All it took was three drinks to kill a 16 year old high school student, but those drinks were loaded with caffeine and consumed within a couple of hours. It happened in South Carolina, but doctors here at home say it’s a reminder of just how dangerous caffeine can be.
Davis Allen Cripe was a healthy teenager, with no heart condition according to coroner Gary Watts.
It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused an arrhythmia.
On April 26th, Cripe drank a McDonalds latte, a large Mountain Dew , and an energy drink all within two hours.. He died of a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia. Cripes father has a message for parents and teens.
“Parents please, talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks and teenagers and students, please stop buying them.”
Toronto ER doctor Brett Belchetz says cases like this are almost unheard of.
“For someone of that age to drop dead suddenly just from caffeine consumption… this is extraordinarily rare.”
Belchetz says the recommended limit of caffeine for adults per day is 400 milligrams. For teens ages 12 to 18 its 100 milligrams, equivalent to one coffee or espresso. Cripes latte, large pop and an energy drink would contain approximately 300 milligrams of caffeine.
But the real issue is the time span in which it was consumed.
“When we heard about what this teen drank, you’re looking at having about three to four cups of caffeine in a two hour period. Now that shouldn’t kill you but its not advisable. Even in an adult thats not advisable.”
A 250 millilitre can of Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine. And right on the back of the can it says that its not recommended for children, pregnant or breast feeding women or people who are sensitive to caffeine. And it says, no more than two a day.
Dr. Belchetz says energy drinks are especially harmful because they contain other stimulants in addition to caffeine.
He says that there is no recommended limit of caffeine for children under 12 years old, and so parents should be extra careful with young kids.