Poor Math Skills Linked to Medication Dosage Errors
Pediatric Academic Society’s annual meeting this past Saturday, the findings of a new study were presented. According to the study, children are much more likely to receive the wrong dose of a medication if their parents have poor math skills.
ABC 7 reports the study focused on 289 parents of children under 8. These children were prescribed liquid medication by doctors at a pediatric emergency department. The parents took tests which measured their math and reading skills. They were also observed readying doses of the medication for their children.
Of the parents who participated, approximately one third had poor reading skills and 83 percent struggled with math. 27 percent of the participants had math skills at or below a third grade level. During the study, 41 percent of parents made medication dosing mistakes. Researchers found the parents who had lower math skills were five times more likely to make a
The study’s authors cited a difficulty in converting between units of measurement as one of the primary causes of the dosing errors. Dr. H. Shonna Yin, assistant professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center, co-wrote the study. According to Yin the research results may help doctors improve their dosage instructions. Solutions like demonstrating how to measure a dose and providing photos of a properly measured dose were discussed.