Next up in the news for nurses this week is a look at improving medication safety for parents and other caregivers when dosing meds for kids at home. Parents often eyeball the amount of liquid medicine like acetaminophen or cough and cold medication using a kitchen spoon and not a graduated measuring device. This means that they think a teaspoon is just their typical household spoon that matches their flatware set.

40 Percent of Parents Make Dosing Errors

Young girl taking medicine with mom holding her hand and a glass of waterNew research in the Journal Pediatrics says that almost 40 percent of the parents studied measured medication wrong on a regular basis. Others just misread the prescriber information wrong, mistaking common abbreviations of a teaspoon for a tablespoon.

The Institute for Safe Medication is calling for all pediatric liquid medication be dosed only using the metric system in milliliters and that parents be provided a graduated dosing device in milliliters when receiving their prescription or over the counter medication at the drug store.

Patient and Parent Education Opportunity

This is also a perfect place for nurses to include some patient education information for parents of small children. Have a few different versions of graduated liquid measuring devices intended for medications on hand and demonstrate their use for the parents when they are seen.

Give them the one they like best to take home with them so they can use it the next time they need to give medication to their children. You’ll know that they understand because you demonstrated it to them when they were in the office. This only takes about 5 minutes and can be done after the pediatrician leaves the room after an examination is completed.

Do you have an idea of how to implement something like this differently of more effectively? Shoot me an email to and let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Pain Assessment and Management in Delirium Patients and Episode 305.



Tagged with →  
Share →

Leave a Reply