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Medication dosages present challenges to parents

Being a parent to a sick child is a harrowing experience. Grumpy, tearful children can be taxing. It's in these moments that parents most want to relieve a child's pain -- and a time when it's likely to accidentally cause more of it.

Parents may give the wrong dosage or even the wrong medication to a child, which can be dangerous, especially to infants. A caregiver may misread a doctor's instructions because they are too complicated or poorly written to understand. Making sure that you aren't giving to a medication is another vital step that might be missed by stressed parents who are just trying to help their kids get well.

In a recent study, 500 parents were asked to measure the appropriate amount of a child's liquid medication, and a shocking 83.5 percent of them made a measurement error. Parents who used a cup or syringe to help find the dose made the fewest errors.

Raising awareness about the most likely causes for an error is also an effective way of preventing medication errors. Parents and doctors should pay close attention to the unit of measurement, whether teaspoon or milliliter, to ensure that the amount is correct. Pharmacists should provide measurement devices at no charge.

Doctors can and should be asked for clarification or assistance in preparing medication if you have any doubt. In the rare event that a doctor makes an error that causes pain or injury, he or she may be liable for compensation for medical expenses and other related costs. Keep your children safe with the power of observation.

Source: tdtnews.com, "Avoiding medication dosing errors in children," Dr. Grace Yu, Aug. 29, 2017

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