Child medication measurements confuse parents
July 14th, 2014
11:03 AM ET

Child medication measurements confuse parents

Do you know the difference between teaspoons and tablespoons?

Many parents don’t, according to a study published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which found more than 10,000 calls to the poison center each year are due to liquid medication dosage errors.

The study says part of the reason parents may be confused is because a range of measurement units - such as teaspoons, tablespoons and milliliters - are often used interchangeably on labels for prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Parents who used the teaspoon and tablespoon dosage were much more likely to use kitchen spoons to measure their child’s medication and were twice as likely to make an error in medication, according to the study. Parents who measured their child’s medication in milliliters were much less likely to make a dosage mistake.

About 40% of parents in the study incorrectly measured the dose their doctor prescribed.

The problem with teaspoon and tablespoon measurements is that their names sound similar, and their abbreviations, tsp. and tbsp., look similar, study author Dr. Shonna Yin said.

Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu said that in her practice, doctors prescribe in milliliters only, to decrease the likelihood of medication errors and overdoses.

“If I give a sample of a liquid medication in my office, I also give a syringe and show the parent where the marking is for the dose,” Shu said.

Parents should always use the dosing device, such as the cup or syringe, that comes with their child's liquid medication. Kitchen spoons are not a standard dosing device and aren’t safe to use, Shu said.

Shu also recommends that parents record the time and dosage of medicine they give their child, to make sure that they’re not giving too much or too often.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices have all recommended using milliliters as the only standard unit of measurement for liquid medications.

According to the study, adopting a milliliter-only unit of measurement would reduce confusion and decrease medication errors, especially for parents with low health literacy or limited English proficiency.

If you suspect you have given your child an incorrect dose of medication, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

soundoff (1,530 Responses)
  1. camper furniture replacement


    May 12, 2021 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JebgEncox

    rx pharmacy coupons https://pharmacylo.com/ online pharmacy price checker

    May 12, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Van Repair Abs

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't fail me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I genuinely believed you'd have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    May 12, 2021 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sprinter Repair

    This is the right web site for everyone who hopes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been written about for years. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 12, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. horse trailer painting

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I truly thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 12, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. rv restoration

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!


    May 12, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Freightliner Sprinter Repair Near Me


    May 12, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Interior Designer Orange County


    May 12, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Couches Near Me


    May 12, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. bus mechanic near me


    May 12, 2021 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. oranges for sale near me

    It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people about this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 12, 2021 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. toilet repair near me


    May 12, 2021 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. upholstery repair shop near me

    This is the perfect web site for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time. Great stuff, just great!


    May 12, 2021 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. slots

    I'm really enjoying the theme/design of your site.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
    A small number of my blog visitors have complained about
    my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera.
    Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

    May 12, 2021 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Technician Orange County

    Hey there! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have here on this post. I'll be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    May 12, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Sound System Riverside


    May 12, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. school bus repair near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 12, 2021 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Mercedes Benz Dealer Service Sprinter Near Me 91605


    May 13, 2021 at 01:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    May 13, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. oc trailers

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article plus the rest of the website is extremely good.


    May 13, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. BbshMile

    how much is viagra at walmart https://loxviagra.com/ womens viagra

    May 13, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. camper frame repair

    bookmarked!!, I love your website!


    May 13, 2021 at 06:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. orange skye body and beauty bar


    May 13, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. camper fiberglass repair


    May 13, 2021 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. camera repair california


    May 13, 2021 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rex trailers horse

    I used to be able to find good info from your blog posts.


    May 13, 2021 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Mb Sprinter Repair Shop


    May 13, 2021 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. storno brzinol

    The heart of your writing while sounding reasonable in the beginning, did not sit very well with me personally after some time. Somewhere within the paragraphs you actually were able to make me a believer but just for a short while. I nevertheless have got a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do well to help fill in all those gaps. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I could surely be amazed.


    May 13, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Upholstery Near Me

    Great info. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!


    May 13, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. AnooEncox

    tempo viagra faz efeito http://llviagra.com/ counterfeit viagra phuket

    May 13, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FmrfEncox

    cialis tabs http://cialisee.com/ cialis over the counter in mexico

    May 13, 2021 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mercedes Sprinter Van Abs Repair


    May 13, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. repair blinds near me

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 13, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. camper mechanics near me

    This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 13, 2021 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. dj rv center

    Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 14, 2021 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. LebnEncox

    no prescription online pharmacy https://xlnpharmacy.com/ cheap viagra online canadian pharmacy

    May 14, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. storno brzinol

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!


    May 14, 2021 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 32955 Sprinter Repair


    May 14, 2021 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 2008 Dodge Sprinter Exhaust Repair

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this in my hunt for something concerning this.


    May 14, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. how to repair a slide out on a travel trailer


    May 14, 2021 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. homes for sale riverstone

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.


    May 14, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. vcm collision center

    Very nice post. I certainly appreciate this website. Keep it up!


    May 14, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RebfZisse

    cialis on line http://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis costco price where to buy cialis soft tabs

    May 15, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Maserati Body

    You've made some decent points there. I checked on the net for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


    May 15, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Maserati Truck Price


    May 15, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Used Maserati Convertible

    Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    May 15, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. houses for sale coeur d' alene


    May 15, 2021 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Eyewear Near Me


    May 15, 2021 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Eye Care Near Me

    Good post! We will be linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    May 15, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rv parts san diego ca

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.


    May 15, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Leave a Reply to Rosette Peros


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.