Although the incidence rate of diabetes in children under the age of 3 years is increasing dramatically, no previous studies provide information about the day-to-day experience of caring for these infants and toddlers Because a young child with diabetes is dependent on the parent for his/her very existence, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain knowledge and understanding of the parents’ experiences so that appropriate interventions could be developed and implemented to support parental care for this unique population Findings revealed three distinct phases in the parents’ experiences the diagnosis and child's hospitahzation, adjusting to care at home, and long-term adaptation Within these phases, parents descnbed inordinate amounts of stress exacerbated by the child's young age and the complex, intrusive nature of diabetes management On the basis of these findings, implications for practice are discussed