AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Texas Panhandle Poison Center is again warning parents of the dangers energy drinks pose to young children.
The local poison center says there has been an increase in calls regarding energy drink consumption. Thomas Martin, Medical Director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center, said the Texas Poison Center Network has even received a call about children having seizures.
Almost half of all energy drink-related calls to poison control centers in the U.S. were for kids under 6 years old, and many of them were suffering serious nervous system and heart symptoms.
"Even a small dose might increase the heart rate and the larger the dose the more the effect," Martin said. "A very large dose could have very bad effects on the heart, it could make it beat very quickly or cause it to be in an abnormal rhythm, a very unhealthy abnormal rhythm."
These drinks can have serious effects on a child's growing heart. After consuming these beverages many children have complained about heart palpitations because their hearts are skipping beats, have extra beats, or are racing.
Energy drinks can also make children tremulous, anxious, and hyperactive. Studies show children can even develop generalized anxiety disorders. Martin urges parents to be careful because consuming any amount of these drinks can be unsafe for children.
"You'd see more of a behavioral problem if they drank it regularly, but if they drank a large dose then they can get very sick from it," Martin said. "So, it just depends upon the dose. A small amount over time could cause some behavioral problems and a large dose at once could be very serious."
These drinks are unhealthy for children because of the amount of caffeine and other stimulates inside the can.
"Consider it to be like a very strong cup of coffee, so estimates are on the average 2.5 times the amount of caffeine that there is in a cup of coffee," Martin said. "You wouldn't want your kids drinking very strong coffee and you wouldn't want your kids drinking energy drinks for the same reason."
Consuming too much caffeine can lead to caffeine poisoning. For children under the age of 12, 2.5 milligrams per every 2.2 pounds of body weight can be dangerous.
Doctors believe children could be trying these drinks because they see a family member drinking them and they want to try them too. They suggest keeping energy drinks away from children by keeping them on high shelves or not in the house at all.