We’re living in a caffeinated world. Sodas, Frappuccinos, energy drinks and caffeinated snacks are all providing children more opportunity than ever to consume caffeine. For vigilant parents that brings up a very obvious question: How much caffeine can kids drink?
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue guidelines on caffeine consumption, Canadian guidelines limit childhood caffeine consumption to 45 milligrams a day. That’s about the amount of caffeine in a single 12-ounce can of cola. For comparison, a same sized Frappuccino packs nearly 120 milligrams a day, and a 12-ounce can of an energy drink has about 100-115 milligrams. Simply put, parents should steer their children around the caffeinated lifestyle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a position paper to help parents navigate our high-octane world. Most notably, the Academy noted that caffeine affects boys more intensely than girls, but all children suffer the impacts of too much caffeine. While hyperactivity and sleeplessness are the obvious effects of the drug, sodas and coffee drinks can have deeper impacts, increasing symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, impacting digestion, increasing blood pressure and potentially aggravating any preexisting arrhythmia.
There are dietary considerations for caffeinated drinks to consider as well. Children consuming sugary sodas, energy drinks and coffees receive empty calories, which can lead to obesity and, in the most extreme cases, diabetes. While there’s no evidence that caffeine consumption stunts growth, children who opt for sodas over milk may not receive enough calcium or Vitamin D.
About three fourths of American children consume some caffeine on a daily basis, so don’t feel like a failure if your child’s among them. While it’d be ideal to cut the chemical out of your child’s diet entirely, moderating how much caffeine kids can drink can make worlds of difference in her health and diet.