Monday, March 30th, 2015
One of the most common medication mistakes parents make is measuring the incorrect amount of medicine. Thankfully, the latest dosage guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that parents should never use spoons (including teaspoons and tablespoons) as a measurement tool for children’s medicine.
Instead, cups or syringes labeled with clear metric measurements in milliliters (mL) are the only way to ensure that children consume the correct dose of medication.
The smallest error in measurement can be toxic to a young child. “Each year more than 70,000 children visit emergency departments as a result of unintentional medication overdoses,” states the AAP’s press release. “Sometimes a caregiver will misinterpret milliliters for teaspoons. Another common mistake is using the wrong kind of measuring device, resulting in a child receiving two or three times the recommended dose.”
Many over-the-counter medications cause confusion because labels recommend metric dosing, but measuring devices are also included that may be marked in teaspoons. Now, with the latest guidelines, “we are calling for a simple, universally recognized standard that will influence how doctors write prescriptions, how pharmacists dispense liquid medications and dosing cups, and how manufacturers print labels on their products,” said Ian Paul, MD, pediatrician and lead author of the AAP statement.
In order to decrease confusion and a child’s risk of potential overdoses, the AAP’s 2015 policy statement includes the following updates to increase accuracy:
- Standard measurement language should be adopted, including mL as the only appropriate abbreviation for milliliters. Liquid medications should be dosed to the nearest 0.1, 0.5, or 1 mL.
- The dose frequency should be clearly stated on the label. Common language like “daily” should be used rather than medical abbreviations like ‘qd’, which could be misinterpreted as ‘qid’ (which, in the past, has been a common way for doctors to describe dosing four times daily).
- Pediatricians should always review mL-based doses with families when they are prescribed.
- Dosing devices should not have extra markings that can be confusing; they should not be significantly larger than the dose described on the label, to avoid two-fold dosing errors.
- Drug manufacturers should eliminate labeling, instructions, and dosing devices that contain units other than metric units.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Liquid medication via Shutterstock
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AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Health, child medication, child safety, children's health, cold medicine, cough medicine, dosage, dosage mistakes, health and safety, Medication, medication mistakes, medications, medicine, parenting advice, parenting news | Categories:
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Monday, December 17th, 2012
An innovative new program in New York City is offering nurses special training to offer support and guidance to low-income, first-time moms who may be uneducated on how to give their babies–and themselves–the crucial care that can keep them healthy and thriving. The New York Times reports:
“The program, which was started in upstate New York in the 1970s and has been adopted in 42 states, is one of the rare public initiatives that have shown consistent and rigorously tested benefits for the mothers and children, as well as significant savings for taxpayers.
In different studies on different demographic groups, women in the program have had fewer premature deliveries, smoked less during pregnancy, spent less time on public assistance, waited longer to have subsequent children, had fewer arrests and convictions, and maintained longer contact with their baby’s fathers. Their children have had fewer language delays and reported less abuse and neglect, slightly higher I.Q. scores, fewer arrests and convictions by age 19, and less depression and anxiety.
A 2011 study of New York City’s Nurse-Family Partnership program, which currently has 91 nurses serving 1,940 families, projected that by the time a child in the program turns 12, the city, state and federal governments will have saved a combined $27,895, with additional savings thereafter — more than twice the program’s cost per child. The study was conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation using data from the Nurse-Family Partnership’s research at three locations, then extrapolated to New York.
This fall, I attended a dozen home visits, all in the Bronx, with five nurses — three from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, which contracts with the city to provide service in the Bronx, and two, including Ms. Schmidt, with the health department’s Targeted Citywide Initiative, which tackles the most at-risk cases. The nurses’ styles and backgrounds varied; the families’ needs and challenges even more so. Each mother participated voluntarily and at no cost.
The problems were many: violence on the street, abuse in the women’s past, illness, anger, obesity, insecure housing or financial circumstances. Most of the women had the poor luck to have been born in poverty. Like their middle-class counterparts, none came into the world knowing how to raise a baby.”
Image: Young mother and baby, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Everyone has their own ways of coping with the stresses of modern motherhood, and a new survey commissioned by Ivory, the soap made by consumer products company Procter & Gamble, has found that as many as 66 percent of moms admit to hiding out in the bathroom just to get some quiet time.
The survey, which was based on data collected from 1,000 mothers, reports other findings on what overwhelms moms the most, and how they cope including:
- 75 percent of moms feel pressure to make every daily experience a “teachable moment” for their children.
- More than 60 percent of moms said that filling out tax returns is less complicated than their children’s math homework.
- Moms say they receive parenting advice more than 3 times each week, regardless of whether they’ve asked for it.
- 83 percent of working moms say they have the harder job; 60 percent of stay-at-home moms say the same.
Image: Woman relaxing in bathtub, via Shutterstock.
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