Researchers at Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens, Greece, collected 71 teaspoons and 49 tablespoons from 25 households in Attica, Greece, and found spoons varied significantly in capacity.
"The variations between the domestic spoon sizes was considerable and in some case bore no relation to the proper calibrated spoons included in many commercially available children's medicines," Matthew Falagas says in a statement. "This increases the chance of a child receiving an overdose or indeed too little medication."
The study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, finds the parent using one of the biggest domestic teaspoons would be giving a child 192 percent more medicine than a parent using the smallest teaspoon, and the difference was 100 percent for the tablespoons.
The researchers also asked five women participating in the study to dispense liquid from a calibrated medicine spoon. Only one dispensed the correct dose of liquid.
As a result of their findings, the researchers are urging parents to use calibrated medicine syringes to dispense liquid medication to children. They also note a spoon can be pushed away and spilled, leaving a parent unsure about how much a child has actually taken.