Warning To Parents

Parents should be aware that not all spoons are created equally, especially when it comes to dispensing drugs to their children. In fact, experts are warning parents to avoid using household spoons when giving children their medication.

The reason for this is because the wide range of volumes that they hold. This, in turn, can lead to significant inaccuracies in the dosages given, ranging from too little to, in some cases, overdoses by as much as 100%.

Doctors had previously issued warnings concerning the use of household spoons, some of which can hold twice or even triple the volume of others. This wide variability increases any issues with dosing.

A Common Problem

Researchers recently took a closer look at this problem by comparing spoons from numerous households. What they found was the amount of liquid each spoon could hold varied considerably, with a range of anywhere between 2.5ml to 7.3ml (average volume 4.4ml) for teaspoons and 6.7ml to 13.4ml for tablespoons (average volume 10.4ml).

Not only were there big differences between spoons in different households, but the situation existed even within the same household, with an average person involved in the study in possession of one to three different spoons. Some have as many five or six.

Needless to say, these numbers increase the chances of dosing errors. The problem is of particular concern for children, where dosing needs to be adjusted according to the child's age and weight. Consequently, children are more vulnerable to dosage problems than adults.

What To Do

The findings, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, have led experts to strongly urge parents to:

  • avoid using household spoons when giving medicine to children
  • use the calibrated measuring spoons or cups included with the medicine
  • use a calibrated medicine syringe

A syringe is the best method to dispense medicine. Not only will it ensure accurate measurement of the drug, but it cannot be pushed away or spilled like a spoon. They are also effective in helping parents in situations where the kids are very young or are resistant to taking their medication.

These syringes can easily be obtained from your pediatrician or pharmacist. They are inexpensive and give parents the peace of mind that they are giving an accurate amount of medicine to their children.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to voice them to your pediatrician or pharmacist.

This post was included in the Everything Home Blog Carnival and The Homesteading Carnival.