Caffeine and kids

Caffeine can be found in products such as soft drinks, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and even chocolate. So how much caffeine is safe for kids?

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Harmful effects of caffeine

Children who consume too much caffeine may suffer some of the following short-term effects:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • headache
  • difficulty falling asleep

How much caffeine is safe for kids?

Children and teens should not exceed the following daily maximums:

Maximum daily caffeine intake for kids
Age Maximum amount of caffeine per day

Table Footnotes

Footnote 1

You can calculate the exact daily maximum of caffeine for children 13 years and older with this easy equation:

(child's weight in pounds) × (1.1) = maximum amount of caffeine per day in milligrams
(child's weight in kilograms) × (2.5) = maximum amount of caffeine per day in milligrams

Remember: never exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

4-6 years 45 mg (about one can of cola)
7-9 years 62.5 mg (about one and a half cans of cola)
10-12 years 85 mg (about two cans of cola)
13 years and up Varies depending on weightFootnote 1

How much caffeine do beverages contain?

Caffeine content of beverages
Beverage Approx. caffeine content
8 oz
(237 mL)
12 oz
(355 mL)
20 oz
(591 mL)
Soft drink (cola) 31 mg 46 mg 77 mg
Chocolate milk 8 mg 12 mg 20 mg
Hot chocolate 5 mg 8 mg 13 mg
Energy drink 95 mg 142 mg 180 mg
Coffee 150 mg 225 mg 375 mg
Tea 43 mg 65 mg 108 mg
Green tea 30 mg 45 mg 75 mg

Energy drinks

While an increasing number of caffeinated energy drinks are being sold in stores alongside soft drinks and juice, these beverages are not recommended for children.

Children should also avoid taking energy shots, which are often sold in small containers near the cash register.

Did you know?

Caffeine can sometimes interact with medications. Talk to your family doctor about possible interactions if your child is taking medication.

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