Don`t use spoons to medicate children: Docs

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Medical experts have warned parents that using domestic spoons to dispense children`s medicine could lead to overdosing or getting too little medication as some of them were found to hold two to three times as much liquid as other spoons.

A study looked at 71 teaspoons and 49 tablespoons collected from 25 households in Attica, Greece, the International Journal of Clinical Practice reports.

"A parent using one of the biggest domestic teaspoons would be giving their child 192 per cent more medicine than a parent using the smallest teaspoon," said Matthew E. Falagas.

"The difference was 100 per cent for the tablespoons," added Falagas, professor and director of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece.

"This increases the chance of a child receiving an overdose or indeed too little medication," Falagas said.

The women who took part in the study were aged between 24 and 84 years with an average age of 48 years, according to an Alfa Institute statement.

Most had between one and three different teaspoons and tablespoons in their house, but two women had as many as six different teaspoons and one also had five different tablespoons.

"We not only found wide variations between households, we also found considerable differences within households," Falagas said.

The researchers were also keen to see whether there were any differences when five of the women were asked to dispense liquid from a calibrated 5ml medicine spoon.

They found that only one dispensed the correct dose of liquid, with three dispensing 4.8 ml and one 4.9 ml.

As a result of their findings, the researchers, from Athens and Boston, US, are urging parents to use calibrated medicine syringes to dispense liquid medication to children.