Caffeine is not associated with enuresis

December 29, 2010

A study published online in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals that 5- to 12-year-old children who consume caffeine?almost exclusively in beverages such as soda?are not more likely than their peers who do not ingest caffeine to wet the bed. But caffeine consumption and hours of sleep are correlated, with higher levels of caffeine associated with fewer hours of sleep.

 

A study published online in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals that 5- to 12-year-old children who consume caffeine-almost exclusively in beverages such as soda-are not more likely than their peers who do not ingest caffeine to wet the bed. But caffeine consumption and hours of sleep are correlated, with higher levels of caffeine associated with fewer hours of sleep.

Investigators surveyed 228 parents of 5- to 12-year-olds recruited from an urban outpatient pediatric clinic about the types and amounts of snacks and beverages their children consumed every day. The survey revealed that about three-quarters of respondents’ children regularly consumed caffeine, with older children imbibing more than those who are younger.

Five- to 7-year-olds who consumed caffeine had 52 mg on a typical day, and 8- to 12-year-olds consumed 109 mg of caffeine. With a 12-ounce can of cola having about 45 mg of caffeine, the younger children had more than 1 can of soda each day and the older children about 3.

Surprisingly, caffeine consumption was not significantly associated with enuresis. In fact, children who consumed caffeine were less likely to wet the bed than children who did not drink caffeinated beverages, as were children from Spanish-speaking families compared with their English-speaking peers. The effect of caffeine on sleep was another matter: The more caffeine children ingested, the fewer hours they slept on average. Investigators noted, however, that no causal conclusions can be drawn from the study results.

Although the United States has no guidelines for pediatric caffeine consumption, Canadian guidelines recommend that children from 4 to 6 years of age have no more than 45 mg per day of caffeine and that older children have no more than 85 mg per day. Pointing out that children in this study were consuming well above the amount of caffeine that can create physiologic effects in adults, researchers suggested that “given the potential effects of caffeine on childhood behavior, a screen of caffeine consumption might be beneficial when evaluating childhood behavioral health concerns.”

Warzak WJ, Evan S, Floress MT, Gross AC, Stoolman S. Caffeine consumption in young children. J Pediatr. 2010. Epub ahead of print.