The Right Dose

A new study shows parents aren’t always sure just how much over-the-counter medicine to give their sick child. It can be pretty confusing.

Not quite two years old, little Aaron has an ear infection and fever. The kitchen cabinet is full of a confusing assortment of over-the-counter medicines.

Chanda is Aaron’s mom. “They’re not labeled for Aaron’s weight and age. I take a guess at it,” she says.

Even when the bottles have labels with weight, age and dose, a new study shows six out of ten parents don’t give the right amount.

A pediatric emergency physician, “These medications can have significant side effects, especially if they’re not used properly,” he says.

The first step is to know what your child weighs. That’s important because weight changes frequently in the early years. Next, read the label carefully, including any warnings. If it isn’t clear how much to give, pick up the phone. “A call to the physician if there’s any question is of vital importance,” says Dr.

Know how to measure medicine. Sounds simple — but a teaspoon doesn’t mean a spoon from the kitchen drawer. Instead, use a medicine syringe or cup that has clear, precise measurements.

Still confused? Then ask your pediatrician to show you. Getting it right can mean the difference between a well child and a sick child, or even one who gets a dangerous overdose.

Studies show that parents who get a demonstration of the right measuring device in their doctor’s office will show a great improvement in accuracy.

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