Nav: Home

Stop spoon dosing

January 21, 2016

You grab for the cough syrup for some relief from that nasty lingering cold, what do you measure the dose with? Many of us use teaspoons or table spoons to measure out doses for ourselves and our children but this results in dosage errors! This new study finds that errors in estimating doses can be mitigated by changing the serving measurements on the dosage facts panel from teaspoons to milliliters.

A previous study by authors Koert van Ittersum, PhD at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) and Brian Wansink, PhD of Cornell University found that when individuals use teaspoons to measure medicine they tend to under-serve by 8.4% and when using table spoons they over-serve by 11.6%.

For this study, Van Ittersum and Wansink proposed that by writing the Drug Facts and dosage information in milliliters, which are more difficult to estimate visually, people would choose more accurate measuring devices to measure out doses and would be less likely to make dosage errors. Of the 177 young adults that participated in this study, 34.5% reported using kitchen spoons most frequently to measure medicine. The researchers found that when these study participants were given dosage information in teaspoons 60.9% chose a teaspoon to measure with while none of them chose the milliliter measuring cup. However, when the dosage recommendation was given in milliliters the teaspoon and the measuring cup were equally popular among this group. These results indicate that the risk of dosage error decreases by around 50% by simply changing the recommended units of measurement from tea spoons to milliliters.

"When measuring medicine for ourselves or our children, we often use regular kitchen spoons but they are not accurate measuring instruments," explains lead author Koert van Ittersum, "While we feel that we can estimate teaspoon doses, milliliters are much harder to estimate visually, therefore people are more likely to use accurate measuring spoons or cups when given dosage information in milliliters." In conclusion, the authors recommend that the US Food and Drug Administration mandates that the pharmaceutical industry not use teaspoons on Drug Facts and dosing information. They also emphasize the importance of not spoon-dosing at home, instead using the measuring cups that typically come with liquid medicine.

Cornell Food & Brand Lab

Related Children Articles:

Do children inherently want to help others?
A new special section of the journal Child Development includes a collection of ten empirical articles and one theoretical article focusing on the predictors, outcomes, and mechanisms related to children's motivations for prosocial actions, such as helping and sharing.
Children need conventional CPR; black and Hispanic children more likely to get Hands-Only
While compressions-only or Hands-Only CPR is as good as conventional CPR for adults, children benefit more from the conventional approach that includes rescue breaths.
Cohen Children's Medical Center study: Children on autism spectrum more likely to wander, disappear
A new study by researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York suggests that more than one-quarter million school-age children with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disorders wander away from adult supervision each year.
The importance of children at play
Research highlights positive strengths in developmental learning for Latino children in low-income households based on their interactive play skills.
Racial disparities in pain children of children with appendicitis in EDs
Black children were less likely to receive any pain medication for moderate pain and less likely to receive opioids for severe pain than white children in a study of racial disparities in the pain management of children with appendicitis in emergency departments, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
More Children News and Children Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...