After reviewing a decade of poison control hotline data, researchers determined
that 63,358 children were the victim of a medication mistake each year,
Reuters reported. According to Forbes, 400 suffered serious injury and
25 died in that 10 years.

Both Forbes and Fox News suggested those numbers may actually have been
higher, since some parents may not have realized their mistake, others
may have turned to Google instead of the poison control hotline, and still
more may have been worried about the police getting involved.

Who’s Making These Mistakes and How Can They Be Prevented?

“Most studies have focused on medication mistakes in healthcare facilities
like hospitals,” Reuters said. “Less is known about mistakes
that happen with children’s medicine at home.”

Researchers found that approximately 25 percent of the errors studied were
due to parents giving their child a double dose. Eighty-two percent involved
liquid medicine, per Fox News. With regard to the latter statistic, the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that children are more likely
to take liquid medicine.

Study co-author Henry Spiller, who serves as director of the Central Ohio
Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, recommended
that parents ensure they’re giving their child the right drug, the
correct dosage, and to focus on the task at hand. Communication is also key.

“A lot of these medication errors occur [d]uring these distracted
periods,” he said. “What typically happens is, the mother
goes in and gives the children a dose, then cares for another kid or makes
dinner. The father comes in and wants to help and gives the child a dose.
And then they talk, and they found they double-dosed their child.”

The CDC has said, “Parents are more likely to make mistakes when
giving medicines to infants and toddlers than to older children.”
In fact, children under age 1 were the most common victim of a medication
mistake, according to this 2002 to 2012 study.

Senior author Dr. Huiyun Xiang, who serves as professor of medicine at
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, suggested that parents
download an app that helps schedule and track what medication they’ve
administered and how much. He also advised using the measuring cups that
come with liquid medications.

The CDC is working to take the confusion out of labeling and instructions
by “standardizing measurements for liquid medication to millimeters
rather than teaspoons or tablespoons, and placing zeroes before decimal
points on dosage labels,” Fox News said.

In the meantime, companies are taking matters into their own hands. For
instance, Tylenol has posted a safety chart that tells parents how many
teaspoons or tablets to give their child, based on his or her weight.

We hope the above tips help you during cold and flu season. If you believe
a medical professional made a medication mistake that resulted in serious
injury or death, attorney
Chris Mellino welcomes you to
contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation before Ohio’s statute
of limitations expires on your potential claim. You may also download
Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide,
Your Ohio Medical Malpractice Questions Answered, read
testimonials, and learn about previous
case results.