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If you have questions or are concerned, call Pediatric Endocrinology at 617-726-2909.

How do I test my child's blood for ketones?

Testing blood for ketones is similar to checking blood sugar. You will need a special ketone testing meter and ketone test strips from your child’s doctor.

Here is how to test your child's blood for ketones:

  1. Open the ketone testing kit. Wash your hands and your child’s hands with soap and water.
  2. Insert a needle into the lancet pen.
  3. Insert a testing strip into the meter.
  4. Use the lancet pen on the side of your child’s finger to draw a drop of blood. You need a larger drop of blood than what you use to check his blood sugar.
  5. Touch the testing strip to the drop of blood.
  6. Wait for the meter to give you the reading.
    • If the reading is 0.6 mmol/L or less, this means your child’s ketone levels are normal.
    • If the reading 0.6 – 1.5 mmol/L, test the blood again in 2 hours. Call the doctor after testing. This means your child’s body is starting to make more ketones.
    • If the reading is 1.5 mmol/L or higher, call the doctor right away for next steps.

What is ketoacidosis?

Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition in which there is a high number of ketones in the blood. Call the doctor if you child shows any of these signs of ketoacidosis:

Early signs

  • Thirst or a very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • HIgh blood sugar levels
  • High ketone levels

Other signs

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Dry or flushed (red) skin
  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • A fruity smell on the breath
  • Trouble focusing or feeling confused

Learn more

Rev. 3/2018. Reviewed by the MGfC Family Advisory Council.