Young Children Are Unintentionally Given Wrong Medications Frequently

By on October 20, 2014

According to a research conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, between 2002 and 2012 annually 63000 children who are under the age of 6 have experienced out of hospital medication errors.

In every eight minutes, one child is affected to medication error unintentionally by a well-meaning parent or caregiver.

The medication errors for children under six most commonly occur in children’s home, or another residence and school.

Painkillers and fever reducing medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are most common of such medications.

Young Children - Medication ErrorsThis study was published online in Pediatrics. Huiyun Xiang, MD, MPH, PhD is the author of this study, and is also director of the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, principal investigator at the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Xiang is also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Henry Spiller is the co-author of this study, and is also the director of the Central Ohio Poison Center.

Xiang said that this medication error is more common than the people may realize. The numbers reported does not reflect the actual magnitude of these incidents because these are just the cases reported to national prison centers.

These incidences include medication errors such as one child given same medication twice by caregivers, reading instructions wrongly and administering wrong medication to child.

Xiang said that medication error occurs more frequently in young children when compared to older children. And medication errors for children under age one account for 25% of such incidents.

Henry Spiller said that there are public health strategies, which are being used to reduce the frequency and severity of such medication errors in young children. Henry Spiller added that there is a need for product packing, which provides instructions on accurate dosage and better labeling in order to increase the visibility for parents.

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