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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
But a 16-year-old boy in South Carolina has died from a caffeine overdose, leading many parents to question the wisdom of letting kids have all the caffeine they want… or any at all.
In mid-April, Davis Allen Cripe drank a large diet Mountain Dew, a café latte from McDonald’s, and some type of energy drink just two hours before his death. The coroner, Gary Watts, reported that “It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused his arrhythmia. The autopsy was performed and there was nothing there to indicate any type of ... undiagnosed heart condition.”
The term arrhythmia refers to “any change from the normal sequence of electrical impulses. The electrical impulses may happen too fast, too slowly, or erratically – causing the heart to beat too fast, too slowly, or erratically. When the heart doesn't beat properly, it can't pump blood effectively. When the heart doesn't pump blood effectively, the lungs, brain and all other organs can't work properly and may shut down or be damaged,” according to the American Heart Association. Researchers have been warning about the dangers of energy drinks since at least 2015, saying that they can cause “dangerous changes in heart function and blood pressure.” When combined with caffeine, which changes heart function and blood pressure on its own, it’s a recipe for disaster.
The purpose of his report, Watts said, “is not to slam Mountain Dew, not to slam cafe lattes, or energy drinks. But what we want to do is to make people understand that these drinks — this amount of caffeine, how it's ingested, can have dire consequences. And that's what happened in this case.”
What Do You Think?
Do you think it’s okay to let kids have energy drinks and caffeine? Would you feel differently about this story if an adult had been the victim? I’d love to hear your take on it, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or my Twitter feed.
In Milwaukee, it’s not unusual to see teenagers walking down the street sipping a latte from Starbucks, chugging a Red Bull (or another energy drink), or pounding Coca-Cola.
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino
Teens and Caffeine - Do You Let Your Kids Have It?
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