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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2019 Jan;58(1):36-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.06.030. Epub 2018 Oct 22.

Review: Trends, Safety, and Recommendations for Caffeine Use in Children and Adolescents.

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School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, NY. Electronic address:



Caffeine use is common in children and adolescents, but the recommendations for safe consumption are based on decades-old data collected exclusively in adults. Increased availability of caffeine-containing products and a concerted marketing effort aimed at children and adolescents, has increased interest in understanding the physiological, behavioral, and psychological effects of caffeine within this population. This manuscript provides a review of the literature concerning trends and safety of ingested caffeine in children and adolescents.


A search of the National Library of Medicine database was conducted using the terms caffeine, children, adolescents, and safety, in addition to tailored searches on specific topics using combinations of search terms such as energy drinks, cardiovascular, mood, cognitive, mental health, sleep, and regulations.


The majority of the literature reviewed here suggests that typical, moderate caffeine consumption in children and adolescents is relatively safe, but that higher doses of caffeine consumption (>400 mg) can cause physiological, psychological, and behavioral harm, in particular in subgroups of children, such as those with psychiatric or cardiac conditions. More attention is being paid to the potential adverse effects of both acute and chronic caffeine use, and additional regulations surrounding the sale and marketing of highly caffeinated beverages are now being considered.


More research is needed to fill in gaps in our knowledge, including understanding the relationship between caffeine use and initiation of other substances, such as cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana, identifying individuals at risk for caffeine toxicity, and developing harm-reduction strategies.


caffeine; children; harm reduction; safety

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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