It has filtered down to our children. Despite years of warnings from paediatricians and other health professionals that coffee and other caffeinated beverages, such as sodas and sports drinks, can be detrimental to children, parents are letting their children, including toddlers, to consume those beverages. According to a 2015 study of Boston parents, 14% of those polled permitted their 2-year-olds to drink between 1 and 4 ounces of coffee each day (a half a cup of coffee is 4 ounces). The survey also discovered that 2.5% of mothers administered coffee to their one-year-old children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 12 consume no caffeinated coffee, tea, soda, sports drinks, or other products, while adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 consume no more than 100 milligrammes per day — roughly the size of an old-fashioned cup of coffee. Starbucks' renowned Blonde Roast coffee includes 360 milligrammes in a 16-ounce "grande," while their Pike Place Roast carries 310 mg in the same amount. It's more than simply coffee. According to a Consumer Reports analysis, a bottle of sports drink might contain roughly 250 mg of caffeine, depending on the brand. A cup of tea can have up to 47 milligrammes, whereas a diet Coke can include up to 46.
Chocolate contains caffeine as well, with the quantity increasing as the chocolate darkens in colour. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a handful of chocolate-covered coffee beans has 336 mg of caffeine. Because children's bodies are typically smaller, it takes less coffee to affect their functioning. A modest quantity for an adult might be overpowering for a young child. Caffeine can raise blood pressure and heart rate, lead to acid reflux, and induce anxiety and sleep disruptions in youngsters. Caffeine can be hazardous in excessive dosages.
"Kids present to the emergency room with irregular heartbeats or what we term tachycardia or fast heartbeat," said paediatrician Dr. Mark Corkins, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' nutrition committee. "Some folks believe it's OK to feed soda pop to toddlers." The limitations are largely determined by body size, and they increase when a youngster becomes large enough to be able to absorb caffeine more easily. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children who are tiny for their age, have headaches, heart issues, or seizures may be more sensitive.
It begins when small children begin to request caffeinated beverages such as coffee "because they see their parents and older siblings drinking it — it's a 'grown-up' thing to drink," according to Corkins, division chief of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, via email. And since parents believe it is safe — and it most likely is in little doses — they will allow their children to have a drink or two. "However, once the parents start, it becomes a steep slope and simpler to let the kids drink what they want rather than battle with them," Corkins added.
Another difficulty is the effect of coffee, tea, soda, and sports drinks on a healthy diet. "My other issue with kids drinking coffee is that it has minimal nutritional value and replaces something that should be nutritionally complete, like milk and water," Corkins explained. "Milk has calcium and vitamin D, and water is a nutrition." We're 60% water, therefore we're practically an ocean." Then there are the extras. Coffee is no longer served with only a lump of sugar and milk. Coffee shops on practically every street corner now provide thousands of ways to spice and fatten up your favourite beverage.
"These beverages are essentially desserts." They have foam and shots of flavoured syrups, followed by whipped topping and sprinkles on top. "The presentation is superior than some of the sweets I've seen," Corkins commented. Extra sweets and heavy creams increase fat and calories, while sugar-free options expose youngsters to artificial sweeteners. So, what is the bottom line? "Stay away from caffeine!" "Why do your children require it?" Corkins explained. "Caffeine is a stimulant that raises attentiveness," he explained. "If your child feels the need for caffeine to get through the day, it is best to consult with a paediatrician to determine the core reason of the exhaustion in the first place."