Only one in 10 parents could recognise signs of Type 1 Diabetes in their children. Find out what they are
Just nine per cent of parents know that excessive thirst, extreme tiredness, frequent urinating and unexplained weight loss are all symptoms of the condition, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Diabetes UK.
The charity said that a lack of understanding about the condition is one of the reasons that a quarter of children with Type 1 diabetes are only diagnosed once they are seriously ill.
It has launched an awareness campaign to help parents spot the '4 Ts' which are symptoms of the condition:
• Toilet (frequent need to wee)
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are so obvious and pronounced that there is no reason why every child with the condition cannot be diagnosed straight away.
"But the stark reality is that a quarter of children with Type 1 diabetes become seriously unwell before being diagnosed and we need to bring this appalling situation to an end.
"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 4 Ts will make them easier to remember and so help ensure children with the condition get diagnosed at the right time."
Former X Factor contestant Amelia Lily, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was three years old, is backing the campaign.
She said: "I feel very strongly that every parent and carer needs to know about Diabetes UK's 4 Ts campaign. My symptoms included drinking a lot more than normal and going to the toilet a lot.
"I was very lucky as my nana realised what was wrong with me because my uncle had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 14.
"It's so important that anyone who looks after children - not just parents but teachers, carers and other family members - knows how to spot the signs of diabetes. So many children are still getting really poorly before they are diagnosed and I want to help put a stop to that."
Type 1 diabetes should not be confused with Type 2 or late onset diabetes, which can be caused by poor lifestyle choices.