A study by the University of London has found that drug errors were getting too frequent in children and were undermining the care being received by them.
The study of five hospitals in London revealed that there were errors in 13% of the 3,000 prescriptions for children assessed as part of the study. It also found that during 2004 and 2005 over a fifth of the drugs administered to kids in these hospitals were incorrectly given.
"It is a challenge working on the ward and humans are bound to make errors. Most would not cause serious harm, but some are potentially fatal," said study author Professor Ian Wong, of The University of London.
The researchers watched how nurses administered drugs to 265 kids over a two week period in the hospitals. They found 429 administration errors among the 1,554 doses of medicine and had to intervene 5 times to prevent the kids from suffering the consequences.
"It is highly unlikely that the situation has changed since our study was done," Prof Wong said. "That is because prescribing for children is very difficult."
The details of the study appear in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.