The Doctor Is In: Preventing medication errors with kids

Published: Apr. 6, 2017 at 4:17 AM CDT
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Medication errors happen every eight minutes in the United States. However, many are preventable and take just seconds to do.

As part of the weekly segment, “The Doctor Is In,” pediatrician Dr. Jeffrey Lamont of Marshfield Clinic joined the Sunrise 7 team to discuss how to reduce the chances of medication errors at home.

According to Marshfield Clinic, an average of 63,358 U.S. children experienced a medication error each year between 2002 and 2012. Most mistakes are solved by a phone call and only a small percentage leads to hospital admittance. But at least 25 deaths were attributed to medication errors.

The most common mistakes happen at home. They include;

• Double-dosing, usually because a parent forgot to tell the other parent he gave a dose or didn’t remember giving it.

• Children getting into parents’ or grandparents’ pill bottles, sometimes left open because the bottle is hard to open.

• Daily pill dispensers with no locks, containing colorful pills a child mistakes for candy

• Parent or other caregiver misreading labels.

• Parent or child deciding to increase the dosage for faster results.

• Older children trying adult drugs or sharing them with friends, especially if they are facing a big test at school.

• Giving a young child an over-the-counter medication for colds.

If there is a question of dose, doctors recommend calling the pharmacy making sure to speak in a clear voice to avoid errors in dose or mis-filling prescriptions for similar-sounding medications.