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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Pictograms, units and dosing tools, and parent medication errors: a randomized study.

Yin S, Parker RM, Sanders LM, et al. Pediatrics. 2017;140.

Inaccurate dosing of liquid medications for pediatric patients is known to contribute to medication errors. In this randomized controlled trial, parents of children younger than 9 were able to demonstrate a correct liquid medication dose when they received a dosing tool, such as a syringe, that corresponded more closely to the prescribed medication volume. Directions that include a picture were more likely to lead to accurate dosing compared to text-only instructions. This study adds to prior research demonstrating the need for literacy-friendly medication instructions, especially for dosing of liquid medications to children. Two of the coauthors, Michael S. Wolf and Stacy C. Bailey, described the implications of limited health literacy on patient safety in a past PSNet perspective.