Jan 16, 2023 Is Caffeine Safe for Children and Teens?

“Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system, and there is no proven safe dose for children and teens,” says pediatric endocrinologist Dennis Brenner, MD, Chair of Pediatrics at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center. “While small amounts of caffeine—such as the caffeine found in some soft drinks—may be hard to avoid, intake should be limited, especially in young children.” So if you don’t want your child bouncing off the walls—let alone having heart palpitations or jitters, being irritable and having trouble falling asleep—it’s best to watch their caffeine intake.

“Limiting caffeine intake in teens is more difficult,” says Dr. Brenner. Most caffeine consumed by children and teens comes from iced tea, soda and other beverages, as well as chocolate, gum and snacks. Some teens also drink coffee or hot and cold beverages containing caffeine. These should not be consumed in excess. “Energy drinks are an especially unhealthy and potentially dangerous source of caffeine and should be avoided,” says Dr. Brenner.

Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned about their caffeine intake.