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AHRQ, American Academy of Pediatrics Announce Partnership on 20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children

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Press Release Date: January 6, 2003

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the American Academy of Pediatrics today announced a partnership to help put valuable information about preventing medical errors into the hands of pediatricians and parents across the country.

AHRQ and the AAP are working together to promote a new fact sheet called 20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children. It offers evidence-based, practical tips on avoiding medical errors related to prescription medicines, hospital stays, and surgery. AHRQ and AAP will distribute copies of the fact sheet to AAP's 57,000 member pediatricians, as well as to groups representing children and parents.

Medical errors can occur when a child receives the wrong medicine, or the wrong dose for his or her weight, for example. The fact sheet encourages parents and pediatricians to talk about medication dosages, possible side effects, and any limits on food, drink, or activities that might be required when a child takes a particular medicine. Studies have shown that the rate for potential medication problems is three times higher for children than it is for adults, and the rates for hospitalized babies are even higher.

“The single most important thing parents can do to help prevent medical errors is to be active members of their child's health care team,” said Carolyn Clancy, M.D., AHRQ's acting director. “Research shows that parents who are more involved with their child's care tend to get better results.”

According to AAP President E. Stephen Edwards, M.D., FAAP, “Safety should be viewed as one component of a broader commitment to providing optimal care for children—a goal that the AAP membership embraces and that unites pediatricians with the families they serve.”

Copies of 20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children are available by calling AHRQ's Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Farah Englert, (301) 427-1865 ( or AAP Communications: Hollis Heavenrich, (847) 434-7084 (


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