Parent Dosing Tool Use, Beliefs, and Access: A Health Literacy Perspective

Tiffany A. Williams, Michael S. Wolf, Ruth M. Parker, Lee M. Sanders, Stacy Bailey, Alan L. Mendelsohn, Benard P. Dreyer, Jessica J. Velazquez, H. Shonna Yin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess parent decision-making regarding dosing tools, a known contributor to medication dosing errors, by evaluating parent dosing tool use, beliefs, and access, and the role of health literacy, with a focus on dosing cups, which are associated with an increased risk of multifold overdose. Study design: Cross-sectional analysis of data collected for randomized controlled study in 3 urban pediatric clinics. English/Spanish-speaking parents (n = 493) of children ≤8 years of age enrolled. Outcomes: reported tool use, beliefs, and access. Predictor variable: health literacy (Newest Vital Sign; limited [0-3], adequate [4-6]). Multiple logistic regression analyses conducted. Results: Over two-thirds of parents had limited health literacy. Oral syringes (62%) and dosing cups (22%) were most commonly used. Overall, 24% believed dosing cups were the best tool type for dosing accuracy; 99% reported having access to ≥1 dosing tools with standard measurement markings. Parents with limited health literacy had greater odds of dosing cup use (limited vs adequate: aOR = 2.4 [1.2-4.6]). Parents who believed that dosing cups are best for accuracy had greater odds of dosing cup use (aOR = 16.3 [9.0-29.3]); this belief mediated health literacy-effects on dosing cup use. Conclusions: Factors associated with dosing tool choice, including parent health literacy and beliefs are important to consider in the design of interventions to reduce dosing errors; future larger-scale studies addressing this issue are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-251.e1
Journaljournal of pediatrics
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • dosing devices
  • dosing errors
  • dosing units
  • medication errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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