New to Bounty?
By Dr. Sarah Gleeson, Family HQ
Why are correct medication dosages so important? Because children are vulnerable, and because parents are human beings, and we make mistakes. Especially when we’re tired and are caring for unwell children.
For some reason, there is a tendency for parents to give young children too much medicine. Many parents think that the calculated amounts ‘must not be enough’. Children are much more likely to get too much medicine if it’s in a liquid form, such as pain or fever relief and antibiotics and this can have serious health consequences.
Family HQ was founded by Liz Crowe and Dr. Sarah Gleeson (pictured), two sisters with a shared passion for family health.
In NSW in 2019, the Poisons Information Hotline received more than 1,300 calls in a 10-month period related to accidental paracetamol and ibuprofen overdose in children.
Did you know that in 2016 a study published in the American Journal of Pediatrics showed that when over 2000 parents were tested on their ability to accurately draw up a medicine, a staggering 84 percent of parents made at least 1 error, and that 68 percent of those errors were overdoses.
Things that parents found challenging were different tools to measure the medicine (spoon, syringe or cup), and different ways units of measure were presented (ml, millilitres etc).
Numerous other paediatric studies have shown “that a significant percentage of the parents did not use the correct equipment to administer medications, used non-prescription medicines, did not administer medications at correct intervals and mixed medication into foods”.
Other studies suggest that parents frequently misunderstand instructions regarding how to administer medication to their children correctly, with over 40 percent of caregivers making errors in dosing liquid medications.
The Poisons Information Hotline received more than 1,300 calls in a 10-month period related to accidental paracetamol and ibuprofen overdose in children.
For over-the-counter medications:
Always use the syringe provided in the pack. Never EVER use a spoon.
For prescription medications:
By following all the tips outlined in this post, as well as always following the on-pack guidelines, you’ll be doing everything you can to minimise the risk of accidentally giving your child an incorrect dose.
Worried you’ve given too much? You can call the friendly team at Poisons Info 24hrs a day on 131126 and they will give you calm advice about what to do next.
As a mum to 3 boys under 7, I know how hard it can be to keep track of who gave what medication and when they’re unwell. The Family HQ App is a medication tracker designed to help parents accurately track essential information when their child is sick.