Suggestions for explaining pump to 5 yr old grandson

Hi all,

New to this forum. Type 2 since 2000. Insulin pens since 2010. Just had first infusion set yesterday with saline until Monday when it's the real deal.

My grandson will be visiting on Saturday. He loves to hop on Pops. I'm wondering if there is some literature out there about discussing diabetes with a 5 yr old as I will have to warn him about the pump and infusion set. I'm not terribly worried that I can't, just wondering if there is something I can refer to. The old why re-invent the wheel. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

I have six and four year old grandsons that have never really given me problems with my pump. They too like to run and hop on pappy as I'm called. I have never experienced any problems.

As time goes on you will find that pumps and pump sites are just not that fragile. The only real problem I have seen is one of them possibly snagging the tubing so I keep it well concealed when they are around.

Both grandsons know that my pump contains medicine. They see me using it all the time so they know it is there but they pay it very little attention.

I am also a Type 2 pumper, I have been pumping for about 18 months now. It has been a good experience for me so far. I hope you enjoy yours as much I do mine.

If your grandson is very curious, you know, might pull on tubing, I would suggest a SpiBelt. It is like the old fanny backs, but pump sized - not big at all. They can easily be behind a shirt with no tubing available to "curiousity"

My great-niece who was going on 6 asked me about my testing at dinner. I explained that I had something called Diabetes which meant I had to take medicine if my blood sugar was too high; (pointing at pump). simple version I figured because at that age they don't want details. She then asked me, "what about if it's too low?" Wow! Good question! I said that isn't good either and I have to take a different kind of medicine for that. I can't remember what she said next but my brother (her grandfather) told me that now she was going to worry about me. So I added that as long as I tested my blood sugar and took the medicine when I needed to I felt just fine. That reassured her and we went on to something else. I always figure with kids something simple and age appropriate to start, and then more if they ask for it.

Hi Pops,

I assume your grandson is aware of your diabetes since you've been one well before he was even hopping on you. So I would just show him your "new way of taking insulin". When I got my first pump our kiddos were near your grandson's age. I just showed it to them, told them I would use this instead of an injection every day, and we went on with our fun and games! I never warned them about the device or my site, I chose to put the responsibility of protecting my pump and site on myself. A five year old is pretty young to go into a lot of explanation and detail. Why open a door of weariness, it would be sad if your grandson became afraid to play with you. As Gary said, the pump is pretty durable, and even wresting with little ones never once messed up a site for me.

Your question is a really excellent one and I think it is a great idea to have some type of literature for this type of thing. I need a project after the summer time is over so I am going to chew on this. I am going to ask the kids what they thought of my "new way".

Please let us know how you do handle this, and how it turns out! Have fun playing :)

Thanks all for your thoughtful replies. Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. Haven't had a talk with him yet as the visit was short and the next time we were together was for a day at an amusement park. His first time. What a blast! I even went on the pirate ship thing that goes back and forth to about 180 degrees. By the way, what a difference using a pump instead of trying to find a place to inject. Discreet finger stick, press a few buttons and good to go.

He doesn't know I have diabetes as I've always been discrete with testing and injections. Not really hiding, but just didn't see a reason to "let it all hang out" if unnecessary. Next time he spends the day with us, will bring it up as casually as possible. I asked my Medtronics support person and she sent me a link to a blog on their site. I found that pretty informative and it echoed much of what you folks said. I'm going to try to insert it here.


zander, i have 3 kids and it has always just been "a part of mommy". Now with my youngest one, she is 4 and so inquisitive, I explained to her just the other day about how mommy's pump has medicine in it and if i don't have it, i can get very very sick. I let all 3 of my kids hold my pump, touch the buttons, look at the pump site and ask as many questions as they had. If you approach it calmly and with ease, they will respond to your attitude.

Good luck on your pumping journey.


I don’t have recommendations on how to tell your grandson about diabetes and the pump, but I just wanted to welcome you to Type 2 with a pump. I will have been on the pump for 1 year on Saturday, and my A1c has dropped by 2.0 points. I think you’ll love it!

You’ll be facing some different challenges that you may or may not have been used to previously. The biggest one for me was dealing with more low BGs. By more tightly managing my BG control, I found that I was more likely to run into lows - if you start at 110, it’s easier to have a low than if you start at 180. :slight_smile:

Good luck!

When I started pumping with a MM pump my nieces where 4 & 2 years old. When they noticed it, I just told them it gave me medicine to keep me from getting sick. I showed them the pump, tubing & infusion site & explained that the pump pushed the medicine through the tube to where it went into my belly (infusion site). That was pretty much it. As for snagging the tubing, try to keep it tucked away if you can. Over the years I had way more problems with door handles & drawer pulls then rambunctious kids (and one feisty cat!).

Over the years (about 4) they have asked more questions. Most of my replies have been general (my body stopped making something I needed to stay healthy & the medicine replaces it). I figured most adults can't wrap their heads around diabetes, no reason to confuse a kid with it.

I hope you enjoy being on a pump!

No lows yet but not hitting target yet either. Going down cautiously. I have never experienced a low even after 4 years on pens. Of course my A1c was over 8 as well. My main goal with the pump is for much tighter control. Convenience is a side benefit. So far, so good. Looking forward to starting CGM soon.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the kids. I've already ripped out an infusion set the afternoon I got back from endo with first load of insulin in pump. I was sitting at the kitchen counter and got up like I normally do. Never noticed before that the counter drags across my I-could-be-pregnant-belly. Scraped it right off. Stared in disbelief, but didn't panic. They didn't cover in training that particular scenario. I was pretty confident what to do, but called Medtronic and we stepped through it together. So you're right. We are more likely to do damage than kids.

I think once you start CGM, you’ll really get hooked on it. I really think that if most adult-diagnosed diabetics used CGM shortly after diagnosis, even for just a few weeks, it could really help to better understand how different foods impact BGs. My example was the banana I used to eat every day for breakfast. I could check my BG before breakfast, eat my banana, and then check again before lunch, and not notice any problems. However, after CGM, I could see that I would often have a 60-80 point spike that would drop before lunch. Knowing that led me to decide that I don’t want to have that kind of spike on a regular basis if I can help it.