Medicine Mistakes: Do You Make Them?

Last week’s announcement that OTC drug manufacturers will no longer produce liquid acetaminophen for infants brought up an issue that’s been percolating for a while: mistakes we make when giving medicine to our children. Some of the most common errors parents have been known to make are:

* using the incorrect dosing tool (whether it’s a household spoon, or a cup or syringe from a different medication)

* basing the amount of medicine on the child’s age, instead of his weight

* using expired meds

* giving medication to a child that was prescribed for her sibling

* giving adult medicines to a child (Note: simply halving or reducing the dose is not safe and never recommended).

Unfortunately it’s not hard to make a mistake like any of these, especially when it’s the middle of the night, and when you’re desperate to offer your child some measure of comfort. Eventually, FDA guidelines will call for clearer packaging and measuring devices, including cups that will still be easy to read even when there’s medicine inside. They won’t contain two sets of measurements, either (do we really need teaspoons when the dosages are given in millileters?).

These steps will help, but not totally solve the problem. I know moms who have made all of the errors listed above, and I’ve done one or two of them myself. How about you? Care to share? Have you ever made a mistake when giving medicine to your child?

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  1. by Catherine

    On May 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I do think kids’ medicines are confusing, since they come in so many varieties (infants vs. kids, concentrated vs. not, liquid vs. chewable), etc.

    But no baby acetominophen? How do we treat fevers then?

  2. by Kara Corridan

    On May 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    You’ll still give acetaminophen, but it will be in a much less concentrated form–making it harder to give your child too much. The link above (which wasn’t there earlier) explains a little further.
    We’ve also got this:
    http://www.parents.com/blogs/goodyblog/2011/05/otc-infant-medicine-with-acetaminophen-will-no-longer-be-produced/

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