Posts Tagged ‘caffeine’

Are Energy Drinks Safe for Kids?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Good grief. There are now more than 200 different “energy drinks” on the market in the U.S. Is that a good thing? Probably not, in out under-rested, over-caffeinated society.

And when it comes to kids and teens gulping down these concoctions, parents need to take note: A typical 12-ounce energy drink has about three times the amount of caffeine in a 12-ounce Coca-Cola and nearly the same amount of caffeine as in a cup of coffee.

To learn more about these drinks, check out my new article over at Then let me know what you think. Do you allow your kids to drink energy drinks?

Kids and Sleep: Part 1 - Should Your Kid Have a TV In Her Bedroom?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Watching the tube for more than two hours a day can lead to sleep problems in kids, says a study associated with the Healthy Steps for Young Children program.

"Duh," say parents who've been down this road.

Forty-one percent of the kids had a TV in their bedroom, and this was particularly associated with sleep problems. (I'm guessing it was also associated with kids watching shows that parents might not be overly fond of.)

Watching TV close to bedtime has been linked to bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety concerning sleep and sleeping fewer hours.

And now we add school back into the mix…

There’s homework, sports and other extracurricular and social activities. And in addition to the lure of TV, many kids become interested in texting friends and surfing the Web. Some also start hitting the caffeine. All of it can lead to sleep problems, says the National Sleep Foundation.

To help kids get the sleep they need:

°     Teach them about healthy sleep habits.

°    Emphasize the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.

°     Make your child's bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet. Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.

°     Make sure your child avoids caffeine, and discuss the fact that it’s not just coffee that contains caffeine. Consuming chocolate, tea, energy drinks and some soft drinks can lead to overly caffeinated kids at bedtime.

The NSF suggests talking with your doctor if your child has any of the following sleep problems:

°    Problems breathing or noisy breathing.

°    Snoring, especially if it is loud.

°    Unusual nighttime awakenings.

°    Difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep, especially if you see daytime sleepiness and/or behavioral problems.

Tomorrow… Kids and Sleep Apnea

Energy Drinks: Is It Safe for Tired Moms to Get Buzzed?

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Would you believe there are now are at least 200 different energy drinks on the market? Yep. It’s a billion-dollar industry. But is it a good idea to get an energy-drink buzz when the demands of parenthood are wearing you out?

“There was a time when we would get our caffeine intake from coffee and cola, but now there are a number of caffeine-containing beverages, and we need to be careful because over a period of 24 hours, that caffeine intake is cumulative,” says Dee Rollins, R.D., PhD, a dietitian with Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine in Grapevine, Texas.

Experts say energy-drink consumers should keep careful track of the amount of caffeine they get in a day. “If you know that 400 milligrams a day is the upper limit, you can check the back of the labels and make sure that you don’t get more than that,” explains Rollins.

It may sound like a lot, but 400 milligrams is roughly the equivalent of just one energy drink and two cups of coffee. Getting more than that can lead to jitteriness, nausea, heart palpitations — and in extreme cases, more severe symptoms.

“It can be so bad that if you take too much caffeine you can end up in the hospital thinking you have flu-like symptoms and really it’s caffeine overdose,” says Rollins.

For most people — if they’re not getting more than around 400 milligrams of caffeine a day — these energy drinks are safe, says Rollins. But here are some important things to remember:

°    Don’t drink energy beverages while exercising. It can lead to severe dehydration.

°    Don’t ever mix these drinks with alcohol. Doing so can not only mask how intoxicated you really are, it can be extremely dehydrating.

°    Remember that, in addition to caffeine, most energy drinks contain very high amounts of sugar and sodium, which can be dangerous for diabetics or those with high blood pressure.