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.
“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.