Coffee: Can Kids Join Mum In This Morning Habit?

People in the UK drinks an average of 700 million cups of coffee each day. Many of these coffee drinkers are tired mums, and their children are often curious about what is inside of their mother's mug. However, research shows that the kitchen coffee machine should be used by grown-ups only. This does leave coffee drinkers with a few questions, however: why is coffee bad for children, and what age is acceptable for beginning to consume the drink?


Why Is Coffee An Unhealthy Choice For Children?

Studies show that eight out of every 10 children consume caffeinated beverages on a normal basis, but the substance is unhealthy for their young bodies. The experts behind these studies state that children can occasionally have up to 100 milligrams of caffeine in one day, but this should be a rare occurrence and they should never have more than the 100 milligrams. Children can experience caffeine overdose, which can lead to seizures and heart attacks, if this limit is exceeded.

The study also states that coffee affects children in different and more obvious ways than it does to adults, since their systems are smaller and less mature. The chemicals are absorbed into their central nervous system almost immediately after consuming the drink. The children then experience jitters, hyperactivity, and trouble sleeping, and well as experience increased urination, lowered critical thinking skills, and worsened gross motor skills. These symptoms can then worsen their performance in school, sports, and social settings.


Can Breastfeeding Mothers Drink Coffee?

Breastfeeding mothers pass small amounts of the foods and beverages they consume to their babies through breastmilk. This means that breastfed babies often consume small amounts of coffee and caffeine. Luckily, 2-3 cups of coffee will not affect babies at all since barely any caffeine makes its way into the mother's milk. Breastfeeding is a difficult task on its own, and mums don't need to make it harder by cutting out their morning cup of coffee.

When Can Children Have Caffeine?

Caffeine should always be limited or avoided when concerning children younger than 12. However, experts say it is best to wait until children are at least 16, if not 18, before allowing them to regularly consume the substance. If children want to drink coffee before they enter the 16-18 year old time frame, their parents can consider offering them a small amount of the beverage, as long as it is sugar-free and decaffeinated.

Overall, caffeine is a dangerous substance for young children. It can harm their growing bodies and minds in many ways, and is simply not worth the risks. Children may desire coffee when they are young, but there's no reason to risk them developing mild-to-life threatening symptoms just to enjoy the drink at a young age. It’s best to wait until kids are 16 or even 18 before they can share in the joy of mum’s perfect coffee machine.