Is your child consuming too much caffeine?

By Jill Eichhorn - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Is the new breakfast of champions for kids milk, cereal and an energy drink?

Parents know teens like hitting the fridge, but it's not just soft drinks they reach for anymore.

"Monster, Red Bull, sometimes Starbucks coffee...that's pretty good," said one teen.

"You see movies where they have their coffee and it looks all nice and you see rich people say, 'I want a frappe,'" said another.

"It's like, like chocolate cake. You really like it and you want it again. Know what I mean?" said another teen.

Caffeinated drinks - or what some call 'liquid candy,' like energy drinks and specialty coffee drinks - are a hit with many teens for a variety of reasons.

Connor Holland says he drinks an energy drink before school.

"'Cause at school you have to get up so early and most kids go to bed so late. It keeps you from falling asleep in the middle of the day," said Holland.

"Kids are capable of getting caffeinated products just about anywhere," said Gina Gilchrist with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Gilchrist, a registered licensed dietician, says some caffeine is okay for kids "if" it's in moderation.

"A lot of these drinks will market themselves as having energy, even nutritional qualities when sometimes a lot of these drinks are very high in sugar and fat," she said.

So how much caffeine is too much for kids? Doctors say kids between 10-18 years old should only have about 85 milligrams a day. A Mountain Dew has almost 55 milligrams, and a Monster energy drink has 160.

"It's in everything. It's in so much of what they eat after school," said Julie Richardson, a parent.

Richardson says she knows how hard it is as a parent to control what their kids are eating and drinking, especially since many kids see these drinks as cool.

"You can regulate everything to death. As a parent, you just have to do your best and be cautious," she said.

If your kids drink coffees and energy drinks, just make sure you kids are still getting enough milk and water.

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