Pediatric Medication Error Statistics: Children Below One at Highest Risk

baby%20rattle.jpgFew are at a higher risk for medication errors than pediatric patients. Few patients are also at much higher risk of injury from such errors, than children. Medication errors involving children are far more common than we know.

One reason for this fact is that the most frequent factors affecting pediatric medication errors are unlike those the error rates involving adults. A recently published study in the journal Pediatrics furnished the following findings. Every year…

• Approximately 63,358 medication errors involving children below the age of six, are recorded across the country.
• Approximately 25% of those errors involve infants below the age of one.
• Out of the more than 200,000 out-of-hospital medication errors reported to poison control centers, involve children below the age of six.
• Dosage errors were the most common with the most frequent errors being incorrect dosage, giving the wrong medications, giving the same medication twice, or confusing the units of measure.
• The younger the child, the higher the risk of a serious medication error because older children are more likely to inform a parent when they notice something wrong with their medications.
• Liquid formulations are more likely to be involved in medication errors, because most children tend to be given many liquid medications and parents may find it difficult to measure liquid formulations.
• More medication errors occur during the winter over the summer, possibly due to the fact that children are more likely to come down with respiratory and other infections during winter months.
• The number of errors involving herbal supplements increased significantly during the study period.
• Most medication errors involve antihistamines and muscle relaxants.

Some of the most frequent causes of medication errors are over dosages that occur when the child is given the same medication twice. For example, one parent may give the child the medication without realizing the other parent has already administered the same medication. Training parents about such over dosages, better labeling on prescription drugs, and the use of metric dosing systems could also help reduce medication errors involving children.

Medication errors in hospitals contribute to thousands of patient injuries every year. If you have suffered an injury because of a medication error, speak to one of our attorneys who specializes in Indiana medical malpractice law. Call 888-599-2640 today or fill out the contact form provided on our site.