Syringes Better Than Cups for Oral Pediatric Dosing by Parents

Dosing errors were almost five times more likely when parents used cups to measure liquid medications than when they used oral syringes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends metric-based dosing of oral liquid medications to reduce dosing errors by parents (Physician's First Watch Mar 30 2015). To examine the effect of medication-label and dosing-tool characteristics on dosing errors, researchers asked parents at three pediatric clinics to measure three doses of liquid medication (2.5, 5, and 7.5 mL) using three tools (30-mL dosing cup, syringe marked in 0.2-mL increments, and syringe marked in 0.5-mL increments), in random order. Parents were randomized into five groups that were given different pairings of units on the medication labels (dose in mL only, teaspoon only, or mL and teaspoon) and tools (markings in mL only or mL and teaspoon). Dosing error was defined as >20% deviation from labeled dose. Read more.