PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Caffeine is being blamed on the death of a teenager in South Carolina.
The main concern centers on energy drinks, that are loaded with caffeine – a stimulant.
The parents of Davis Cripe – the teen who died from a caffeine overdose – are warning other parents.
“He was a great kid, he didn’t get mixed up in the wrong things- he loved music,” said Davis’ father Sean Cripe. “We worry about their safety, their health, especially since they start driving, but it wasn’t a car crash that took his life, instead it was an energy drink.”
The 16-year-old collapsed during class last month and died at a hospital.
While his initial autopsy required more testing, the coroner says Davis consumed a large soft drink, a latte and an energy drink in less than a two-hour span bringing on what he called a “cardiac event.”
“These drinks, this amount of caffeine, how it’s ingested can have dire consequences-and that’s what happened in this case,” said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.
“I think because it’s not a prescription medication, it’s probably safe to take,” said Dr. Mike Kowalski, a toxicologist at the Einstein Medical Center.
Kowalski says caffeinated drinks contain stimulants that when quickly consumed can overwhelm the body.
“It can have a series of affects around the body, things like seizures, central nervous system affects, your heart. It can send you into bad heart rhythms,” said Kowalski.
Sean Cripe hopes the tragic way his son lost his life could be someone else’s lifesaver.
“Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks,” he said.
The coroner said Davis’ autopsy showed no signs of an undiagnosed heart condition. The American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of most energy drinks, has said they can be safely consumed in moderation.
The Academy of Pediatrics says children and teenagers should stay away from energy drinks.