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Why A Spoonful Of Sugar May Be Better Than One Of Medicine

A spoonful of sugar may not be what the doctor ordered, but a spoonful of medicine can lead to a dangerous overdose!

spoon_sugar

Photo: Jonathan_W (flickr)

Play it safe. Use a measuring cup that comes with many liquid medications.

Mary Poppins tells kids that a spoonful of sugar will make the medicine go down. Now, scientists say that we shouldn’t be giving children spoonfuls of medicine at all!

But wait. Before you pour the cough syrup down the drain, let’s clarify what they mean.

The trouble with distributing medicine with a spoon is that many of our household spoons differ in size and shape. By using any old spoon, you may be giving your child much more (or less) medicine than they need.

Larger household spoons typically hold 2 to 3 times more medicine than the standard teaspoon! The likelihood of overdosing is much greater with these inexact measurements.

Doctors’ orders: Play it safe. Use the measuring cup that comes with many liquid medications. Medical syringes are also cheaply available at the drug store and are a great way to find the right dose.

Read More:

  • Using Domestic Spoons to Give Children Medicine Increases Overdose Risk, Doctors Warn (ScienceDaily)
  • Syringes Beat Spoons for Children’s Medicine (BBCNews)

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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