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Doctors: Child Medication Should Be Measured In Millimeters To Avoid Overdose

Out with the teaspoon and tablespoon measurements when it comes to child medication U.S. pediatricians say. The best way to measure liquid medications for children is in metric milliliters according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Metric dosing is the most precise way to dose medications and prevent overdoses,” said Dr. Ian Paul, lead author of a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Philly reported.

child medication

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Accidental medication overdoses accounts for more than 70,000 trips to U.S. emergency rooms by children each year, according to background information with the statement, which was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Two common instances for overdosing are incorrect measurement of the medicine and using the wrong device to measure it out – giving a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon, for instance.

“There are increasing data that suggest that some dosing errors and overdoses occur when parents use spoons to dose medications,” said Paul, chief of academic general pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey to Philly.

“In fact, the 1975 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement cited in the current report suggested that oral syringes were the best and most precise way to deliver accurate medication doses,” he added.

The new policy statement expands even further, recommending exclusive use of the metric system, specifically milliliters being abbreviated with mL.

“By the whole health care system adopting a single approach, the consistency will be of further benefit and more similar to how medications are dosed around the world, where metric dosing has been routine and standard,” Paul said.

Paula added that doctors are already familiar with metric dosing, but patients, parents and caregivers may require instruction. Paul added the switch is based upon “new evidence suggesting this is both more accurate and less likely to cause large dosing errors.”

Dr. Roy Benaroch, an assistant adjunct professor of pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta added that the biggest advantage for using only metric dosing is consistency and clarity.

Doctors: Child Medication Should Be Measured In Millimeters To Avoid Overdose

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