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ISMP Medication Safety Alert


INFANT FORMULA: READ AND FOLLOW THE LABEL INSTRUCTIONS!

New parents and other caregivers should read carefully and follow all instructions on infant formula product labels. The following experience illustrates why.

A parent called a Poison Control Center because she had accidentally fed her three-month- old infant three ounces of concentrated formula, without diluting it as appropriate. The Center recommended that she watch the infant carefully. Although this child was fine on follow-up, use of concentrated formula, without appropriate dilution, can cause diarrhea or vomiting and lead to destructive inflammation of the colon and small bowel. On the other hand, adding more water to formula (perhaps to stretch a product further) also can harm an infant. This is because too much dilution of infant formula consistently over several days can cause 'water intoxication' that can result in seizures.

Formulas and other products intended for infants and children differ in nature. Many come in a concentrated liquid or powder form that must be diluted or mixed with water before use. Others come in a ready-to-use form. Careful reading of labels, and adherence to instructions from your doctors and nurses, is the best way to be sure you use products correctly and protect your children appropriately.

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