Prescription drugs save lives but have the potential to do serious damage to people if administered incorrectly. If given incorrectly to children, certain drugs and chemicals have fatal effects. Medical providers, parents, and guardians in California must work to prevent the incidences of medication errors in children.
The high rate of medication errors in children
Overall, more than 200,000 medication errors are reported to poison centers each year around the country. Nearly 60,000 of these errors are inflicted on child patients. Administering the wrong dosage is the most common type of error. This is particularly true for neonates because infant bodies react differently to the same dosage.
Other errors include administering the drug at the wrong time, omitting certain medications, or using the wrong route of administration. Often, the person administering the drug knows the right type of drug and dosage to use but still fails to perform to acceptable levels of quality.
The importance of understanding pediatric pharmacokinetics
Children’s bodies go through different stages of development that affect their metabolism and ability to process chemicals. Medical providers and child caretakers must prescribe medications to children with minimal errors. Pharmacists should start by reevaluating the proper dosage for their patients, screen certain drugs for adverse effects, and check for negative interactions with other drugs. They also need to counsel drug users on how to administer the medications properly.
Preventing medication-related fatalities in children
Medication errors kill thousands of Americans every year. Most people do not realize that many of the victims are children, including newborn infants. Every error can be prevented if people learn more about medication errors and work to save the lives of the most vulnerable patients.