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A Better Way to Manage Childhood Diabetes

There's no cure for Type 1 diabetes  -- yet  -- but more and more kids are using pumps, which supply a steady stream of the insulin their bodies can't make, rather than taking insulin shots.

Adults have used pumps for years, but new research finds that kids as young as 3 can use them successfully. That's less stressful for the whole family: Instead of three to five shots a day, it's just one needle poke every two days to insert a tiny, soft tube into the skin, typically on the back or side. Parents control the rate of delivery via a beeper-size device that connects to the tube and attaches to the child's belt or the waist of her pants. (Some products even have remote control.)

Your child still needs to do a skin prick to test blood sugar; the data are beamed wirelessly to the pump, which adjusts the insulin flow as needed.

It's easier and more accurate. "With injections, you're using whole units of insulin. With pumps you can get as little as a tenth of a unit  -- a precision that's important for these little bodies," says William Tamborlane, M.D., chief of pediatric endocrinology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

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