Doctors Warn: Energy Drinks Can Kill Kids

Caffeine and other chemicals could be harmful, says report
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2011 3:19 AM CST
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2010 file photo, Four Loko alcoholic energy drinks are seen in the cooler of a convenience store in Seattle.    (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
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(Newser) – Doctors are warning that children should not use energy drinks, which they call understudied and possibly dangerous, reports AP. The chief danger? The drinks' caffeine and caffeine-related content, which can be four or five times greater than a normal soda and can cause heart trouble, strokes, seizures, nausea, diarrhea, and even death, according to a report in the medical journal Pediatrics. "For most children, adolescents, and young adults, safe levels of consumption have not been established," the report said, adding that energy drinks should be regulated like tobacco, alcohol, and prescription medicines.

Since being introduced 20 years ago, energy drinks have grown into a $9 billion-a-year market in the US, and are the fastest growing part of the US beverage market. The American Association of Poison Control Centers started tracking energy drink overdoses last year, and found 677 cases in the last four months of the year, and 331 so far this year. A beverage industry representative criticized the report. But one 18-year-old who was hospitalized with seizures after drinking two large energy drinks, said that he knew people who "drink four or five of them a day. That's just dumb."

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