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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Parents' medication administration errors: role of dosing instruments and health literacy.

Yin S, Mendelsohn AL, Wolf MS, et al. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine. 2010;164:181-6.

Efforts to develop health literacy interventions are one strategy to improve medication safety. In pediatric populations, the need for parents to understand liquid medication dosing poses additional risks. This study evaluated the role of dosing instrument type (e.g., cups, droppers, syringes) on parents' medication administration errors. Investigators found that dosing accuracy was lowest when using cups, and that cups were also associated with the largest deviations in dosing errors administered. Limited health literacy was also associated with parents' dosing errors. The Joint Commission has published recommendations for improving patient–provider communication to address safety problems caused by low health literacy, an example of which is discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M commentary. Accompanying this article [see link below] is an Advice for Patients educational page that highlights pearls for medication safety in children.