Protecting the Gift Excerpt
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The first rule of safety for any medicine is to give the right dose at the right time interval.
Prescription drugs come with precise instructions from the doctor, and parents should follow them carefully. OTC drugs also have dosing instruction on their labels. Getting the dosage right for an OTC drug is just as important as it is for a prescription drug.
Reactions and overdosing can happen with OTC products, especially if parents don't understand the label or fail to measure the medicine correctly. Similar problems can also occur when parents give children several different kinds of medicine with duplicate ingredients.
"People should exercise some caution about taking a bunch of medicines and loading them onto a kid," Botstein says.
Pediatric liquid medicines can be given with a variety of dosing instruments: plastic medicine cups, hypodermic syringes without needles, oral syringes, oral droppers, and cylindrical dosing spoons.
Whether they measure teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, or milliliters, these devices are preferable to using regular tableware to give medicines because one type of teaspoon may be twice the size of another. If a product comes with a particular measuring device, it's best to use it instead of a device from another product.
It's also important to read measuring instruments carefully. The numbers on the sides of the dosing instruments are sometimes small and difficult to read. In at least one case, they were inaccurate. In 1992, FDA received a report of a child who had been given two tablespoons of acetaminophen rather than two teaspoons because the cup had confusing measurements printed on it. The incident prompted a nationwide recall of medicines with dosage cups.
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