(NaturalNews) More than 60 percent of all parents give their children the wrong dose of liquid medicines, potentially placing their health at risk, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, and presented at the International Pharmaceutical Federation in Lisbon, Portugal.
Researchers enlisted 53 mothers, seven fathers and 37 day care staff at a day-care center for children under the age of five. Participants were polled on how they would react in a number of health scenarios, such as if a child was irritable and felt hot, but was still eating, drinking and playing normally.
Participants who decided to give a child medicine were instructed to demonstrate how they would do so, using a selection of over-the-counter liquid drugs and a variety of spoons and other measuring devices.
Only 14 percent of participants completed every step of the test successfully. Many failed in correctly deciding when to give medicine.
"We found that 7 percent would give a medicine without taking their child's temperature, and 46 percent would give medicine when the temperature was less than 38 degrees," researcher Rebekah Moles said.
Many parents also administered the medicine improperly.
"Taking all the scenarios together, 61 percent of the participants would have given an incorrect dose, and only 75 percent were able to measure accurately what dose they intended to give," Moles said.
Seventeen percent of participants would have given an overdose, while 44 percent would have given too little.
The researchers are following up with another study to evaluate what advice pharmacists give to parents asking about similar scenarios.
Margaret Peycke of the United Kingdom's National Pharmacy Association, said that over-the-counter drugs pose "some risks" if used incorrectly.
"The medicine should be administered carefully using the spoon or measuring device supplied, to ensure the child does not receive more or less than the recommended dose," she said. "Household spoons should not be used as a substitute as they do not measure amounts accurately unlike ones that come with the medicine."