Is It Safe For Kids To Drink Coffee?

Coffee is a part of the morning routine for many Americans and is even growing in popularity among teenagers. According to a 2017 report, the biggest increase in daily coffee consumption was in the 13- to 18-year-old age group, climbing to 37 percent (via Medical News Today). This is a shift from the popularity of caffeinated soft drinks.

But when is it safe for children to drink coffee and what impacts will it have on their health? While there are no official caffeine guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in the Journal of Caffeine Research that it "discourages caffeine use by children and adolescents due to its adverse impact on sleep and blood pressure."

You may have heard of the positive impacts of adults drinking coffee, as it reduces risk of stroke and Type 2 diabetes. But those benefits don't cross over to children (via Epicurious). In fact, coffee provides no health or nutrition benefits for children. Large amounts of caffeine can be dangerous for children and sometimes even fatal.

Other issues with specialty coffee drinks

The caffeine debate gets tricky internationally. Health Canada provides caffeine intake guidelines, saying that children under 12 shouldn't exceed 2.5 milligrams of body weight. This equates to roughly 45 mg for children 4-6 (or less than half a cup of coffee), 62.5 mg for ages 7-9 (a single espresso shot), and 85 mg for kids 10-12 years old (just under one cup of coffee), according to Medical News Today.

Another problem with those popular coffee drinks may not even be solely about the caffeine content. Specialty coffee drinks can also contain a lot of sugar, cream, and whipped cream — making them high in calories and not the healthiest drink choice on a regular basis, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

So is coffee safe for kids? While the occasional sip of coffee won't provide too much harm to children, experts in the U.S. say it is best to limit their caffeine and coffee intake (via Epicurious). If your child needs that extra energy boost, you should visit your pediatrician to determine if there is a cause for daytime tiredness.