To be clear, dosing for children isn’t about memorizing conversions. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know these. Rather, getting your kids the proper meds requires being given or searching out, the proper tools for the prescription that is written. When you lose the cap to the bottle, or the syringe, or the dropper that comes with the medication, it’s worth getting another equivalent bottle with the proper dropper-cap-syringe. That is what the FDA warning for Vitamin D was all about.
As a parent you’re not alone in having difficulty converting and dosing liquid medication. A Cornell University study published early this year found that measuring a dose of liquid medicine was far more complicated than it seemed. When asked to measure out 5 cc (a teaspoon) of liquid medication using a medium sized spoon, subjects under-dosed by about 8%. When using a large spoon, they over-did the dose by over 10%. So, guessing really isn’t the right thing to do when giving your children medication. Using a teaspoon from the silverware drawer, not the right thing, either. Got to find the proper syringe, dropper, or dispensing cup when giving medications to children. In a pinch, it’s okay to use your measuring spoon…
The quiz takers did wonderfully, but even a few doctors hesitated on their answers. We all can learn and re-learn how to dose and dispense medication…
Pop- Quiz Answer key:
#1: 1 cubic centimeter (cc) is the same as 1 milliliter (mL). There are about 30cc (30mL) in an ounce. If you ever breast-fed a baby, you may remember the beginning–when it starts out as drops and you’re desperate to get food into your baby. Remember when you quantified the volume your baby ate in cc rather than ounces? I clearly remember my pumping triumph when I pumped 15 cc from each side.
#2: 5cc (or 5mL) in every teaspoon.
#3: To dose 1 1/2 “tsp” of medication you would need to draw up medicine twice. Start by dosing 5 cc/mL. Then fill the syringe to the 2.5cc/mL or half way again and give the dose. Looking for a total of 7.5 cc or 1 1/2 teaspoons.
#4: You’d have the exact amount you need if the pharmacist gives you 100 cc of medicine. To dose your child with 1 tsp twice daily, you’ll give 5 cc in AM, 5cc in PM for a total of 10cc daily. 100 cc in total for 10 days. But I agree with many of the comments, I wish pharmacists would dispense about 20 extra cc/mL to account for the reality of caring for kids, spills, re-do’s, & mess-ups. When I write an Rx for more than 100cc in this scenario, the pharmacist often calls and confirms with my staff. (This is turn prevents me from doing it often to avoid the time sink involved. Frustrating!)
#5: No-– Don’t use a” teaspoon” from the silverware drawer because you have no idea how many cc/mL it holds. Like the Cornell study found, you’re likely to be very inaccurate.
#6 Yes–a teaspoon measuring spoon will be perfectly accurate. Now, how you get that teaspoon of medicine in your child’s mouth is another story…