How to Avoid Medication Errors With Your Kids

doctor checking girl s throat tonsils by touching her neck

Worried you might give your child the wrong medication or make errors in dosage? Use these 6 steps to calm your fears!

by Troop Atomic Mommy

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It’s natural to feel anxious about giving your sick child medication, mainly because of the possibility of medication errors. When parents are given misinformation about their children’s illness, it can lead towards this kind of accident.

This fear is real and warranted.

When a hospital or doctor provides wrong diagnoses or treatment, it often leads to parents finding and hiring medical malpractice lawyers. But what happens when we are the ones who accidentally give our children the wrong medication or even the wrong dosage? Do we sue ourselves?

Here are six tips to protect children from such common medication mistakes:

#1 Avoid Relying on Memory 

At the pediatrician’s office, the physician may take the time to explain the correct dosage and the time to administer the medicine. You may need to take down notes or ask for the instructions in writing. Playing guesstimate, later on, may land your little one in an emergency room. 

If you do not understand parts of the instructions, request clarification before leaving the office. Be sure to re-read the instructions and label at home before administering medicine to your child. 

#2 Follow the Doctor’s Orders 

It can be tempting to stop the antibiotic medication once your child starts feeling better. However, ignoring the physician’s recommendations on the full course of treatment can result in bacteria resistance and more problems if the infection recurs. If the taste is unsavory, then ask your local pharmacy about adding flavors in or ask your doctor for information on mixing the medicine with food

#3 Use Proper equipment

You may need to have the right equipment to administer the prescribed medicine to your child. Avoid using the knife to split the tablet and use a pill splitter instead. 

Ensure that the syringe or medicine cup marking is visible to ensure correct dosing. Regular kitchen spoons do not have a standard size and should not be used. 

#4 Organize All Prescriptions 

It’s pretty easy to give the wrong medicine when panicked. You may need to make a list of all medications that your child has. Ensure that the containers have the correct and clear labels on them. 

You may need to carry the list of drugs to any doctor’s appointment that you honor. The list can prevent the physician from prescribing medication that can react with your child’s current one. 

#5 Don’t Leave the Responsibility to Your Child 

You may feel that your teenager is ready to take medicine without supervision. However, your teenage child may skip doses, take too much, or not enough if left without supervision.

You may need to provide some oversight, even for your older children. For school-going kids, you may need to speak with the respective teachers and school nurse about the rules regarding taking medicine in or to school. 

#6 Think Twice Before Giving Over-the-Counter Medication

You may need to be careful about giving your child unprescribed medication if you want to avoid a trip to the pediatric urgent care. That’s why you need to be sure to read through the instruction labels thoroughly. Before running out to give your child any OTC (over-the-counter) medication, be sure that your child’s doctor has given you the “Green Light” to do so. This is because some medications may have risk factors if mixed with others.

While we often think we know what’s best for our children, there have been times where what we thought was “okay” had negative side effects. Case in point, Heroin used to be administered for pain (ages ago) and Benadryl was looked to in order to soothe a child to sleep during flights. The side effects of both can have serious ramifications.

The Takeaway

Your child’s illness symptoms may cause you to panic. However, you may need to reconsider the above six steps before rushing to the medicine cabinet. Protect your child from medication errors and emergencies by always consulting a pediatrician first.

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