From Marion, Kentucky, USA:
I am a mother of a seven year old girl who visits her father on the weekends, where her six year old stepsister has type 1 diabetes and has to take injections three to four times a day. My concern or problem is my ex-husband, her father, lets her test her blood sugar with the same lancet that her stepsister uses. It is not a new one. I am worried about blood infections from one child to another. Plus, the parents do it, too. My daughter gives her stepsister injections. I am worried about the child and mine and their safety. My daughter also tried to give herself an injection. What can I do? What are the laws? How do I protect my daughter from getting anything like HIV, hepatitis, etc.? Please let me know what to do.
As a health care professional, I practice, my office practices, and I teach the CDC advice on safe sharps practices. You are absolutely correct. Children with diabetes need to know and respect the safe practices for sharps. Why? One, for their personal safety...I know about my personal history, exposures, etc. That's all I know. I know nothing about anyone else. I might BELIEVE, but I don't KNOW anything for sure about anyone else. The person might be my brother, sister, mother, etc. I still don't know for sure. Oh yes, you argue, the risk is low. I argue that it is not zero, so, don't take the risk. Two, we set examples for the public. I argue every day that children with diabetes need to be able to test at school, give shots at school, test in the classroom at school, etc. To do so, they must be responsible in every way. Sharing with family can lead to sharing with friends. As a parent, I might even sue a school who let my child get a "shot" from a friend. I tell children that I support them in the "right" to test and give shots at school. I also tell them I support the school in the "right" to keep others safe at school. The child with diabetes has a huge responsibility to be a leader and to prove he or she can practice safe sharps behavior. One bad event even in a school system can do away with years of effort to help children with diabetes.
What you describe is just bad behavior and bad habits to learn, especially at home. Just don't do it. Habits are just that. Once bad ones are learned, they get passed on. Likewise, good ones get passed on. Always be safe.
[Editor's comment: Although we know of no laws about this, we encourage you to share the above answer with your ex-husband. It may be that he and his wife were not educated by their diabetes team about this issue. Encourage them to ask the girl's doctor about this. BH]
Original posting 22 Jun 2006
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