Since I recently wrote an article about teaching young children to swallow pills, here is another reason to teach this to children sooner than later. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new policy statement encouraging parents, physicians and pharmacists to use only metric measurements on prescriptions,medication labels and dosing cups to ensure that kids receive the correct dose of medication.
In other words, no measuring medications with teaspoons or tablespoons and especially not the ones in the cereal drawer. Because spoons come in many sizes, they are not precise enough to measure a child’s medication. For infants, toddlers and young children, a small error in dosing, especially if repeated for many doses, may be toxic.
These recommendations also mean that doctors, like myself, need to prescribe medications in metric units like milliliters rather than teaspoons. We also need to instruct parents to use metric dosing devices, and not any measuring devices that have confusing markings with both teaspoons, tablespoons and milliliters. The medication should also come with an appropriate sized dosing device to avoid the possibility of two and three fold dosing errors.
The recommendations also call for manufacturers of over the counter medications to eliminate labeling, instructions and dosing devices that contain units other than metric units...no more 1 teaspoon, but rather 5 milliliters.
I am going to make a conscious effort to make sure that I am now writing my prescriptions with the correct units and help make dosing errors less of a problem and all medications safer for my “little” patients.
No more kitchen spoons!!!