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Child dosing errors common among parents, study finds

Up to 80 percent of parents have made

Up to 80 percent of parents have made errors in administering liquid medicine, a study found. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Brian A. Jackson

In a recent article in Pediatrics it was found that up to 80 percent of parents have made a dosing error when administering liquid medicine to their children.

The study looked at children 8 years old or younger.

In the study, both English- and Spanish-speaking parents were asked to measure different amounts of liquid medicines using different “tools,” including a dosing cup, and syringes in varying sizes. They also were given different instructions with either text only or text with pictures. The different dosing tools were labeled with either milliliters/teaspoon or milliliters only.

The parents who used the text/picture combination instructions and who also used the milliliter-only labeled dosing tools had the lowest incidence of dosing errors. When parents had to use any math skills to calculate the correct dosage, there were more dosing errors.

Most dosing errors resulted in overdosing rather than underdosing the liquid medications.


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