Drugs & Therapy Perspectives

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 230–240 | Cite as

Interventions to assist parents and caregivers in accurately dosing liquid medications for their children: a scoping review

  • Jun Feng Pan
  • Janet A. Curran
  • Eleanor Fitzpatrick
  • Sydney Breneol
  • Caitlin Bennett
  • Katrina F. HurleyEmail author
Review Article



Parents’ inaccurate dosing of liquid medications for their children is common, resulting in treatment failure and adverse effects.


This scoping review was conducted to identify and describe empirically researched educational interventions to teach parents and caregivers of children aged < 12 years old how to accurately dose liquid medications for their children.


We conducted a scoping review using the Joanna Briggs Institute Methodology for Scoping Reviews. We searched PubMed, CINAHL, and Web of Science for English-language articles published before June 2017. Two reviewers independently screened retrieved titles and abstracts using predetermined criteria. We conducted forward and backward searching of included studies. We appraised the quality of included articles using the mixed methods appraisal tool and conducted a thematic analysis to identify trends and patterns.


Of the 180 abstracts identified in the search strategy, nine studies met our inclusion criteria. We identified four main types of interventions: (1) visual aids (n = 6); (2) advanced counselling strategies (n = 2); (3) standardized measuring tools (n = 3); and (4) use of standardized units of measurement (n = 2). The overall quality of the included studies was low to moderate.


More high-quality studies conducted in a variety of real-world settings are needed to ensure the development and implementation of effective evidence-based educational interventions to improve the accuracy of administration of liquid medications by parents and caregivers. Furthermore, there is a lack of standardization in the definition of a dosing error. Consensus regarding a standard definition would help with amalgamation and synthesis of future studies.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Jun Feng Pan, Janet A. Curran, Eleanor Fitzpatrick, Sydney Breneol, Caitlin Bennett, and Katrina F. Hurley have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this study.


This project received funding from Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine Research In Medicine (RIM) Office. No other funding was used to assist in the preparation of this study.

Supplementary material

40267_2019_615_MOESM1_ESM.docx (510 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 510 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of MedicineDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Division of Paediatric Emergency MedicineIWK Health CentreHalifaxCanada
  4. 4.School of Nursing, Faculty of Health ProfessionsDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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