BookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxFilledCheckBoxCircleBumpCheckedFilledMedical

AAP: How to Reduce Home Medication Errors That Impact Young Kids

The new policy states why these errors happen and what physicians, pharmacists and parents can do to help prevent them.
save article
profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Updated December 19, 2021
Hero Image
Image: Getty Images

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has put out a new policy to help decrease errors that occur when giving medicine to babies at home.

According to the policy, published in the December 2021 issue of Pediatrics, these errors can happen for several reasons related to the frequency, formulation and use of expired products, as well as how the medicine is given, prepared and stored. Kids with special needs, chronic conditions or several medications can be at higher risk for errors.

The AAP believes physicians and pharmacists can contribute to these mistakes if they’re not providing parents with clear information about the instructions, units of measurement, any abbreviations used in the prescription or changes to the strength and concentration. According to the AAP, approximately 21 million American parents have low health literacy, and they may not understand prescriptions, over-the-counter labels, measurement devices, active ingredient information or weight-based dosages. Parents who may not be as proficient in English (about 12 percent of American parents) may be at even greater risk of misunderstanding and making mistakes.

In the new policy, the AAP recommends that physicians start reviewing medications during office visits and ensuring parents are using them correctly. Plus, they advise parents to use the standard dosing and administration tool that comes with each medication rather than spoons. The reason? Around 80 percent of the medicines given to babies at home are in liquid form, and kitchen spoons vary in size and shape, making them an improper tool to measure dosage.

Other recommendations in the policy include:

  • Improved communication between caregivers and healthcare providers
  • Simplified medication regimens (as much as possible)
  • Using mL for dosing units (rather than spoon-based or non metric units)
  • Provide verbal counseling in the caregiver’s preferred language, using a trained interpreter where necessary
  • Provider should consider including the patient’s weight in prescriptions so pharmacists can double check the dose
  • Teach caregivers how to safely dispose of unused medications

Parents, if you’re ever confused about the medication or dosage your child needs, or if you simply have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to your pediatrician. For more tips and information on giving baby the right dosage, check out these tips from the AAP.

save article
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

mom feeding baby formula from bottle
Is It Safe to Give Baby Probiotics? Experts Weigh in
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
mother giving child medicine in bed
When to Give Your Kid Children’s Benadryl: Dosage Chart and Tips
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
mother giving infant medicine
When Can Baby Have Acetaminophen? Infant Tylenol Dosage Chart and Tips
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
newborn baby looking up and being held
You Might Be Able to Get Money From the Infants’ Tylenol Settlement
By Nehal Aggarwal
melatonin gummy bears
Day Care Under Investigation After Using Melatonin Gummies to Help Toddlers Nap
By Anisa Arsenault
tamiflu capsule
Parents: Read This Before Reaching for the Tamiflu
By Ashley Edwards Walker
Mother and toddler in stroller buying medical marijuana
Why This Toddler Is Approved for Medical Marijuana
By Anisa Arsenault
ADVERTISEMENT
Illustration of eyedropper with liquid drop.
When to Give Baby Ibuprofen
By The Bump Editors
empty prescription medicine bottles
Why Are Babies Being Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs: One Doctor Weighs in
By Linda Lagemann, PhD
Q&A: When Should I Give Baby Acetaminophen - and How Much Is Safe?
Q&A: When Should I Give Baby Acetaminophen - and How Much Is Safe?
By The Bump Editors
ADVERTISEMENT
How Can I Get Baby to Take His Medicine?
How Can I Get Baby to Take His Medicine?
By Anisa Arsenault
Tool: Acetaminophen Chart
Tool: Acetaminophen Chart
By The Bump Editors
Tool: Ibuprofen Chart
Tool: Ibuprofen Chart
By The Bump Editors
ADVERTISEMENT
Giving Baby Antibiotics Linked to Adulthood Illness: Study
Giving Baby Antibiotics Linked to Adulthood Illness: Study
By Anisa Arsenault
Q&A: Infant Cold Medications in the News?
Q&A: Infant Cold Medications in the News?
By Paula Kashtan
AAP: Measure Children's Medicine in Milliliters
AAP: Measure Children's Medicine in Milliliters
By Anisa Arsenault
Giving Your Newborn Probiotics? Read This First
Giving Your Newborn Probiotics? Read This First
By Anisa Arsenault
ADVERTISEMENT
mother brushing baby's hair
Everything You Need to Know About Baby Hair
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
doctor examining child with eczema on arm
Parents’ Vaping Could Increase Baby’s Eczema Risk, Study Says
By Wyndi Kappes
doctor weighing baby on scale
Everything to Know About Baby Percentiles
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.