A new study presented by the American Heart Association reveals that poison control centers field thousands of call after children accidentally consume so-called "energy drinks" containing high amounts of caffeine.
Consumption of energy drinks poses serious health effects to young children under the age of six including dangerous high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and seizures.
According to the Heart Association study, 40% -- more than 5,000 -- phone calls to poison control centers between 2010 and 2013 involved children who had consumed energy drinks.
Even more children may be affected as often children are taken to Emergency Rooms instead of a call to the poison control center. Calls to poison control center may prove just a fraction of the actual number of exposures.
Energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar and about the same amount of caffeine as in a cup of coffee. Some energy drinks can contain more than 4 times this amount. The drinks can also contain taurine and l-carnitine and the herb ginseng.
Young children should never consume energy drinks and the drinks often contain warnings to that effect. However, young children under the age of six usually don't read labels and it is incumbent on caretakers to make sure that children are not accidentally ingesting these drinks.
Symptoms of caffeine overdose in children can include:
- Tensing and relaxing muscles
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extremely high blood pressure
- Rapid and deep breathing
Shock is a life-threatening side effect and a person in shock can suffer unconsciousness, confusion, chest pains, bluish lips, agitation, clammy skin, low or no urine output, rapid and weak pulse.
In the case of serious symptoms, one should call 911 for immediate medical attention.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have become seriously ill due to food poisoning and dangerous products.
For more information, see the American Heart Association article, Poison control data show energy drinks and young kids don't mix