Novel Low-Dose Syringe: Enhancing Pediatric Medication Safety

Novel Low-Dose Syringe: Enhancing Pediatric Medication Safety

Children's hospitals identified a need for low-dose syringes and their collaboration led to the development of a safer option for medication administration in pediatric health care.
Quick Takes

New syringe for smaller doses:

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

In June 2020, a 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 and children's hospitals came together to develop the low-dose syringe, now available through Medline.

Why pediatric caregivers need a smaller syringe

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. One example includes a significant increase in the number of needlestick injuries at Phoenix Children's, according to the occupational health team. The root cause of these injuries was a lack of a suitable safety syringe.

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

After exploring alternative devices, the team at Phoenix Children's found that there were no substitutes on the market. To start the search for a revolutionary syringe, hospital staff described the ideal traits of a syringe to administer low-dose intravenous (IV) medications. Children's Hospital Association's (CHA's) Pharmacy 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 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.

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.

Response to the product

Thanks to the collaboration between children's hospitals and Medline, a low-dose syringe designed to enhance pediatric medication safety is now available in the U.S. market. Phoenix Children's switched to the new syringe and have already experienced a decrease in needlestick injuries. 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 about the timely partnership to solve this safety need.

Product details

CHA members are being given priority access to this new low-dose syringe, but it is also available to non-members. To order through Medline, use the following information:

  • Item number: SYRS005302
  • Item description: 0.5ML, 30G X 0.5" SAFETY SYRINGE
  • Packaging: 800EA/CS

Contact Us

For more information, contact the Pharmacy Services team.

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