• Case Study
  • July 13, 2021

Novel Low-Dose Syringe: Enhancing Pediatric Medication Safety

Collaboration leads to the development of a safer option for low dose IV medication administration in pediatric health care.

In June of 2020, a Children’s Hospital Association member posed a question to a group of medication safety leaders:

“…would you be interested in purchasing a syringe that could safely measure smaller doses of enoxaparin…?”

The responses were overwhelmingly positive, yet no one could identify a product on the market. The need for a solution became clear.

Why pediatric caregivers need a smaller syringe

New pediatric syringe for small doses

  • Side markings improve patient safety
  • Accurately measures .01ml, which is equal to 1/10th of a drop
  • Clear needle cover ensures smallest doses can be verified while capped

Medical advancements in neonatal care allow more preterm infants with lower birth weights to thrive, creating the need for an accurate, low volume syringe. Medical staff, parents and other caregivers administer tiny doses of critical and high-risk medications in syringes that introduce the potential for medication errors. Medication safety awareness is increasing, and hospitals are focused on ensuring caregivers have the right tools to administer medications safely and accurately to all patients while protecting the workforce.

Finding potential solutions

To start the search for a revolutionary syringe, hospital staff described the ideal traits of a syringe to administer low dose intravenous (IV) medications. CHA’s Supply Chain Services team shared the requested product attributes with several suppliers and found a few willing to explore the potential of bringing a new syringe to market.

Children’s hospitals evaluated samples from five manufacturers and a Medline submission emerged as the preferred option. CHA and Medline collaborated to make product changes based on ongoing hospital feedback. The result is a new IV safety syringe, which accurately measures down to 0.01ml. As requested, the syringe also has a clear needle cover, allowing the smallest doses to be verified while capped.

How a new pediatric product comes to market

While it's a process that can take years, children's hospitals can influence the development of new products.

  1. Connect with peers to share needs and learn from each other
  2. Evaluate potential solutions
  3. Partner with provider and supplier community

Improving medication safety

All caregivers need products to safely administer IV medications. By developing a low-dose syringe for pediatric use, medication safety improves in two areas:

Patient safety. A low-dose syringe with accurate and appropriate (ml instead of unit) markings on the side allows clinicians, parents and other caregivers to compare the amount inside the syringe to the dose on the medication label. This ensures the correct dose can be verified at each administration with no need for conversion calculations.

Clinician/caregiver safety. Administration tools must be safety equipped. Safety syringes allow the needle to retract or be covered to prevent needle sticks.

COVID-19’s effect on the supply chain

While manufacturers around the world were working to supply an unprecedented number of syringes for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, it was challenging to gain supplier attention to develop a special use syringe. As a result, pediatric hospitals are enthusiastic with the timely partnership to solve the pediatric patient safety need.

New product on the market

Thanks to the collaboration between children's hospitals and Medline, a low-dose syringe designed to enhance pediatric medication safety will be available in the U.S. market late 2021.