Dear Children’s Museum of Phoenix,
I would like to take a minute to share my experiences with your museum. A couple of months ago I took my 2 and 4 year old to your museum for the first time. The three of us had such a great time, so when we went back with friends a few weeks later we chose to buy an annual membership. I knew this was a place I could bring the kids, out of the heat, to have a great time year round. Our first two experiences were amazing. The kids had a blast and loved every minute of our time there.
When this weekend was approaching and I was figuring out what I wanted to do with the kids, the children’s museum was the first place that came to mind. I wish I could say our experience today was as good as the last two times. Unfortunately, it was a terrible experience. You see, my 4-year-old son has Type One Diabetes. This means his body does not make insulin on its own and I must balance his food, insulin, activity levels, etc to make sure his blood sugar stays as stable as possible. This requires a lot of hard work on my part. And even with all the work I put into managing this disease we still have times when his blood sugar goes too high or too low.
Today at the museum, my son ended up having a low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can cause a person with Diabetes to pass out, have a seizure, or even cause death. It is important for the person to be treated immediately. This is what I did when in the museum today. I was sitting on the third floor with both of my children. My son told me he felt really low, really really low. So I checked his blood sugar and he was right. He was very low at that moment. I sat on the couch with him and gave him some fruit snacks and applesauce to eat. While I was waiting for his blood sugar to come back up to a normal range a docent came over to me and told me that we were not allowed to have food in the museum unless we were in the 2nd floor café. I explained to him how I understood but that my son had Diabetes and a low blood sugar, which needed to be taken care of immediately. He told me I should have taken my son down to the 2nd floor to treat the low and give him the snack. I then explained how my son could have passed out on the way if I had done that with him. I was then told something to the effect of “Well, you should plan that out better…” As if the low blood sugar was something I had planned. I have to say I am very disappointed and upset about this situation. I feel as though we were singled out because another parent complained. I feel as though after I cleaned up our garbage we were being watched by the museum staff and were unable to really enjoy the rest of our time there. I ended up taking the kids home earlier than I had planned because I was so upset.
At this time I am unsure if I even want to return to the museum with my children. I truly think the experiences provided are great for my small children to grow and learn, but I do not want to feel discriminated against if I need to treat my son with some fruit snacks or a juice. I feel your museum staff should be educated about disabilities, which may affect your patrons. Some disabilities, such as Diabetes, are invisible, but are certainly life threatening and need to be attended to constantly.
Please let me know what action you plan to take to ensure this situation is not repeated when we, or another family with a type one diabetic child visits your museum.
Member of The Children’s Museum of Phoenix
ETA: I did actually send this in an email to the CEO. I posted about the response HERE.
*Disclaimer: I am a mom of a T1 Diabetic child. I am NOT a doctor. I just play one in real life. Please do not take anything in this post or any other post on this blog as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns of your own, please seek advice from your doctor.*