Hidden Sources of Caffeine for Kids

by Shaun Dreisbach

Hidden Sources of Caffeine for Kids

Surprising sources of caffeine, and how to keep it out of your kid’s diet

This just might give you the jitters: By conservative estimates, 77 percent of children regularly consume caffeine through sodas, energy drinks, and other products. But too much of this stimulant can cause nausea, heart arrhythmias, insomnia, and ADHD-like symptoms.

“It also makes kids fidgety, impulsive, and less able to focus. A strong connection has been found between caffeine and poor academic performance,” says Marina Kushner, founder of the nonprofit Caffeine Awareness Association. And while you might be able to handle mega-latte amounts of caffeine just fine, the same is likely not true of your kid. “It really hits children hard because the less you weigh, the more caffeine affects the body — and the longer it stays in the system,” adds Kushner. Try to keep your kid’s consumption under 100 milligrams of caffeine a day (what’s in about two cans of caffeinated soda). A side from the usual suspects — coffee, tea, cola — here are some other surprising caffeine sources to watch out for:

Hot chocolate

(8 ounces) 3 to 13 mg

Dark chocolate

(1.45 ounces) 18 mg

Coffee ice cream

(8 ounces) 58 to 68 mg

Barq’s root beer

(12 ounces) 22 mg

Nestea Peach Green Tea

(20 ounces) 106 mg

Clif Bar Peanut Toffee Buzz

(2.4 ounces) 50 mg

Glacéau Vitaminwater-Energy-citrus

(17 ounces) 82 mg