Your kid may be getting more caffeine than you realizeand the results could be harmful. Monitoring your child’s caffeine intake can be more beneficial than you think.
The minimal research that’s been conducted has shown that caffeine consumption in children can often be linked to sleep problems and even bed-wetting, since the stimulant is a diuretic. However, a new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that 75 percent of the children surveyed consumed caffeine on a daily basis, and the more they drank, the fewer hours they slept
Lead author of the study, Dr. William Warzark, and his colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, studied over 200 children ages five to 12 years old during routine clinical visits. The researchers asked parents to report any snacks and beverages the children consumed on a regular day-to-day basis.
The study showed that children as young as five years old were consuming the caffeine equivalent of a can a soda a day, from chocolate, energy drinks, and various other foods and beverages. Children between the ages of eight and 12 consumed 109 milligrams of caffeine a daywhich is an equivalent of three 12-ounce cans of soda.
Warzak reports that more research still needs to be done on this subject, but in the meantime, parents should monitor their children’s caffeine levels. He also notes that if children have sleep and behavioral problems, they should keep their caffeine intake to a minimum. Children between the ages of four and six should consume less than 45 milligrams of caffeine a day; children ages seven to nine, 62 milligrams; and children 10 to 12, 85 milligrams.
Warzak states that parents should be aware of the potentially harmful effects of caffeine, and urges parents to speak with their child’s pediatrician about this matter.