We all know caffeine is bad for children, but can kids drink decaf coffee?
The answer is yes. Technically, kids can have a sip or two from time to time.
But, drinking decaf coffee regularly is not recommended for kids under the age of twelve because of the remaining small amount of caffeine in it.
This is not a simple subject, so stay with me to unwrap this together.
What is Decaf Coffee?
Sometimes, too much caffeine can give me a shaky hand, a racing heart beating out of my chest, and real-life fear I’m going to have a heart attack.
If you are a coffee drinker, decaf coffee is a convenient alternative when you want to enjoy a cup of coffee but skip the caffeine buzz.
If you have found yourself in a situation where your kid wants to try a coffee drink, it’s understandable if you think that drinking coffee without caffeine is a better option.
And, you are right, decaf coffee is better than regular coffee. But, it’s still not so great for your kid.
Do you know what decaffeinated coffee actually is and how it’s produced? Let’s take a look.
- Decaf coffee is made from regular coffee beans that contain caffeine.
Caffeine is a natural pest repellent substance found in many plants besides coffee.
- Caffeine is pulled from green coffee beans in the extraction process called decaffeination.
In the beginning, they used heavy chemicals, like benzene. But it’s not the case anymore. Today, there are several different methods to extract caffeine, and they are all completely safe.
Probably the best method for extracting caffeine today is the Swiss water method.
As its name says, it uses only water to decaffeinate beans. This method gives 99.9 caffeine-free but still very aromatic coffee. Plus, it is an environmentally friendly process.
- Decaffeinated coffee is not entirely caffeine-free.
None of these decaffeination methods can remove all of the caffeine content from the coffee bean. Decaf has 94 -97% caffeine removed. That is about 2mg of caffeine per cup. For comparison, there is about 95 mg of caffeine in a regular cup of caffeinated coffee. It’s not much for an adult person, and we won’t probably even feel it. But a young child can definitely feel the kick.
Should You Give Decaf Coffee to Your Child?
The main problem with decaf coffee consumption is that there is no certainty about its caffeine level.
And we know that there is always a small percentage of caffeine content left.
The thing is that even a moderate caffeine intake on a regular basis is not good for children’s development. Potential health implications of caffeine consumption on children can be:
- upset stomach, diahrea
- abnormal heart rhythm
- high blood pressure
- sleep disruptions
But, let’s be fair. Kids can get caffeine from other stuff besides decaffeinated coffee, like soda, candies, or even hot chocolate.
For example, a 12 oz can of Coca-Cola contains about 35-45mg of caffeine. That’s a lot!
So, even if it’s not recommended to give any caffeinated beverage to kids under the age of 12, a sip or two once in a while won’t hurt them.
Of course, don’t make an everyday ritual out of this. You definitely don’t want your kiddo running around charged with caffeine every day.
If you still have doubts about giving any caffeine to your youngster, keep on reading.
I will give you answer to a few common questions.
When can a child start drinking coffee?
Let’s be real, kids under 12 years really don’t have any health benefits from a caffeinated drink.
Caffeine is an addictive stimulant, and you should try to keep your kid away from it for as long as you can.
Between the age of 10 and 12, your kid can take a few sips of coffee occasionally without consequences, but not too often.
What are the decaf side effects for your kid?
Even the small amounts of caffeine content from a cup of decaf, or Coca-Cola, can leave some consequences if they take it often.
Long-term problems can be:
• disruption of sleep
• reduced appetite
• permanent lack of focus
• lower calcium absorbtion
• tooth damage
• caffeine addiction
How much coffee is okay for children?
In the U.S., there are no federal guidelines for caffeine intake for children.
But, Health Canada says that kids can take no more than 2.5mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight daily.
Of course, it is not a good idea to let your kids drink coffee every day.
You should definitely try to avoid giving your kid even a decaf coffee.
Frequent caffeine intake, even in small amounts, can leave some consequences. Sleep disruption, stomach problems, or caffeine addiction are just a few to name.
But, from time to time, you can give your child a sip or two from your mug.
Hopefully, it will satisfy their curiosity for some time.
Going to Starbucks to pick up your favorite coffee, and your kid wants to get a cup also? Check out our article and see what the tastiest, caffeine-free beverages at Starbucks you can get for your kid are.
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