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Energy Drinks: Too Much 'Boost' For Small Children


A recent survey for the American Heart Association found 40 percent of more than 5,100 calls to poison centers for "energy drink exposure" involved children under the age of six. Consuming the drinks at that age can have serious consequences. 

In this edition of Vital Signs, Mike Yudizky, Public Health Education Manager of the North Texas Poison Center, says the problem is the high amount of caffeine.

From Yudizky’s interview…

Why energy drinks are a problem for small children: The energy drink is loaded with caffeine. They have anywhere from 75 to as many as 400 milligrams per serving. Compare to coffee. Coffee has 100 to 150. A can of Coke only has 34. And the caffeine is a stimulant. It makes them real irritable, agitated. They have problems sleeping. It can progress to worse things like cardiovascular problems like increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, some abnormal heart rates. It can even progress to seizures

Age matters in how well a person handles the drink? The smaller the body, the less it can tolerate. It doesn’t take much caffeine before they can have some real problems.

For more information:

Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children 

Study: Calls to Poison Centers Involving Kids and Energy Drinks

Can Energy Drinks Really Boost a Person's Energy? 

North Texas Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) 

Texas Poison Control Center 

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.