Hey, Kid, Coffee, Red Bull or Coke? Kindergartners Chugging Caffeine Drinks

Filed under: In The News, Health

kids on caffeine

Coffee is becoming a buzz kill. Credit: Getty Images

It might be time for parents of kindergartners to be buzz kills -- literally -- if they want their 5-year-olds to get any shut eye.

Caffeinated drinks are the beverage du jour for the 5- to 7-year-old set, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. And, they're chugging enough caffeine to give adults jitters, the journal says in a release.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center surveyed more than 228 kids ages 5 to 12, and found that 5- to 7-year-olds average about 52 milligrams of caffeine a day, the amount equivalent to one Coca-Cola. Their slightly older peers, the 8- to 12-year-olds spiked those numbers up to the equivalent of three Cokes. And, not surprisingly, the more caffeine they drank, the less they slept.

But the researchers found a bright spot: Caffeine didn't lead to bed-wetting, even though caffeine is a diuretic.

The findings suggest parents should keep a closer eye on caffeine consumption, says William Warzak, of the University of Nebraska and co-author of the study.

"Parents should be aware of the potentially negative influence of caffeine on a child's sleep quality and daily functioning," Warzak says in the release.

The researchers found caffeine-charged beverages were readily available to young kids, according to U.S. News & World Report, with soft drinks serving as the biggest culprit.

In a separate study, researchers found that 14 percent of public elementary school students and 38 percent of private elementary school students can buy sugar-sweetened beverages at school, according to the magazine. That study was published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.