Today's guest blogger is Blair Thornley, PharmD, CSPI, a pharmacist at the Poison Control Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This is the first of two posts during National Poison Prevention Week.
It's 2:30 in the morning, and little Johnnie needs a dose of ibuprofen because he still has a fever that just refuses to break. Mom grabs the bottle of ibuprofen from the medicine cabinet and gives her son his usual 5 mL dose. When she turns on the light to find her way back to the bathroom, she realizes that she accidentally gave him the Infant Drops formula instead of the Children's Suspension. The infant drops are twice as concentrated, so he was unintentionally given a double dose.
We often hear about situations like this at the Poison Control Center. As a matter of fact, more than 200,000 medication errors have been reported annually to PCCs nationwide. Of this number, approximately 30 percent involve children under the age of 6. Luckily, most of these exposures can be managed at home, and do not result in serious harm to the child. In light of this statistic, we wanted to discuss some ways to help avoid making these mistakes.
We know mistakes are bound to happen when you're trying to multi-task on the go, or it's in the middle of the night. Keeping these tips in mind can not only help keep a child from harm, but in some cases, it might even save a child's life. Even if a mistake does occur, don't panic. Keep the Poison Control number (1-800-222-1222) handy, and never hesitate to give us a call. Pharmacists and nurses are available 24/7 to help you assess the risk of toxicity.