Spoon-feeding is nurturing, until you give kids the wrong dose

Researchers from New York University School of Medicine analysed data from 287 English or Spanish speaking parents whose children had been prescribed liquid medications in two emergency departments, including antibiotics (80.5%) and steroids (17.4%).

The researchers compared the children’s prescribed dose with both the parent’s knowledge of the prescribed dose and with an observed dose, given by the parent to the child in the presence of a researcher using the parent’s chosen measuring instrument.

Errors were categorised as deviations in measurement that were equal to or greater than 20%.

Almost a third of parents (31.7%) made an error in their knowledge of the dose and 40% made an error of measurement. Compared to parents who used a standard millilitre measuring instrument (38% oral syringe, 16% dropper, 13.9% dosing cup), those who used a tablespoon or teaspoon (16.7%) were twice as likely to make an error.

The study