Very few parents are able to pinpoint the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, a charity has said.
Frequent urinating, extreme thirst, unusual weight loss and excessive tiredness are identified by just 9%, a survey commissioned by Diabetes UK shows.
One in four children with the condition only get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after they become seriously ill, and the charity says that this is down to the lack of knowledge about it.
Diabetes UK has now started a campaign aimed at parents, urging them to learn how to spot the four Ts: toilet, thirsty, tired and thinner.
An estimated 3.7 million people in the UK have diabetes, 850,000 of whom have type 2 but do not know it.
Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said: “I fear that unless there is a big increase in awareness of symptoms, we will continue to see hundreds of children a year become seriously ill completely needlessly.
“We need to get the message across that if you have a child or if you work with children, you need to make it your business to know the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
“We hope the four Ts will make them easier to remember and so help ensure children with the condition get diagnosed at the right time.”