Spoonfuls can lead to medicine errors, study finds recently

CHICAGO (AP) – The song says a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but a study says that kind of imprecise measurement can lead to potentially dangerous dosing mistakes.

The results, published online Monday in Pediatrics, underscore recommendations that droppers and syringes that measure in milliliters be used for liquid medicines – not spoons.

The study involved nearly 300 parents, mostly Hispanics, with children younger than 9 years old. The youngsters were treated for various illnesses at two New York City emergency rooms and sent home with prescriptions for liquid medicines, mostly antibiotics.

Parents were contacted afterward and asked by phone how they had measured the prescribed doses. They also brought their measuring devices to the researchers’ offices to demonstrate doses they’d given their kids.

Parents who used spoonfuls “were 50 percent more likely to give their children incorrect doses than those who measured in more precise milliliter units,” said Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a co-author and associate professor at New York University’s medical school.