A study by various pediatric clinics located in New York, Atlanta, and California has discovered that the majority of parents unknowingly provide their children with the wrong dosage of liquid medication. This is occurring in part because despite pediatric medicines including a measuring tool with related instructions, often the units on the label – milliliters, mL, teaspoon, tsp., tablespoon – differ from what’s on the tools themselves.
As reported by the New York Times, the study consisted of 2,110 participants and found that “in nine trials, 84.4 percent of the parents made at least one dosing error, and more than 68 percent of the errors were overdoses. About 21 percent of parents at least once measured out more than twice the proper dose. Smaller doses produced more errors. When the dose was 2.5 milliliters, there were more than four times as many errors as when it was 5 milliliters.” The study concluded that using an oral syringe to measure out liquid medication for children was best to meet the proper doses and reduce the likelihood of medication errors.
The American Academy of Pediatrics last year endorsed milliliter-only dosing as part of an effort to standardize dosing tools. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the provision of standard dosing tools in 2013 to promote the safe use and measurement of pediatric liquid formulations. Nevertheless, parents need to be educated by their physicians and pharmacists in order to prevent these and other dosing errors when giving their children the medicines critical for their health and well-being.