Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using domestic spoons to give children medicine increases overdose risk, doctors warn

Date:
July 16, 2010
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
Parents are being urged not to use domestic spoons to give children medicine after a study found significant differences in capacity. A parent using one of the biggest domestic teaspoons would be giving their child 192 per cent more medicine than a parent using the smallest teaspoon and the difference was 100 per cent for the tablespoons. This increases the chance of a child receiving an overdose or indeed too little medication.

Parents are being urged not to use domestic spoons to give children medicine after a study found significant differences in capacity. A parent using one of the biggest domestic teaspoons would be giving their child 192 per cent more medicine than a parent using the smallest teaspoon and the difference was 100 per cent for the tablespoons. This increases the chance of a child receiving an overdose or indeed too little medication.

Medical experts have warned parents that using domestic spoons to dispense children's medicine could lead to overdoses after discovering that some hold two to three times as much as others.

The study in the August issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice, looked at 71 teaspoons and 49 tablespoons collected from 25 households in Attica, Greece.

It found that the capacity of the teaspoons ranged from 2.5ml to 7.3ml, with an average and median volume of 4.4ml. The capacity of the tablespoons ranged from 6.7ml to 13.4ml, with an average of 10.4ml and a median of 10.3ml.

"The variations between the domestic spoon sizes was considerable and in some case bore no relation to the proper calibrated spoons included in many commercially available children's medicines" says Professor Matthew E Falagas, Director of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece.

"A parent using one of the biggest domestic teaspoons would be giving their child 192 per cent more medicine than a parent using the smallest teaspoon and the difference was 100 per cent for the tablespoons. This increases the chance of a child receiving an overdose or indeed too little medication."

The 25 women who took part in the study were aged between 24 and 84 with an average age of 48. Most had between one and three different teaspoons and tablespoons in their house, but two women had as many as six different teaspoons and one of those also had five different tablespoons.

"We not only found wide variations between households, we also found considerable differences within households" says Professor Falagas.

The researchers were also keen to see whether there were any differences when five of the women were asked to dispense liquid from a calibrated 5ml medicine spoon. They found that only one dispensed the correct dose of liquid, with three dispensing 4.8ml and one 4.9ml.

As a result of their findings, the researchers, from Athens and Boston, USA, are urging parents to use calibrated medicine syringes to dispense liquid medication to children. This method is also more effective if children are very young or reluctant to take medicine, as a spoon can be pushed away and spilt, leaving the parent unsure about how much the child has actually taken.

"Dosing and administering medication to children is different from adults" says Professor Falagas. "Paediatric dosages need to be adjusted to age and body weight and, as a result, children are considered to be more vulnerable to dosage errors than adults.

"Our research clearly shows that using domestic teaspoons and tablespoons can result in children receiving considerably more or less medicine than they need.

"Low-cost medicine syringes are widely available from pharmacists, very easy to use and will give parents greater confidence that they have dispensed the correct dose."

The authors also suggest that adults avoid using domestic spoons for themselves.

"Although adults do not face the same risk levels as children, we would still advise them to use properly calibrated spoons or cups if they take any liquid medicine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley - Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Falagas et al. Inaccuracies in dosing drugs with teaspoons and tablespoons. IJCP, 2010; 64 (9): 1185-1189 DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02402.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "Using domestic spoons to give children medicine increases overdose risk, doctors warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714084111.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2010, July 16). Using domestic spoons to give children medicine increases overdose risk, doctors warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714084111.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "Using domestic spoons to give children medicine increases overdose risk, doctors warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714084111.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins