All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > Q&A > Nutrition and Fitness > Is Caffeinated Soda OK for Kids?
Is Caffeinated Soda OK for Kids?

My son is always asking for caffeinated soft drinks. Is it OK to let him have them?
- Marla

It's a good idea to keep caffeine consumption to a minimum, especially in younger kids. The effects of a caffeinated beverage on a child will be much more pronounced than on an adult because kids weigh less and are still growing and developing.

Caffeine is a drug that's naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. It's also made artificially and added to certain foods. At lower levels, caffeine can make people feel more alert and energetic.

In both kids and adults, though, too much caffeine can cause jitteriness, an upset stomach, headaches, and sleeping problems. Especially in young kids, it doesn't take a lot of caffeine to produce these effects. Caffeine also can aggravate heart problems and some behavioral and nervous system disorders.

Because of the concern about the adverse effects of caffeine, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages caffeine consumption for all children. The United States doesn't have guidelines for caffeine intake and kids, but Canadian guidelines recommend that preschoolers get no more than 45 milligrams of caffeine a day. That's the average amount of caffeine found in a 12-ounce (355-milliliter) can of soda or four 1.5-ounce (43-gram) milk chocolate bars.

It's also good to remember that too many sugar-sweetened drinks (with or without caffeine) can lead to obesity and dental cavities.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013

Related Articles
T    Caffeine
P    Caffeine and Your Child
K    Caffeine Confusion
T    Can Drinking Soda Lower My Sperm Count?
T    Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth?
P    Healthy Drinks for Kids
K    Why Drinking Water Is the Way to Go
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved