Medication frequently, unintentionally given incorrectly to young children

Medication frequently, unintentionally given incorrectly to young children

According to researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 63,000 children under six years old experienced out-of-hospital medication errors every year between 2002-2012. One child is affected every 8 minutes, usually by a parent with good intentions or an unintentional error by a caregiver. The research was published in the journal Pediatrics.

The most common medication errors in children happen in their home, another residence, and school. The most common medications are painkillers and fever-reducers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

This is more common than people may realize,” said Huiyun Xiang, MD, MPH, PhD, director of the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, principal investigator at the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. “The numbers we report still underestimate the true magnitude of these incidents since these are just cases reported to national poison centers.”

Some examples of these medications errors include caregivers giving one child the same medication twice, misreading dosing guidelines, or administering the wrong medications.

We found that younger children are more apt to experience error than older children, with children under age one accounting for 25 percent of incidents,” said Xiang.

There are public health strategies being used to decrease the frequency and severity of medication errors among young children,” said Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and co-author of the study. “Product packaging needs to be redesigned in a way that provides accurate dosing devices and instructions, and better labeling to increase visibility to parents,” Spiller added.

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1. “Study Shows Medication Is Frequently, Unintentionally Given Incorrectly to Young Children.” Newswise. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

2. “Out-of-Hospital Medication Errors Among Young Children in the United States, 2002–2012.” Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

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