Can Kids Drink Decaf Coffee?

Can Kids Drink Decaf Coffee?

Being a parent to a toddler is a strenuous job, and a cup of coffee can be relaxing. And it is very much possible that your kid may have asked you for a sip of coffee. While it is certain that kids should not contain caffeine, what if you are drinking decaf? Decaffeinated does not mean that there is no caffeine at all; a small amount of caffeine is still there.

Can Kids Drink Decaf Coffee?

Yes. Altough it is still not recommended for children to consume regularly. However, an occasional sip of decaf will not have any side effects. Avoid giving it to kids under ten years of age. There is no evidence that moderate caffeine consumption harms the health of adults or children. Furthermore, there are no studies that suggest that drinking caffeine can stunt the growth of your kids or their bone growth or density.

Decaf or decaffeinated is considered no caffeine. Contrary to the name, decaf drinks have caffeine. The amount is quite low. A seven-ounce of decaf contains 3 milligrams. On the other hand, a regular coffee contains approximately 115 milligrams or 175 milligrams of caffeine. In this brew, around 97% of the caffeine has been extracted out of the coffee beans.

However, coffee should not substitute for milk that offers vital calcium and protein for proper growth. Moreover, when the coffee is loaded with sugar and cream, it can add extra fat and calories to your child’s diet.

Decaf vs Regular Coffee

Even though decaf has a lot less caffeine than regular coffee, people should still avoid it. Decaffeinated means that the naturally occurring caffeine was removed from the beans during processing. This process is done by soaking and steaming them to remove some of their flavour compounds and caffeine content. Although not all these chemicals are bad for kids, there are still concerns about some of them.

Caffeine is a stimulant, and for younger children, it may prevent sleep or cause night terrors in kids with no prior history of such events. It has also been linked to headaches and migraines as well as osteoporosis later on in life. Caffeine can make a child feel jittery and anxious, which can cause a general feeling of discomfort. But if your kid is having any kind of caffeine, decaf is a better choice.

8 Effects of Caffeine in Children

Coffee is a popular drink among many adults, but it’s not for everyone. Some people are sensitive to caffeine or have other medical reasons why they can’t drink coffee. However, there are plenty of good reasons why kids, especially under the age of 10 years, should avoid the caffeinated beverage, too.

Lower Calcium Absorption

When you ingest caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee and tea, it blocks your body’s ability to absorb calcium. This can lead to lower bone density and an increased risk for osteoporosis later on in life.


Caffeine causes dehydration. Kids’ bodies are already dehydrated, especially in the summertime when they spend more time outdoors and playing under the sun’s heat. Dehydration is not good for your body as it can cause several health problems such as headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Drinking coffee will only make these symptoms worse.

Nervous System Disorder

When a child drinks coffee in excess, it can cause serious problems with the nervous system. The caffeine puts extra stress on an already sensitive and growing body, which is why children should not drink coffee or any caffeinated beverage.


Coffee can cause toothaches if someone drinks it too often. Drinking coffee regularly is not good for teeth because of the drink’s high acidity levels, which leads to fast erosion and decay in the enamel covering every child’s teeth. The caffeine present in coffee will make little ones jittery and unable to fall off into deep sleep, essential for their development.

Lack of Concentration

Kids who drink too much coffee will not be able to focus on schoolwork, leading to poor grades. This is important because they need all the help they can get for kids to do well. If drinking coffee stops them from concentrating, it will impact their learning and success in life.

Lower Appetite

Caffeine reduces the body’s release of insulin and triggers adrenaline, which tells your brain that you need to eat. If a child eats less because she is drinking coffee, then her appetite will decrease even more when caffeine consumption decreases later in life, making it harder for kids to control their appetites and lose weight.

Added Calories

Drinking coffee is not a good idea if kids are trying to cut back on calories. Coffee contains several hundred milligrams of caffeine, which provides the body with energy that makes people feel more awake and alert. However, drinking caffeinated drinks might lead to problems when someone has very little time for food intake in one day or has to go without eating for a long time. Kids who drink coffee may risk gaining weight because there are many calories in just one cup of coffee, which can add up if they have several cups daily.

Sleep Disturbance

Caffeine affects sleep. It is a stimulant that can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. This typically doesn’t pose very much of a problem for adults since caffeine stays in our systems for about five hours before wearing off. However, children take longer to clear caffeine from their bodies, which means that caffeine can affect their sleep for longer than it does adults. This doesn’t just affect the quality of your child’s sleep; it also affects how long they will be able to stay asleep, as well as how alert they will be throughout the day.

How Much Caffeine is Safe for a Child?

FDA sets no particular level for children. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that caffeine and other substances in energy drinks should not be included in children’s diet. According to pediatrics, kids under the age of 12 must not consume any caffeine in their drinks or foods.


For children above 12 years of age, the recommended caffeine intake should not go over 85-100 milligrams per day. If a child consumes above 50 mg per pound, he or she is at the risk of caffeine toxicity or caffeine overdose.

What is Caffeine Overdose?

Caffeine overdose is when someone has too much caffeine, usually from drinking multiple caffeinated beverages or eating foods with caffeine. It can cause unpleasant effects such as restlessness and heart palpitations. If your child drinks coffee for the first time and experiences any of these symptoms, you should immediately go to the hospital: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.

Why Are Kids Drinking More Coffee?

Coffee is a more popular drink among kids than ever before. Coffee has become part of the American lifestyle as well as education and workplace culture. Kids begin drinking coffee at younger ages to keep up with their peers’ schedules and social lives, even though it’s not recommended for children under 18.

Kids aren’t just drinking plain old coffee either; they’re adding in sweeteners and creamers to put their spin on it. Coffee shops that sell specialty coffees are becoming more popular among children as well.

Foods and Drinks That Contain Caffeine

Kids tend to consume and drink caffeine that you must be aware of. Following are some of the foods and drinks that have caffeine in them:

FoodServing SizeAmount of Caffeine (mg)
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar1.5 ounces10 mg
Dannon All Natural Coffee Yogurt6 ounces30 mg
Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch1/2 cup40 mg
Edy’s Grand Espresso Chip1/2 cup45 mg
Coca cola, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, TAB, Mountain Dew, Sunkist12 ounces35-55 mg
Bottled tea16 ounces30-60 mg
Starbuck’s Iced Coffee11 ounces200 mg
Hot Chocolate16 ounces25 mg
Frappuccino Blended Creme, Double Chocolaty Chip16 ounces110-145 mg
Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee14 ounces145 mg
Starbuck’s Cafe Latte16 ounces150 mg
Maxwell House or Folgers16 ounces160-200 mg
Starbuck’s cafe mocha16 ounces175 mg
Starbuck’s coffee16 ounces330 mg

It is important to pay attention to the amount of caffeine that is going into your kids’ diet. While some parents think that offering a sip of their decaf is no big deal, others are strictly against the idea. Moreover, if you have a kid with heart issues, anxiety, or nervous system disorders, your kid may be more sensitive to it. Therefore, the side effects will be more intense.

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