Children and Medication Errors – “Thanks, Mom and Dad!”

NPR had a story this morning about the high number of medication errors children experience and some ideas as to why.

In short summary:

  1. Kitchen spoons are inaccurate for giving “teaspoons” of medicine, and it doesn’t take much to give the little ones an overdose.
  2. Dose instructions are in teaspoons, but sometimes the cups that come with the bottle are in milliliters!

I also remember hearing about the surprising lack of literacy when parents read labels: I’ve seen a video of a woman reading a label that abbreviated tsp. and read it as “Tablespoons.”

Primary source link for the curious:
Yin, H.S., Wolf, M.S., Dreyer, B.P., Sanders, L.M., Parker, R.M. (2010). Evaluation of Consistency in Dosing Directions and Measuring Devices for Pediatric Nonprescription Liquid Medications. JAMA. Published online November 30, 2010. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1797

Photo credit Rakka

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