Dangers of Energy/Caffeinated Drinks

Adopted January 2009 – Reviewed, retitled and deemed relevant May 2016 – Revised and retitled March 2019 – Health & Community Concerns Commission

Caffeine drinks are everywhere, promising to keep a person energized, revved, and alert. California State PTA encourages PTAs to:

  • Educate parents about the caffeine content of various caffeine and energy drinks.
  • Understand the short-and-long-term effects of caffeine on the health and well-being of children and youth.
  • Encourage parents to limit their children’s intake of caffeine.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sports drinks and energy drinks are significantly different products, and the terms should not be used interchangeably.

  • Sports drinks are flavored beverages that often contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium), and sometimes vitamins or other nutrients.
  • Energy drinks typically contain stimulants, such as caffeine and guarana, with varying amounts of carbohydrate, protein, amino acids, vitamins, sodium, and other minerals. The main psychoactive ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, typically containing from three to five times the amount contained in cola, with the highest concentrations found in energy ‘shots’.  Energy drinks are not suitable for rehydration.

The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains a position that stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.  Furthermore, frequent or excessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents.

The stimulant effect of caffeine increases the heart rate. In higher doses, caffeine can cause more significant effects on the heart by changing the speed and regularity of the heartbeat.

Other caffeine related health concerns include:

  • Dental erosion
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal disorder
  • Shakes, tremors and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Disruption in the classroom
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness

Energy drink labels often state that they are not recommended for children, but sales of the drinks are not restricted by age as are products that contain tobacco and alcohol. California State PTA believes it is important for parents to monitor and understand the effects of energy drinks and coffee beverages on children and youth.

California State PTA encourages legislation that requires caffeine content be included on the labels of all energy and caffeinated beverages purchased in cans and bottles and posted in establishments that sell caffeinated drinks.



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