Study: Medication errors affect pediatric patients more often

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

September 16, 2015

Pediatric patients are likely to experience three times as many medication errors as adult patients, according to a study released by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory (PPSA).


From January 2013 to October 2014, more than 4,000 medication errors involving pediatric patients in a general acute care hospital not specializing in pediatrics in Pennsylvania were reported to the PPSA.  More than half of the reported errors involved the patient receiving the wrong dose of medication.

The PPSA recommends a series of risk reduction strategies aimed at reducing the number of pediatric medication errors. Healthcare providers should confirm that the patient’s weight, in kilograms, is correct and include weight, dose basis, and total dose on orders and prescriptions. Additionally, healthcare providers should avoid the use of terminal zero to the right of the decimal point (e.g., 5 instead of 5.0) and they should use zero to the left of the decimal if less than one (e.g., 0.1 instead of .1).

For additional risk reduction strategies and to read the full study, click here.