Study Says Many Parents Are Overdosing Their Children

September 19, 2016
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A study published earlier this month in the Journal Pediatrics, suggests that many parents are making dosing mistakes when giving medicine to their children.

It’s enough worrying about your child being sick, so having to be concerned about measurements adds even more stress for parents.

However, Dr. Shonna Yin, an associate professor at NYU Medical School and a co-author of the study says that there’s an easy way of preventing these errors. By using a syringe instead of a cup or spoon, this could prevent many of those errors.

Yin says “When parents used dosing cups, they had four times the odds of making a dosing error, compared to when they used an oral syringe,”

Most medications made for children come in a liquid form. Accuracy is critical for their small little bodies and oral syringes should be the standard. However, parents can be put quite in a frenzy when their kid is sick and the fact that the labelling, packaging and dosing information on these medications are not standardized.

 “A range of measurement units (eg, milliliter, teaspoon, tablespoon), along with their associated abbreviations, are used as part of instructions on labels and dosing tools, contributing to confusion and multifold errors,” Yin said “Similar to what other studies have found, our study found that parents with lower health literacy are at greater risk for making dosing errors,”

Language also plays a role, especially for parents who do not speak English.

The aim of the study was to to identify what could reduce errors when dispensing medicine to a child and they found that the most common mistake was indeed overdosing, where 68% of the study participants poured out too much medicine, rather than too little.

What’s scary is that the most serious side effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure may only seem as fussiness in little children and parents won’t know what’s really going on.

The recommendation for syringes is very important and let’s hope that the dosage labelling information becomes standardized very soon.

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