Doctors warn, too much caffeine can be lethal for children

After a SC teen dies from a caffeine overdose, the question arises how much is too much caffeine? It's not the amount of caffeine that necessarily led to his death, it's the fact he drank all three in under two hours.

Richland (S.C) County Coroner Gary Watts said Davis Allen Cripe died from an irregular heartbeat that resulted in a "cardiac event".

Cripe's untimely and highly unusual cause of death has sparked a bunch of breathless headlines warning that caffeine overdose is real and easier than ever to succumb to.

Yet, caffeine overdoses are rare, resultant deaths even rarer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is unequivocal in its position on the caffeine-rich beverages: "Energy drinks pose potential health risks because of the stimulants they contain and should never be consumed by children or adolescents". Europe has the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world, with the European Union ingesting 2.5 million tons annually, or 725 million cups daily (4 kilos of roasted coffee per EU citizen per year).

"People have to realize caffeine is a chemical stimulant", said Dr. Warren.

"It causes blood vessels to constrict, it raises the heart rate", says Dr. Howard Brazil, a cardiologist at Jackson Hospital.

One doctor in the video below calls what the teen consumed a "perfect storm of stimulation to a young 16-year-old's heart".

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The boy reportedly drank caffeine-laden soft drinks, coffee and an energy drink in a short span of time.

Check out the app, Caffeine Tracker, or you can keep it old school and check the back of your drink labels. That's about the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two "energy shot" drinks.

Watts concedes that there are conflicting opinions about the dangers of caffeine, even among coroners.

A classmate who was with Davis the day he died, said he loaded up on caffeine - and "basically chugged" an energy drink during class. "Stay away from energy drinks- they're bad for you".

How do you know if you have consumed too much caffeine?

A study conducted by Mayo Clinic in 2015 found that risk of heart disease increases significantly from a single energy drink in young adults.

Even so, medical complications from energy drinks are still rare.

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