A new study at the 2014 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions revealed a surprising population at risk of serious health effects after drinking energy drinks: children under age 6. The study analyzed close to three years of data from 2010 to 2013 from the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System.
The study revealed concerning trends:
- Of 5,156 calls to poison control centers about energy drinks, more than 40 percent were related to unintentional exposure of children under the age of 6
- Serious cardiovascular and neurological effects, such as an abnormal heart rhythm and seizures, were reported across all age groups in the data, including children under age 6.
Energy drinks, which are marketed for boosting energy levels, often contain high amounts of caffeine that are well above the toxic level for children. They also often contain sweeteners, vitamins and herbal supplements for which the effects on children and adults may be unknown either individually or in combination.
What does this mean if you are a parent of a young child? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children never consume energy drinks. If you personally consume energy drinks and have a young child, you may consider not storing them at home. Also, be mindful of not leaving open energy drinks unattended.
If your child consumes an energy drink and you are concerned about symptoms your child is having, you can reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.
For more on the potential cardiovascular risks of energy drinks, visit SecondsCount’s information sheet Energy Drinks & The Heart: Know the Risks.