This Policy Statement was retired May 2011.
Although medication errors in hospitals are common, medication errors that result in death or serious injury occur rarely. Even before the Institute of Medicine reported on medical errors in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics and its members had been committed to improving the health care system to provide the best and safest health care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. This commitment includes designing health care systems to prevent errors and emphasizing the pediatrician’s role in this system. Human and device errors can lead to preventable morbidity and mortality. National and state legislative actions have heightened public awareness of these events. All involved persons, beginning with the physician and including every member of the health care team, must be better educated about and engaged in the several steps recommended to decrease these errors. The safe administration of medications to hospitalized infants and children requires additional specific safeguards that are above and beyond those for adult patients. Pediatricians should help hospitals develop effective programs for safely providing medications, reporting medication errors, and creating an environment of medication safety for all hospitalized pediatric patients.