Dosing errors common with liquid medicine for kids

Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 18:13:38-04

This is very serious because it can affect kid’s health. A new study asked over 2,000 parents with young children to measure out 9 different liquid medications using either a dosing cup or a syringe.  43 percent of the parents filled the dosing cup wrong compared with 16 percent using the oral syringe.

Question: What happens if a child is given too much medicine?

These type of medicine errors can result in overdoses and children can suffer serious health consequences, sometimes even death.  For young children, medication is prescribed based on their weight and needs to be very carefully measured out. 

Question: Why were the parents making more errors with dosing cups?

They were missing the targeted measuring line. Some parents were holding the cup at eye level or it wasn’t flat which made the dosing amount incorrect.  This causes the child to get much more medicine because a dosing cup is wider than a syringe. 

Question: what are your prescriptions?
To measure accurate doses of medicine, here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX for doling out a child’s medicine:
1. Pour Liquid Medication into a Dosing Cup and then use an Oral Syringe
That way you can double check accuracy and not contaminate the medicine bottle

2. Ask for an Oral Syringe if One Isn’t Provided
Be sure to use these for over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl.

3. Draw a Line on the Syringe or Use a Piece of Tape
This will help you get the measurement correct.

4. Ask Your Dr. To Calculate the Proper Dose
They’ll do this using your child’s weight.

Question: What about using a regular spoon?
Silverware can vary in size and shape so parents shouldn't give medicine using kitchen spoons. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents use dosing tools with standard markings.