Most Parents Make a Mistake When Measuring Their Kids' Medicine, Study Finds

The good news: There's a cheap and easy way to get it right.

Sorry, Mary Poppins, but it's time to ditch the spoonful for something a little more accurate.

When your child is sick and you're prepping their liquid medication, you might think your measurement is spot-on... or at least close enough. But it's probably not, according to a September 2016 study in Pediatrics.

We get it: Parenting is tough. And when you're already exhausted and trying to comfort a sick kid, it's even tougher. In the study, researchers asked 2,100 parents to measure out nine doses of liquid medication using three different devices — two types of oral syringes and one dosing cup. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. More than 84 percent of the parents made at least one mistake when measuring out the medication — and that was without the stress of having their little ones crying in the background.

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What's worse, more than 20 percent of the parents measured twice the amount of medication that was required, which, in a real-world setting, could cause a child to overdose or experience other serious health problems.

The researchers found a significant difference in the number of dosage mistakes when it came to the measuring devices: Parents made a mistake 43 percent of the time when they used a dosage cup, but only made a mistake 16 percent of the time when they used an oral syringe. And that's exactly why doctors suggest using an oral syringe instead of the standard dosage cup.

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"With the cups, it's hard to get the right dose," Dr. Oz told Today. "From now on, buy one of the syringes. Stock up for emergencies. Don't rely on a cup or crazy other utensils you have in your home."

One child under 6 years old has a medication error every 8 minutes, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. That's more than 200,000 out-of-hospital medication errors a year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Luckily, the mistake is easy to avoid if you have the proper tools. You can find oral syringes at your local drugstore for less than $5.

[H/T Today]

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