Avoiding medicine mistakes

April 14, 2008 6:20:59 AM PDT
What can you do at the hospital or clinic to help avoid mistakes with your child's medicines?
  • Make sure your child is weighed in kilograms at the time of admission.
  • No high risk drug should be administered to your child until they have been weighed, unless it is an emergency.
  • Ask if the hospital uses pediatric-specific medication formulations and concentrations.
  • Find out what hospital in your area provides specialty training for all practitioners involved in the care of infants and children. Ask if they have a pediatric intensive care unit.
  • Ask the hospital where they will refer your child if there is a problem.
  • Make sure your child's doctors, nurses and other caregivers check your child's wristband and ask their name before giving them medicine. Some patients get a medicine that was supposed to go to another patient.
  • Don't be afraid to tell a caregiver if you think your child is about to get the wrong medicine.
  • Know what time your child should get a medicine. If they don't get it then, speak up.
  • Tell your child's caregiver if they don't feel well after taking a medicine. Ask for help immediately if you think they are having a side effect or reaction.
  • Your child may be given IV (intravenous) fluids. Read the bag to find out what is in it. Ask the caregiver how long it should take for the liquid to run out. Tell the caregiver if it's dripping too fast or too slow.
  • Get a list of your child's medicines -- including their new ones. Read the list carefully. Make sure it lists everything they are taking.

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