Too much caffeine led to heart problems that killed teen

Davis Allen Cripe, a 16-year-old student at Spring Hill High School in Chapin, South Carolina, collapsed during one his classes on April 26.

The teenager drank a large Mountain Dew, a McDonald's latte and an energy drink two hours before he began experiencing arrhythmia, Watts said.

Watts officially ruled the cause of death as a caffeine-induced cardiac event.

"Davis was a great kid, and being his parent was a great honor to Heidi [his mother] and me", said the boy's father Sean Cripe said. Also, no other drugs or alcohol were found in the teen's system, according to Watts. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving.

Watts said the boy was doing something he thought was totally harmless, but an excessive amount of caffeine can be extremely unsafe. The coroner said, simply, "it was so much caffeine at the time of his death, that is caused his arrhythmia".

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents, age 12 to 18, should not consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. Watts said the teen was healthy and had no family history of a medical problem the caffeine could have exacerbated. 'You can have five people line up and all of them do the exact same thing with him that day, drink more, and it may not have any type of effect on them at all'.

The website states fatalities related to energy drinks are even more unlikely, due to the: 'sheer amount of liquid that would need to be ingested at one time'. "It wasn't a vehicle crash that took his life", an emotional Sean said. Parents: please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks.

"These drinks can be very risky", Watts said. McDonald's does not report the amount of caffeine in its coffee.

While caffeine does affect everyone differently, nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin told Harper's BAZAAR Australia, "New research shows that having up to 400 mg of caffeine is safe, but I don't believe that personally".

  • Archie Newman