Using teaspoons/tablespoons to give kids medicine leads to errors: study

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New York – Using a teaspoon or tablespoon to administer children’s medication can lead to errors, according to a recent study.

Researchers from New York University and Penn State University observed nearly 300 parents giving medicine to their children. They found 41 percent of parents made an error in measuring what their doctor had prescribed, and 39 percent incorrectly measured the dose they intended.

Parents using teaspoon or tablespoon measurements were 2.3 times more likely to pour the wrong dose and 1.9 times more likely to inaccurately follow the prescription, the researchers found.

Nearly one-third of parents given instructions with teaspoon or tablespoon doses reached for a kitchen spoon, making it less likely to measure the correct amount. Adding to the problem, some parents had trouble telling the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon and the abbreviations “tsp.” and “tbsp.”

Researchers suggest parents use milliliter doses. Parents also can ask their doctors and pharmacists for oral syringes, droppers or dosing spoons.

The study was published online July 14 and in the August issue of Pediatrics.