Teens and Caffeine


Caffeine, which has been purported to increase energy and also acts as a mild stimulant, can be found in many foods and drinks, including coffee. Chances are, like many teens, your child may be enjoying caffeinated drinks daily. “So many of the coffee beverages that kids are exposed to these days are sweetened,” says Dr. Alexandra Roche. “The proliferation of sweetened coffee drinks is increasing the amount of caffeine kids are consuming.”


While individual tolerance will differ, says Dr. Roche, the general recommendation is 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. If you have too much, say 500 to 600, you can experience heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure, insomnia or become irritable. “If teens have increased caffeine that can increase irritability. Generally, it’s a good idea to limit your teen to one caffeinated beverage per day,” advises Dr.Roche.


Be aware of what the ingredients are that you’re offering your kids, warns Dr. Roche. For example, a lot of energy drinks say they are flavored with fruit juice and vitamins, but they also contain guarana, another form of caffeine. “There are hidden ingredients in food and sometimes we don’t realize how much we’re consuming. Most things are reasonable in moderation,” she says.

Meet Dr. Roche - CHOC Pediatric Specialist

Dr. Alexandra Roche, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is on staff at the CHOC Primary Care Clinic in Orange. She completed her pediatrics residency at CHOC .

Dr. Roche’s philosophy of care: “I think every child has the potential to be a stellar human being, and I want to help them reach their potential in any way I can.”

New York Medical College


Dr. Alexandra Roche

Parents Should Watch for Added Caffeine in Food

Parents hoping to curb their children’s caffeine consumption should look beyond obvious sources like energy drinks, soda, tea and coffee, and pay close attention to added caffeine in products, says a CHOC clinical dietitian.

“You can find a number of foods that have caffeine added to them,” says Jan Skaar. “Parents should be cognizant and careful when they’re food shopping so that they’re not contributing to a problem.”

Young boy holding a cup of coffee

Are Sports and Energy Drinks Safe?

Teen athlete drinking energy drink

Chances are, your child has already tried a sports drink or energy drink. In the past few years these drinks have become increasingly popular with children and adolescents. In fact, they are so popular that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued a report about the safety of these drinks for children.

“Parents should know that the two drinks are quite different,” says Shonda Brown, clinical dietitian at CHOC. Sports drinks are meant to replace fluids and electrolytes while exercising. Energy drinks contain caffeine or other stimulants.

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

Teens and Drugs
Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse by teens is the fastest-growing drug problem in the U.S. One of the most commonly abused drugs is oxycodone.

Kids and Hormones
Every little boy and girl grows up and goes through the stage of life called puberty. Hormones are responsible for many of the changes that they go through.

Teens and Driving Safety
Even if you have a very responsible teen, the fact that they don’t have experience driving makes them a bigger risk. Driving is dangerous for all teens, and parents can require them to prove they are ready.