Health Library

Low Blood Sugar: Emergency Care for a Child

Topic Overview

This information is for people who may help your child if your child is too weak or confused to treat low blood sugar. Make a copy for each of your child's caregivers.

  • Make sure the child can swallow. Give the child ½ teaspoon of water. If the child can swallow the water without choking or coughing:
    • Give him or her 4 fl oz (118 mL) to 6 fl oz (177 mL) of liquid (juice or soda pop) from the list of quick-sugar foods.
    • Wait 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Check the child's blood sugar level using his or her blood sugar (glucose) meter, if available.
    • Offer the child more quick-sugar food if he or she is feeling better but still has some symptoms of low blood sugar.
    • Wait 10 to 15 minutes. If possible, check the blood sugar level again.
    • When the child's blood sugar returns to normal, offer the child a snack (such as cheese and crackers or half of a sandwich).
    • If the child becomes more sleepy or seems to have no energy, call 911 or other emergency services.
    • Stay with the child until his or her blood sugar level is 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher, or until emergency help comes.
  • If the child is unconscious or unable to swallow:
    • Make sure the child's airway is not blocked.
    • Give the child a shot of glucagon if one is available. See the slideshow about how to give a glucagon injection.
    • After you give the glucagon shot, immediately call 911 for emergency care.
    • If emergency help has not arrived within 5 minutes and the child is unconscious, give another glucagon shot.
    • Stay with the child until emergency help comes.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last Revised August 1, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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