Child’s Death Puts Focus on Energy Drinks

by | Oct 3, 2013 | Personal Injury

The death of a 14-year-old girl in Maryland has helped call attention to the dangers of energy drinks for young people. The teen, who had a malfunctioning heart valve, drank two Monster energy beverages in a 24-hour period and suddenly passed away.

Her autopsy listed caffeine toxicity as the cause of her death. Her family is suing the drink maker.

Energy drinks are usually packed with caffeine and other additives that are supposed to give consumers a boost, but the Food and Drug Administration has no formal definition of what is or is not an energy drink; that is left entirely up to manufacturers and marketers.

According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20,783 people went to emergency rooms due to incidents related to consuming energy drinks 2011. The FDA is looking into numerous deaths related to energy drinks, including five deaths associated with Monster’s beverages.

In a March 2013 letter, doctors implored the FDA to take action and regulate energy drinks. “There is evidence in the published scientific literature that the caffeine levels in energy drinks pose serious potential health risks,” the letter stated.

The FDA recommends that adults limit caffeine consumption to 400mg daily, just a little more than one 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee. However, the agency is quick to note that the risks of caffeine overdose are greater for children and people with heart disease, high blood pressure and other health conditions.

In May 2013, the city attorney of San Francisco also sued Monster. The civil action alleges that Monster markets its sugary, high-caffeine drinks to children, even though the company maintains its primary market are consumers ages 18-34.

Energy drinks are easily available to young people, and so it is important for parents to take a role in young people’s buying habits. The website Kids Health notes that the side effects of too much caffeine include:

  • Jitters
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Headaches
  • Concentration problems
  • Insomnia and disordered sleep
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

The death of a loved one, especially a child, is one of the most painful experiences a family can endure. If you or a family member has been injured because of a faulty product, the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at Burch, George & Germany, P.C., are here to help you.

Our team is passionate, aggressive, and sensitive to the needs of our clients. If you live in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Norman, or another Oklahoma community and need high quality legal representation, contact us to learn about how we can help you win your case.