Pediatric medication errors: predicting and preventing tenfold disasters

J Clin Pharmacol. 1994 Nov;34(11):1043-5. doi: 10.1002/j.1552-4604.1994.tb01978.x.


Tenfold errors in pediatric doses are not uncommon. Because the needed volume of stock solution is generally small, even a tenfold higher volume may still appear deceivingly normal. Such errors are much less likely to occur in adults, because it would result in unacceptably large volumes of stock solution. Other sources of tenfold errors are communication difficulties with parents and illegible writing of orders by physicians. Testing health professionals may identify subgroups of individuals who are prone to commit such errors. Independent double checking of calculations and a mechanism to resolve disagreement is being practiced in most academic institutions. Transition to patient's unit dose is likely to decrease calculation errors, because pharmacists commit fewer errors. Hazardous drugs that are not required on a stat basis should be removed from the wards.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Medication Errors*