Facebook Pixel

Kids and Caffeine: a Dangerous Combination?

Rate This
Parenting related image Photo: Getty Images

When I was 12, I remember seeing a cousin giving her toddler a baby bottle filled with Diet Coke. At the time, I thought something seemed out of place, but now as a parent I am appalled on so many levels. Beyond the potential effects of artificial sweeteners (that’s a topic for another day!) I can’t imagine giving that much caffeine to my 5-year-old, much less a 1-year-old.

I admit, begrudgingly, that whenever we pass a Starbucks, my 3-year-old daughter points it out and asks to make a pit stop. Of course, her craving is a scone and vanilla milk. Still, children nowadays are exposed at least to the idea of caffeine consumption much more than we were in past generations. And kids certainly get their fair share of caffeine even if we don’t recognize that we’re giving it to them. (A 1.5-ounce bar of milk chocolate contains 9 mg of caffeine, as do an 8-ounce cup of hot cocoa and a 4-ounce pudding cup.)

Indeed, according to MedicineNet.com, children and adolescents consume 70 percent more caffeine than their counterparts 30 years ago. On average, young teens consume almost half as much caffeine as adults on a daily basis. As the effects of caffeine on growing bodies are uncertain, this data is alarming.

Back in high school, I remember cramming for exams with friends, using caffeine pills, cola and chocolate chip cookie dough to keep us up almost all night. If our parents had any idea we were “snacking” this way, they’d undoubtedly have raised red flags. But the effects of the caffeine were so striking even to us as teenagers in the 1980s -- we knew the extra energy from the caffeine would help keep us alert and focused for a longer period of time. The potential adverse effects were far from our minds at exam time. With the increased accessibility of caffeine-induced products, kids now face even more possible health risks through the use of caffeine.

Marketing madmen have geared energy drink campaigns toward the younger population, though these beverages can contain five times the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This important planning step comes as part of BLM’s ongoing efforts to facilitate the responsible development of the abundant resources in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, honor Native Alaskans’ subsistence rights, and provide for the stewardship of millions of migratory birds and caribou in the Teshekpuk Lake area, best grind and brew coffee maker, best keurig coffee maker reviews, the venus factor reviews

December 13, 2013 - 10:19am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



Get Email Updates

Parenting Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!