Ban Red Bull sales to kids: Dutch Pediatricians

Energy drinks in a supermarket
Energy drinks in a supermarketPhoto: AlienFood / Wikimedia Commons

Pediatricians in the Netherlands are calling for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children under the age of 18. According to the doctors, many children and teenagers suffer complaints like restlessness, fatigue and cardiac arrhythmia due to energy drinks. 

"This is not an innocent soft drink. We are seeing more and more children with symptoms that are ultimately caused by energy drinks", pediatrician Brita de Jong-Van Kempen said to NOS. "It is also increasingly noticed at schools. With the result that in many schools the energy drinks have already been removed from the vending machines, because the children can not concentrate."

According to the Dutch association for pediatrics NVK, especially teenagers sometimes drink up to six cans of energy drinks per day. An increasing number of teenagers are ending up in emergency rooms with complaints caused by these drinks. 

The Dutch Nutrition Center recommends that children under the age of 13 don't drink energy drinks, and teens between the ages of 13 and 18 drink no more than one can per day. Energy drink cans also show a mandatory warning that these drinks are not recommended for children. But according to the pediatricians, this is not enough.

Energy drinks contain too much caffeine, sugar and taurine, according to the pediatricians. But so far no extensive research was done on what effect these substances have on a child's body. De Jong-Van Kempen points out that it used to be normal for children to drink alcohol, before the harmfulness of the substance was known. A ban on selling energy drinks to children will help increase awareness that these drinks can be harmful to them, she said.

The Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports is not considering such a ban, AD reports. The Ministry points out that it is parents' responsibility to warn their children about the dangers of energy drinks.