Use syringe, not cup, for kids’ dosing

syriges You wake up in the early hours of the morning to a coughing, crying child. Bleary-eyed, you pour out some cough medicine and hope you’ll both be able to go back to sleep. But what you don’t realize is that you accidentally measured out a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of medication — a mistake that could lead to serious side effects.

How often does this happen? Perhaps more than you think. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that over 84 percent of parents made at least one dosing error when asked to measure nine doses of medication. More than 20 percent made at least one error that contained over two times the dose they were supposed to give, and mistakes were more likely when participants used a dosing cup instead of a syringe. 

Researchers offer the following tips to make sure you give your child the proper dose:

  • Ask your child’s doctor to check your child’s weight and calculate the proper dose
  • Use an oral syringe, ideally one that comes with the medication.
  • Never use kitchen utensils to measure medicine. These can vary widely in size and shape.
  • Mark the correct amount on the syringe with a marker or piece of tape.