Young Children at Risk from Wrong Medicine Doses

Every year, an average of 63,358 medication errors occur in children younger than age 6, and 25% of those errors are in infants, younger than 12 months old—that comes down to a child in the United States being given the wrong medicine or wrong dose every eight minutes, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. More than 200,000 out-of-hospital medication errors are reported to U.S. poison control centers annually, and approximately 30% of these cases involve children under 6 years of age. These mistakes occur outside of the hospital, doctor’s office or clinic and typically involve liquid medications (81.9%). The most common error was incorrect dosing: giving the wrong dose (17.8%); giving the correct dose, but inadvertently giving it twice (27%); or confusing the units of measure (8.2%), according to the study. Giving or taking the wrong medication was seen in 7.8% of cases. Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Central Ohio Poison Center and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, all in Columbus, OH reviewed data from the National Poison Database System and looked at medication errors that occurred in the community from 2002 through 2012 among children younger than age 6 years. Related from NCPIE – see Be MedWise