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Millions of parents accidentally poisoning their children with wrong medication doses

Medication errors

(NaturalNews) Most parents would never intentionally do anything to harm their children. That said, a new study has found that a shockingly high percentage of moms and dads are giving their kids improper doses of medicine.

As reported by the Today show on its website, some 80 percent of parents give their children the wrong doses of medicine, the study found. The most common mistake is that parents don't measure out doses of liquid medicines properly.

In all, 2,110 parents participated in the study. Of those, most made at least one error in measuring out a medicinal dose, and those incidents occurred while they were being monitored by researchers.

"We were surprised to see how many parents made errors," the report's lead author, Dr. Shonna Yin, an associate professor of pediatrics and population health at the New York University School of Medicine, said. She added that it may be that parents are making even more mistakes at home, when they are not being monitored.

Researchers were examining whether there were mistakes or a lack of clarity in the design of drug labels and dispensing tools like oral syringes and measuring cups. The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, was funded by taxpayers through the National Institutes of Health.

Most of the errors – more than two-thirds, or 68 percent – saw parents measuring out too much medication to give to their kids. If an oral syringe was used in place of a dosing cup, researchers found that parents were less likely to make dosing mistakes.

Ten percent of kids require an ER visit each year

For the study, each parent was asked to measure out nine doses of amoxicillin, a common antibiotic, after reviewing label instructions as they were monitored by a researcher. Three possible doses – 2.5 ml, 5 ml and 7.5 ml – were to be given with one of three measuring devices: an oral dose syringe marked in increments of 2 ml; an oral syringe marked in 5 ml increments; and a measuring cup that commonly accompanies medications.

In all, 83 percent of parents made at least one dosing error during their nine measurements. Doses were, on average, 20 percent more or less than the right one according to instructions.

Roughly one in five parents, or 21 percent, made large mistakes in that they measured out doses that were at least twice as much as they were supposed to give.

A problem common to measuring cups, Yin said, is that even what appears to be a small mistake with a measuring cup "translates into more volume than it would on a syringe." In addition, sometimes cups that come with medications are so large that they can actually hold twice the recommended dose of medicine.

So, just how big is this problem? Are parents seriously endangering their kids, and doing so frequently?

Growing problem

A study that looked at records during a 10-year period from 2002 to 2012, found that every eight minutes a child younger than age 6 experienced an out-of-hospital drug mistake, according to figures from Safe Kids Worldwide and cited by the Today show. That averages out to around 63,300 kids per year. And of that figure, 10 percent – or roughly 6,300 kids – under age 12 require an emergency room visit due to a dosage error.

So yes, it's an issue.

"We've known for years that this was a possible concern, but this is perhaps the most rigorous assessment of how parents can go astray," said Dr. Carlos Lerner, medical director and general pediatrician at the University of California, Los Angeles, Mattel Children's Hospital. "We know because each year we have tens of thousands of children go to emergency departments because of an unintentional overdose."

Dr. Elizabeth Powell, who specializes in pediatric emergency medicine at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago called the new study results "very dramatic." She added that the study captured medication errors in real time, using a drug that is very common as a first-line treatment for things like ear infections and pneumonia.

She further suggests that parents request an oral syringe for dosing.

Keep track of Big Pharma deaths in real time at PharmaDeathClock.com.




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