Heavily caffeinated energy drinks pose a dangerous threat to children by giving them an unsafe amount of stimulants, according to new research reported Monday.
The report, published in the March issue of "Pediatrics," reveals the drinks can lead to heart palpitations, seizures, strokes, and even sudden death in children and teens.
Researchers said about half of all caffeine overdoses in the U.S. in 2007 occurred in children younger than 19 years old. They also found nearly 1,200 cases of caffeine toxicity reported to U.S. poison control centers each year in children younger than age six from 2006 through 2008.
The reports claims 30 to 50 percent of adolescents and young adults drink energy-boosting beverages.
Currently, the government doesn't regulate energy drinks. The FDA categorizes the drinks as nutritional supplements, meaning they can bypass the limit of 71mg of caffeine per 12 ounces that applies to soda.
Researchers claim some energy drinks have four to five times the caffeine of a soda, and often contain other ingredients that enhance stimulating effects.
The report calls for energy drinks to be restricted like tobacco and alcohol.