 Diabetes parents, did I miss anything? Please share in the comments under this post.