Caffeine in Children & Adolescents
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
A mother asked about caffeine use in children:
Caffeine is a stimulant – one of the few legal stimulants. We generally recommend no caffeine for children or adolescents. The Mayo clinic recommends no caffeine for children and 100mg or less for adolescents. 400mg or less per day has been found to be tolerated well by adults. As a stimulant caffeine can cause nervousness, nausea, headaches, an increased heart rate and an increased blood pressure. Caffeine has many negative features: it is often found in sugary drinks, it is a diuretic which can promote dehydration, and some children have headaches or depressive symptoms after stopping regular intake. A Mountain Dew has 50mg of caffeine, so the Mayo clinic would allow only 2 of these per day for an adolescent. Energy drinks should be avoided by all children and adolescents – a Monster Energy Drink has 160mg of caffeine. Instant coffee has 57mg and brewed coffee has 163mg; we do not generally recommend coffee for children or adolescents. An extensive list of the caffeine in commercially available drinks can be found here:
The only time we recommend caffeine for children or adolescents is to provide short term improvement in children who have a diagnosis of ADHD or to give a single trial of a low dose of stimulant when parents feel that their child may have ADHD. Please call the office nurses if you have a specific question about your child.