When your child gets sick, giving them medication can be an added stress on the parents. Especially if it’s the first time giving your child medicine, it can be a confusing experience.
It turns out, most parents are measuring it out incorrectly.
“It tends to be the number one question, dosing,” Dr. Eehab Kenawy, a pediatrician with Emerald Coast Pediatrics, said.
A study published in “Pediatrics” this month shows more than two-thirds of parents incorrectly measure out liquid medication for their kids. Most of them tend to over-medicate.
Dr. Kenawy says he sees parents make this mistake with his patients.
“Yes, there are always questions and concerns and errors that we do see,” he said.
His advice, stick with a measuring cup or syringe labeled in milliliters.
“The dosing can be a little bit different from your regular kitchen teaspoon to the actual measurement,” Dr. Kenawy said.
Even if you’re in a rush, don’t use the bottle’s cap as a measurement or let your child take a swig out of the bottle. Side effects for over-medicating tend to mirror the ones listed on the containers.
“They may be a little more exacerbated given the higher dose,” Dr. Kenawy said.
Dr. Kenawy says there’s not a huge risk of overdosing on most over-the-counter medicine or antibiotics.
“To get into toxic levels or very high levels, we’re typically talking 10 times to greater number of the dose,” he said.
But prescription medications can be a different story.
“Depending on the medication, especially if you’re dealing with any kind of seizure medication, any medications for chronic conditions, those are probably going to be more detrimental if you’re starting to overdose, even two or three times the regular dose,” Dr. Kenway said.
Bottom line, Dr. Kenaway recommends following the directions on the label, but when in doubt call your doctor before giving your child their medication.
“We’ve seen errors,” he said. “Errors can happen from physicians, they can happen from nursing staff, they can happen from pharmacists.”
You can find resources for correct dosing here.