Keeping Children Safe

 

Some people have been told they have an "allergy" to gluten. What this actually means is that their body can't tolerate foods with gluten. This intolerance, called Celiac disease, has been on the rise in recent years.

Most people recognize that accidental poisonings in children are a daily occurrence in the US. But you may be surprised to learn one common source of these poisonings: grandparents’ medications! A scientific study conducted at the Long Island Poison Center1 found that about two of every 10 medicine poisonings in children involved grandparents’ medications. Most of these poisonings, caused by what the study participants called the “Granny Syndrome,” involved grandparents’ medicines that had been left on a table or countertop, on low shelves, or in grandmothers’ purses.

Our database of reported medication errors now contains hundreds of cases of accidental mix-ups between adult and pediatric products used to immunize patients against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). Several reports involve errors that affected numerous patients. In one report alone, 80 clinic patients were given the wrong vaccine. In all, these mix-ups may be affecting thousands of patients given that not all cases are reported to ISMP. We first reported this problem in 2006 (Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Adacel (Tdap) and Daptacel (DTaP) confusion. ISMP Medication Safety Alert! August 24, 2006).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning of the potential risk of overdosing infants with liquid vitamin D.  Some liquid vitamin D supplement products on the market come with droppers that could allow parents and caregivers to accidentally give harmful amounts of the vitamin to an infant. These droppers can hold a greater amount of liquid vitamin D than an infant should receive. Parents and caregivers should only use the dropper that comes with the vitamin D supplement purchased.

You may have seen some advertisements for testosterone gel products that men can apply to the skin when they have documented low testosterone (male hormone) levels. Restored testosterone may lead to increases in sexual desire, mood and energy.

Doggy drops in your child's ear? Who would ever make that mistake? Well, people do. A father told the babysitter to put in his son's ear drops before bed, and the careful babysitter did. She found ear drops labeled "put two drops in right ear" in the medicine cabinet and did so. But the family's dog also had a bottle of ear drops, which were the drops the babysitter used.

Medications for children are frequently ordered by the "dropperful". There are several problems with these orders. First there is too much room for misinterpretation of what might constitute a dropperful. One individual might consider it to be a dropper filled to the upper calibration mark.

Many parents draw liquid medicines into syringes to make them easier to give to children. But did you know it could be dangerous if you do not use the proper type of syringe? Children have swallowed or choked on the caps of hypodermic syringes when these syringes were used to give liquid medicines by mouth.

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Medication Safety Alerts

FDA Safety Alerts

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