Keeping Families Safe: Kids and Caffeine

Keeping Families Safe: Kids and Caffeine (WKEF/WRGT)

KEEPING FAMILIES SAFE: Many people find it tough to start the day without a cup or two of coffee. While caffeine has many beneficial side effects such as alertness and focus, kids and caffeine can be a dangerous combination, as Deborah Linz explains in her Keeping Families Safe report.

A report by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that 17 and 18-year-olds are drinking nearly double the amount of caffeine from coffee compared with a decade earlier and particularly worrisome is the rise in consumption of energy drinks.

In April, 16-year-old Davis Cripe of South Carolina died after consuming a large mountain dew, a latte and an energy drink within a two-hour period.

Doctors said excessive amounts of caffeine like in Davis' case can dangerously speed up the heart.

“Sometimes it will just stop or it will skip beats or get into fibrilation type beat where it’s not moving blood but it still beating. So all those things can cause bad outcomes for these children," Family Physician Dr. Joseph Allen said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics kids between the ages of 12 and 18 should only consume 100 mg of caffeine per day; about one cup of coffee or 2 to 3 cans of soda, and energy drinks should never be consumed by children or adolescents.

Dr Allen says energy drinks are often misused. Adding they are not closely regulated by the FDA and can contain a variety of ingrediants, he says can cause some health issues.

And top of that, the manufacturer, advertises high doses of caffeine.

Dr. Allen said, “they are not really held accountable or how much caffeine is really in them.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics also states water, not sports drinks should be the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.

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