Once again, my take is different than that of most. About 70 percent of Americans measure their liquid medicines in kitchen spoons. But when smart college students were asked to pour a real teaspoon of liquid medicine into a kitchen spoon, they averaged either eight percent less or twelve percent more than the amount prescribed, depending on which kitchen spoon they used, according to a report in the January 5, 2010 Annals of Internal Medicine. This happened in a well-lit room, in the middle of the day, after having been shown the correct amount. Imagine how far off an exhausted parent might be in the middle of the night, distracted by a crying baby.
The obvious response to this data? Always use a dosing cup or dosing spoon instead of a kitchen spoon. One dose may not matter too much, but repeated several times it could quickly add up to danger or to an ineffective medicine.
Wansink, B. and van Ittersum. K. “Spoons Systematically Bias Dosing of Liquid Medicine.” Annals of Internal Medicine, 5 Jan 2010, 152(1):66-67.
Paul, I.M., Beiler, J., McMonagle, A., Shaffer, M.L., Duda, L., and Berlin, C.M. “Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and their Parents.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2007, 161(12):1140-1146.
Wansink, B. and van Ittersum, K. “Shape of glass and amount of alcohol poured: comparative study of effect of practice and concentration.” BMJ, 2005, 331:1512-4.
Fisher, J.O., Rolls, R.J., and Birch L.L. “Children’s Bite Size and Intake of an Entrée Are Greater with Large Portions Than with Age-Appropriate or Self-Selected Portions.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003, 77(5):1164-1170. [Discussed in Feeding Baby Green]