Young children, because of such factors as immature immune systems and proximity to other children, frequently acquire infections and other conditions that require medication during the day. This makes medication administration an issue for many day care centers.
A study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that, on average, 5.5 percent of children received medications while attending a day care center during a two-week period. While no data exists regarding incorrect medication administration in day care centers, in hospitals, research finds that 1-in-40 patients receive the wrong medication. Hospital staffs are highly trained to handle medications, and yet even they make errors. The potential for children to be given incorrect medication in day care centers can realistically be considered significant.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has written a curriculum for how to handle medications in day care settings. Among the steps the Academy recommends caregivers take when administering medications are: check the name on the medication label and the child’s name, and read the label to make sure you have the correct medication.
Such instructions sound simple and easy. In practice, though, the potential for error is real in the chaotic environment of a day care center with workers who have limited training. Day care center owners and administrators must be ever vigilant when dealing with the medication needs of the children they care for.
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