Healthcare News & Insights

Why are we overdosing our kids?

New research: 98% of the biggest selling OTC kid’s medicines come with dosing directions that are confusing.  That’s according to a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

One common problem is giving the instructions on the bottle in teaspoons or tablespoons, but the accompanying dosing cup is marked in milliliters (mls). It’s all too easy for a tired parent to either misread the cup or miscalculate how many mls equal a teaspoon and give the child the wrong amount. Parents also frequently use the household silverware when doses are given in teaspoons — even though flatware is notoriously inaccurate for measuring purposes.

While deaths from dosing accidents are thankfully infrequent, there are many other adverse effects a child could suffer from a significant over- or under-dose of a medication — even if it’s “just” an OTC.

That’s why the study’s authors recommend steps to make dosing directions clearer and more straightforward. One of the key recommendations: Make mls the standard dosing unit of measurement.

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