Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Emerg Care. 2017 Oct 2. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001277. [Epub ahead of print]

Pediatric Weight Errors and Resultant Medication Dosing Errors in the Emergency Department.

Author information

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawai'i John A. Burns School of Medicine, Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children, Honolulu, HI.



An accurate weight is critical for dosing medications in children. Weight errors can lead to medication-dosing errors.


This study examined the frequency and consequences of weight errors occurring at 1 children's hospital and 2 general hospitals.


Using an electronic medical record database, 79,000 emergency department encounters of children younger than 5 years were analyzed. Extreme weights were first identified using weight percentiles. Encounters with potential weight errors were further evaluated using a retrospective chart review to determine whether a weight error and medication-dosing error occurred.


The percentage of weight errors of total encounters at all 3 institutions was low (0.63% on average), but a large proportion of weight errors led to subsequent medication-dosing errors (34% on average). The children's hospital did not have clinically significantly lower occurrences of weight errors or weight-based medication errors. Common weight errors included the weight in pounds being substituted for the weight in kilograms and decimal placement errors.


Weight errors were uncommon at the 3 emergency departments that we studied, but they led to weight-based medication-dosing errors that had the potential to cause harm.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center