Diabetes and teen driving

Pediatrician Jamie Wood, MD Clinical Diabestes, explains how teens with diabetes need to have a doctor sign off on their driving license application and shares advice on how to ensure a good blood sugar when driving
Advice For Teenagers With Diabetes When Driving
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Diabetes and teen driving

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The topic of diabetes and driving for teenagers is one that we spend a lot of time discussing. The low blood sugars and the high blood sugars that can come with diabetes can make a person with diabetes an unsafe driver and can put themselves at risk as well as other people on the road at risk. So the teenager with diabetes first needs me – their doctor – to sign off on their driving license application. So they need to provide me a 10-page document that I have to fill out, answering questions about how well controlled their diabetes is and how long it’s been well controlled. And I have to determine if I feel they’re going to be a safe driver or not. Once we determine that we talk about the need to check their blood sugars frequently and that they’re not allowed to turn that ignition of that car on until they’ve checked their blood sugar so that they know where they’re at. They know if they’re low and they should have a snack before they start to drive or they know that they’re high and maybe they should take some insulin to lower their blood sugar before they drive. The other important thing for teenagers to know is that they shouldn’t try to treat a low blood sugar while they’re driving just like they shouldn’t be texting and having phone calls while they’re driving. If they’re reaching to their glove compartment to grab some Skittles, they are going to be distracted and they may cause an accident. So it’s testing frequently while they’re driving – particularly before they start to drive, pulling over if they’re feeling like their blood sugar is low or too high, so that they can check their blood sugar and treat it accordingly.

Pediatrician Jamie Wood, MD Clinical Diabestes, explains how teens with diabetes need to have a doctor sign off on their driving license application and shares advice on how to ensure a good blood sugar when driving

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Jamie R. Wood, MD

Pediatrician, Clinical Diabetes, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Jamie Wood was born and raised in Vermont, where she also attended medical school. She completed her pediatric residency at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and her endocrine fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University. She moved to the Los Angeles area in 2008 and is now the Director of Clinical Diabetes Programs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Wood’s specialty is the care of youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes—a field she fell in love with during a medical student rotation at a summer camp for youth with diabetes.  She also enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and playing with her husband and two children, Jackson and Olivia.

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