Fort Worth, Texas,
20
June
2014
|
05:52 PM
America/Chicago

The scary truth

The impact of energy drinks on children

“Mom blames teen’s death on energy drink.”

This is the type of headline we are seeing more and more often in the news, most recently about an Arizona girl. Teens are drinking energy drinks, plural, and often consuming them at an alarming rate for some physicians.

So are energy drinks safe? What’s happening to teens’ bodies and their hearts? Let’s take a look.

According to Cook Children’s Medical Director of Cardiology, Deborah Schutte, M.D., energy drinks can be harmful to children. “

“We frequently see children with palpitations. One of the causes of palpitations is increased consumption of caffeine such as that found in energy drinks,” Dr. Schutte said. “Caffeine can cause the heart to pump at an unnatural pace, resulting in palpitations.” 

A cup of coffee has roughly 100-200 mg. of caffeine. A study from the December issue of Consumer Reports states that energy drinks have on average 20 percent more caffeine than a cup of coffee. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children do not consume any caffeine. When you consider the amount of caffeine in energy drinks is created for adults and caffeine is not recommended for children the combination is scary.

Imagine your child’s heart after drinking two energy drinks. The heart starts to pound and flutter; this may even be felt near the throat. If the child also feels dizzy, has shortness of breath or chest discomfort seek emergency medical attention immediately. It is possible for cardiac arrest to occur.

Will every child have this reaction? “No, but why take the chance,” says Dr. Schutte.

About Cook Children's Heart Center

Cook Children's Heart Center services include echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, electrocardiogram (EKG), 24-hour Holter monitoring, trans-telephonic ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring, stress testing and cardiac catheterization. In addition, multiple services are available to treat the wide array of diseases and ailments that can afflict a patient’s heart. 

Comments 1 - 4 (4)
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Cameo Harvey
26
June
2014
I have heard recommendations to try caffeine instead of stimulants for kids with ADHD. What are your thoughts about this?
chris kinchen
26
June
2014
how often does this adults in this way?and are the symptoms the same as in chldren
Dr. Justin Smith
26
June
2014
Cameo,There are some that recommend it but there aren’t conclusive studies that I’m aware of that prove it works. If you are considering trying it, please consult with you doctor first.
Jeff Calaway
27
June
2014
Thank you for your question. We don’t have the latest stats on adults because we are a children’s medical center and that’s our focus. However, a child should never consume anything meant for an adult. This could be dangerous for the child. Please always follow the directions and never give anything meant for an adult to a child.