Study: Most parents give young kids wrong doses of medicine

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A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that a startling number of parents give their kids incorrect doses of medicine.

John Rubino, a parent in Massapequa, says he pays close attention when giving medicine to his 3-year-old son.

"I read the package thoroughly," he says. "The doctor is prescribing a certain dosage for a reason. I don't want to under give it and not have the medicine be effective -- or overdose it."

But the study found that nearly 84 percent of parents have made at least one dosing error when administering medicine to their young children.

"Part of it is mathematical error, parents making mistakes," says Dr. John Zaso, a pediatrician. 

He says many parents are confused between milliliters and standard measurements. For years, American moms and dads have relied on teaspoons, tablespoons and ounces. But now, physicians use the metric system. Zaso says parents should avoid using kitchen utensils like tablespoons to measure medicine.

For its part, the pharmaceutical companies are in the process of standardizing dosage devices, Zaso says.

"Little by little, they're going to transition to all milliliter measurements," he says. "This way what we tell them is what the device says, and they shouldn't have an issue with that."

Hicksville mom Jennifer Vila says that's a good idea, but parents need to educate themselves as well.

"I think it's very important to be very, very careful and to read everything carefully," she says. "As far as dosages, parents shouldn't be lackadaisical about dosages, because you could over medicate your children. It's a dangerous thing."

A dangerous thing that still happens, according to Zaso.

"The other problem is people are rushing," he says. "They're not being careful, and they're not paying attention."

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