We’ve all been there: 3 a.m. with a sick kid, fumbling through the medicine cabinet and trying to give her some relief so she can get the rest she needs to get better. But you might want to splash some cold water on your face before you pour out the medicine. According to a new study of more than 2,000 caregivers in Atlanta, New York, and Stanford, a whopping 84.4% made one or more dosing errors when asked to measure nine different medications using a variety of amounts of liquid medicine. 68% of the study participants poured out too much of the medicine. Interestingly, four times as many errors were made when caregivers used cups as opposed to syringes to measure medication. Parents often use kitchen measuring spoons, which vary widely (despite supposedly being standardized). Cups are also notoriously difficult to get an accurate read on the acceptable level. Another issue is likely basic medical knowledge. 77% of parents in the study had “low or marginal health literacy,” as defined by their ability to read and understand necessary information on the label and calculate basic math for dosing. Additionally, parents might not understand that giving kids “just a little more” could actually harm their child with overdosing side effects including irritability, abdominal pain, agitation, nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure. Along with carefully reading the label (including weight and age requirements) to figure out how much a child needs for each serving, using a syringe is the encouraged method for accurate dosing.