Would you feel comfortable giving your young child a cup of coffee? Just before bed? Perhaps not, but Pediatricians are still alarmed at the number of young patients they see who drink coffee and other caffeine-containing drinks on a regular basis. Your child might be ingesting more caffeine than you realise. Read on and find out why:
Too much caffeine can be detrimental to your child’s health
Caffeine is a stimulant and affects the nervous systems of children and adults alike. Children might however, need a little less to elicit the same symptoms. Caffeine affects our bodies in the following ways:
- increases our heart rate
- increases our blood pressure
- makes us jittery and nervous
- gives us headaches
- can dehydrate us
- can give us difficulty in sleeping
There are a number of other drinks containing caffeine, that you may not have known about, and most of these contain lots of added sugar as well.
Nestea Iced Tea
Instant Coffee (Nescafé)
Start checking the labels on beverages your kids are drinking, and monitor their caffeine and sugar intake in a day.
Besides the extra calorie intake, children who drink a lot of soft drinks are also less likely to be drinking enough milk for healthy bones and teeth. There is no nutritional benefit in giving caffeinated drinks to children. Instead opt for one of the following:
- Tea – Rooibos is better as it contains no caffeine
- 100% fruit juice – diluted with water
- Flavoured water – not the best due to it’s sugar content, but still better than soft drinks
- Drinking yoghurt – also contains sugar
Here’s to keeping our children caffeine-free!