A healthy teenager in the US state of South Carolina died from drinking several highly-caffeinated drinks too quickly, a coroner has ruled.
Davis Allen Cripe collapsed at a high school in April after drinking a McDonald’s latte, a large Mountain Dew soft drink and an energy drink in just under two hours.
The 16-year-old died from a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia”.
He had no pre-existing heart condition. The teenager weighed 90kg (200 lbs) but would not have been considered morbidly obese.
Caffeine would probably not have been seen as a factor in the teenager’s death if witnesses had not been able to tell officials what he had been drinking before his death, the Richland County coroner said.
The main witness could not say which brand of energy drink Davis drank but said it was from a container the size of a large soft drink.
The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has warned against children and teenagers consuming energy drinks, saying their ingredients have not been tested on children and “no-one can ensure they are safe”.
It says they have side-effects including irregular heartbeats and blood pressure changes.
Most energy drinks contain a caffeine equivalent of three cups of coffee and as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar, the AAP says.
Davis may have consumed about 470mg of caffeine in just under two hours, based on statistics from the website caffeineinformer.com.