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Are children more at risk of harm from medication-related errors than adults?

Medication-related errors are a common problem in the United States as upwards of 1.5 million people are affected by them, and thousands die each year from errors as well. Though many adults are affected, children are much more prone to suffering harm from medication errors. According to research, the potential for adverse drug events within the pediatric inpatient population is about three times as high as among hospitalized patients.

Recent studies have shown an approximate 11 percent adverse drug event rate among pediatric inpatients. What is more disturbing is that many of these cases could've been avoided. According to a 2008 article in Pediatrics, 22 percent of the adverse drug events were preventable, nearly 18 percent could have been identified earlier, and almost 17 percent could have been addressed more effectively.

There are several reasons why children have proven more likely to be harmed by medication-related errors, including their need for smaller doses, the lack of pediatric staff at many facilities, and the underdeveloped physiological functions that children exhibit.