Is Decaf Coffee Bad For Kids?

Is Decaf Coffee Bad For Kids?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have a recommended level of caffeine intake for children. But Canada Health has issued a guideline that children 4-6 years old consume less than 45mg per day, ages 7-9 less than 62.5mg/day, and ages 10-12 <85mg/day. The American Academy of Pediatrics completely discourages caffeine consumption.

Is decaf coffee bad for kids? Is this really a big deal?

The issue of children consuming caffeine is now becoming controversial. Other people saw it as bad parenting for allowing their kids to drink decaf coffee. Caffeine is not a mind-altering drug but a drug that produces mood changes. Caffeine in decaf is not going to turn your sweet little child into someone else. Little did you know that like chocolate milk or hot chocolate it contains caffeine? A cup of hot chocolate has approximately 5mg of caffeine which is the same amount as a cup of decaf. 


There are some reasons why is decaf coffee bad for kids. One of the biggest issues experts see is that kids drinking coffee is staining their teeth. How does it stain the teeth?

According to a toothpaste website, although the enamel of the teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not flat and smooth. Your tooth enamel contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink. And pigments from dark-colored drinks like coffee, tea, and soda can become embedded in those cracks and ridges and if ignored it can lead to permanent, yellowing stains on teeth.

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How to minimize this? The toothpaste brand recommends brushing the teeth and rinsing the mouth with water which helps with yellowing. If your kid is going to drink decaf coffee make sure he brushes his teeth afterward. Because cavities are another worry from sugary coffee drinks and if your kid.

Cavities are other worries of parents too from very sugary coffee drinks. But if your child is interested in decaf better not recommend using sugar or any flavor additive. If drinking decaf has become a bad habit with your child why not give him decaf milk on breakfast instead. Or why not simply limit a small amount of decaf. 

Why is decaf coffee bad for kids?

Maybe it’s fine with brushing your kid’s teeth extra after coffee and not worried about sugar leading to cavities. But about the effects of caffeine on them? Since it is still caffeine, it has all the same side effects on children as it does on adults.

The most noticeable side effects are hyperactivity and dependence on caffeine. But is this really a problem in decaf too? Just like other things, one should practice moderation. A small cup of decaf occasionally is unlikely to have any effect on your child. As children are smaller and having different bodies so it is wise to not overindulge your child with any decaf or caffeinated. Why not give them something that has nutritional value. 

Why do kids like coffee or decaf coffee?

Do they enjoy it? Is it cool? Maybe they do like the taste or maybe they are just curious about it. With its health benefits, it’s understandable that a young person or a kid may be interested in drinking it. Even some parents urge to introduce decaf coffee to their own kids for its protective effects. But there are risks to consider when it comes to kids and early adolescents drinking coffee. 

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Coffee is like a drug, and like any drug, its effects vary. Caffeine’s effect depends upon one’s body weight, and since kids and youngsters are smaller than adults, caffeine typically impacts significantly on them. Common side effects of caffeine consumption include difficulty sleeping, nervousness, and increased heart rate. More serious side effects due to caffeine overdose include restlessness, seizures, arrhythmia, or worst cardiac arrest. If a young person tries coffee and experiences these unpleasant side effects, they should stop immediately, same with adults too.

But if a youngster is able to drink a bit of coffee without adverse effects, how much can they safely consume? According to a journal published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, the following amounts of daily caffeine consumption to be safe and no adverse effects:

  • 400mg for healthy adults
  • 300mg for pregnant women
  • 2.5mg/kg for children and adolescents

Meaning, an 8-ounce cup of home-brewed black coffee contains about 95mg of caffeine. Beyond these levels of consumption, researchers found links to things like anxiety, hypertension, and reproductive issues. So, it’s very important to relate the body mass of the child, not the age. Like the average 7-year-old weighs about 50 pounds or 23 kg. This means a limit of 57.5mg of caffeine per day would be enough for kids under these rules. While the American government doesn’t publish caffeine guidelines for children, but Canada does like the recommended limit for 4-6 years old is 45mg, 7-9 years old is 62.5mg and 10-12 years old is 85mg. 

Now that you’ve got more information to make your decision. If you decide to go to the decaf, a small amount with a lot of milk is better, just avoid those sugary, teeth rotting coffee flavor additives. In addition to coffee, caffeine is present in tea (48 mg per 8 ounces), caffeinated soda (37 mg per 12 ounces), hot chocolate (10 mg per 12 ounces), and chocolate (10-30 mg per 1.5 oz). It’s also added to a variety of sports products and energy drinks.

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