Every eight minutes, a child experiences a medication error like taking the wrong drug or consuming too much, according to a new study published on Monday.
Researchers looked at out-of-hospital medication errors in the National Poison Database System from 2002 to 2012 and found that more 200,000 mishaps are reported to U.S. poison control centers every year, noted the study in the journal Pediatrics. In about 30% of those cases, the child is under age 6.
Nearly 82% of medication errors were from liquid medicine, followed by tablets and capsules at 14.9%, the researchers said. They added that errors increased as kids’ ages decreased, and that 27% of the mistakes occurred when a child was accidentally given the same medication too soon.
Twenty-five of the children died as a result of the errors during the 11-year study period, but overall the vast majority of the cases did not require treatment.
The study authors argue that medication errors are a significant public-health problem that needs more attention. One way to cut down, they suggest, is by making drug packaging and their labels more clear when it comes to directions and dosing.