What to Look for in an Insulin Pump for a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

February 4, 2019 7:22 pm

Every year in the US, approximately 18,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. With each diagnosis, parents are faced with important decisions and conversations with their kids about setting up a diabetes management plan. Increasingly, physicians are recommending that pediatric patients adopt insulin pumps as a way to manage type 1 diabetes. When it comes to kids, reducing the number of painful finger pricks and the amount of maintenance and equipment makes managing the condition easier and safer. For parents evaluating pumps, what are some handy features to look for?


Whether they’re playing sports in gym class or starting a water hose fight with the neighbors, kids are often getting sweaty or wet. For this reason, a watertight insulin pump is the safest choice. This kind of pump doesn’t need to be removed for sports or water activities, giving you peace of mind that your child won’t need to manage interrupting their insulin and reconnecting their pump.

Battery Life

An insulin pump with a rechargeable battery can offer a lot of convenience. When you’re choosing a pump for your child, be sure to look at the hours of battery life it will provide. Ideally, you can get your child a pump that only needs to be charged occasionally, at bath time, for example, so that you can be there to remind your child and help out with the charging routine.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

An insulin pump integrated with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a major help when it comes to diabetes management. In addition to administering insulin, your child will have to check his or her blood glucose levels regularly. A pump that connects to a CGM eliminates the need for finger pricks throughout the day. Your child will be able to check his or her glucose and take the necessary actions just by looking at the device. What’s more, you’ll be able to see all the data from the day and review it with your child.

Colorful Skins

We all know kids love to incorporate their favorite color when it comes to their clothes, their school folders, their room decorations, and just about anything else. Don’t underestimate the importance of color when it comes to your child feeling good about his or her insulin pump. Select one that has colorful skins available, where your child can choose the color they like best.

No Tubing and a Hidden Needle

No kid wants to feel weird about having a medical device attached to their skin. For a child, the best kind of pump may be the one that looks the least medical and the most discreet. Consider a pump without tubing and with a hidden needle, so that it looks more like a cool gadget than an insulin pump.

Work with the Diabetes Care Team

Your pediatrician or diabetes care team will be able to guide you on important clinical parameters like reservoir size and dosing flexibility. They will also be able to give you lots of tips on transitioning to the insulin pump with your child.


  1. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
  2. https://www.childrensal.org/workfiles/clinical_services/endocrine/Insulin%20Pump%20Comparison%20Chart.pdf


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