Why Are Riders ‘Wired’ in the Morning?

Posted on January 1, 2002

Some children on my bus seem “wired” in the morning. What can be causing this? It’s not uncommon for children, especially older ones, to ingest considerable amounts of caffeine before starting off to school. Some kids routinely drink coffee or caffeinated sodas such as Coke or Pepsi in the morning, which can result in “wired” behavior. Because they are generally smaller than adults, kids get the same bang for much less buck from caffeine. It has the same side effects on children that it does on adults. While caffeine can increase alertness, it can also cause anxiety, nervousness and sleeplessness. Although caffeine has no toxic side effects, it can cause withdrawal symptoms with repeated use. In recent studies, children ages 8 to 12 were given three soft drinks a day for 13 days. Twenty-four hours after discontinuation of the soft drinks, their performance on a computerized test deteriorated. Here are some caffeine levels found in common food and drink: Coffee (8 oz.) 35 mg. Tea (8 oz.) 35 mg. Coke (12 oz.) 45 mg. Sprite (12 oz.) 0 mg. Hershey bar (1.5 oz.) 31 mg. Hot cocoa (8 oz.) 5 mg. Source: Dr. Frank Finney, (250) 365-3482 or

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