Nov 18, 2014 08:15 PM EST
With the fancy, colorful and attractive packaging, its sweet taste, and the term used to describe it; "energy drinks" are seen by many as a harmless beverage with no health hazards even to the young consumers.
However, this proves to be not the case, as a new study reveals how many children have suffered health issues after drinking a bottle of a single energy drink.
The study, presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014, shows that over 40 per cent of calls made to U.S. poison control centers are because of caffeine poisoning from consuming energy drinks by children under the age of six years old.
The study found that the most serious cases involved children suffering from seizures and abnormal heart beats.
Most of those calls were blamed on "accidental exposure," or children having no idea what they were drinking.
Dr. Steven Lipshultz and his team analyzed records from the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System. Of 5,000 cases reported from 2010 to 2013, the team found that 40-percent of them involved children aged 6 or under who were poisoned by finding the energy drink in the fridge and consuming, or receiving portions of energy drinks from parents or a family member.
"Exposure to energy drinks is a continuing health problem," said Lipshultz, the study's main author and the pediatrician-in-chief at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. "But it doesn't mean a 4-year-old goes to 7-Eleven and goes, 'Here's $3, I want a can of energy drink.' It was probably in the fridge, or either a sibling or parent gave it," he added.
Reports say that energy drink companies are warning of the dangers of the drinks if they are over consumed, or given to children. One energy drink can contain up to 400 mg of caffeine, the same amount that puts an adult at dangerous levels of poisoning, compared to 100 mg in one cup of coffee.
The overall goal of the study is to highlight the need for labeling on energy drinks. Researchers look to lessen the amount of caffeine consumed accidentally or at the hands of a parent or family member to prevent poisoning resulting in cardiovascular and neurological problems in young children.
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