Preventing Medication Overdoses in Children

Plenty of parents use the same spoon they use for the breakfast cereal to give their children a dose of medicine.  A teaspoon is a teaspoon, right?  Not according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Today, in a policy statement published in the journal Pediatrics, the AAP called for all oral medications to be measured in milliliters.  They want people who administer medications to children to use devices --preferably syringes with metric markings--that allow for precise measurements.  They also want doctors to use only milliliter-based dosing when prescribing medications.

According to the AAP, each year, more than 70,000 children visit emergency departments as a result of unintentional medication overdoses.  The pediatrician group lays the blame on confusion and dosing errors associated with common kitchen spoons. "Spoons come in many different sizes and are not precise enough to measure a child's medication".

To really cut down on the number of accidental overdoses, drug manufacturers and pharmacists would also need to switch to a simply universal standard of measurement.  That means metric-only labeling and distributing milliliter-based dosing devices with all orally administered liquid medications.

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