News | Published February 24, 2014

The need to monitor your child's caffeine intake

Is your child regularly consuming caffeine? Approximately 73 percent of children and adolescents consume caffeine on a daily basis, according to a new study from a team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in the journal Pediatrics.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that healthy adults can consume up to 400 mg – about three to five cups – of caffeine a day and generally not experience any negative side effects, it has not set caffeine recommendations for children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend caffeine for children at any level, but many are using it.

There are multiple sources of caffeine that kids of all ages can be exposed to and consume on a regular basis. The study found that children consumed caffeine from a variety of drinks, including soda, coffee, energy drinks and tea. If a nursing mother is ingesting caffeine, even young babies can be exposed to caffeine through breast milk. Also, products like certain jelly beans and gum can contain added caffeine.

We know that caffeine can cause sleeplessness and irritability, and there are concerns that regular exposure could have negative consequences on the developing brain.

I suggest monitoring what your child is drinking and eating to better ensure that he or she is consuming a safe diet with no caffeine.