According to a new set of guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) kids’ medicine should be measured in metrics not spoonfuls. If parents would adopt this strategy the number of pediatric overdoses would drop significantly.
According to Dr. Ian Paul, lead author of the new guidelines, each year, thousands of children need to be taken to emergency rooms due to parents unintentionally overdosing them. This happens due to confusing labeled containers or unclear guidelines.
He explained that using the metric system when administering medicine is safer and more accurate. However, “many healthcare providers are still writing that prescription using spoon-based dosing”. Another problem is that some parents use household spoons when measuring doses which can lead to serious overdosing.
He gave another example of wrong measuring: parents can accidentally use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon which would triple the dose.
In order to avoid such accidents, the guidelines state that liquid medication that is administered by mouth should be dosed using milliliters (or “mL”).
Another recommendation made by the AAP is in regards to the so-called leading zeros. For example: a half mL dose should be noted as 0.5, not 0.50 which includes a second zero called “trailing zero” which can be a source of confusion for parents.
The AAP has been trying to improve the way medicine is labeled since the 1970s. The new set of guidelines is considered “the most extensive call for metric dosing” and is aimed at drug manufacturers, retailers, pharmacists and doctors.
According to these new guidelines, manufacturers should stop labeling instructions that use other forms of measuring other than the metric system. The label on the cups and syringes that come with the medicine should use the metric system and the maximum amount that can be administered with these instruments should not exceed the maximum dose.
Robert Poole, director of the pharmacy at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford considers syringes to be the easiest and most accurate tools when administering medication to children. The syringe can be placed in the side of the child’s mouth. The parent can then slowly release the drug while monitoring how much is being administered.
In order to make medication even more accurate and avoid overdoses, pediatricians are also advised to record the child’s weight and temperature in kilograms and degrees Celsius rather than pounds and Fahrenheit.
Image Source: Wonderopolis