Parents are being urged to learn how to spot the symptoms of life-threatening type 1 diabetes in their children.
Charities Diabetes UK and JDRF are asking people to watch a short video which helps identify the most common symptoms of the condition.
They produced the clip to heighten awareness among parents, carers, teachers and healthcare professionals.
About 2,000 children a year are diagnosed with the autoimmune condition. The charities said that the majority of cases are only diagnosed when the children are hospitalised.
Common symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss and extreme tiredness.
JDRF chief executive Karen Addington says: ‘If a child is showing any of these symptoms, it’s vital that they get medical attention immediately, even waiting 24 hours can be dangerous.
‘A simple finger prick blood glucose test can diagnose type 1 diabetes instantly and early diagnosis can prevent a child from becoming very ill, and even save their life.’
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, adds: ‘A late diagnosis is not only incredibly frightening for both parents and children, but it is also very dangerous.
‘The fact that a quarter of children only find out they have type 1 diabetes when they are already seriously ill shows that things urgently need to improve, and that is why we want as many people who work with or care for children as possible to make sure they see this video.’
The video can be seen at diabetes.org.uk by searching the video links.