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Caffeine doesn't worsen bedwetting, but moderation advised
December 16th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Caffeine doesn't worsen bedwetting, but moderation advised

Drinking caffeine doesn't seem to affect how often young children wet the bed according to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics. But before your child heads to the kitchen for a caffeine fix, know that the researchers recommend children drink less caffeine, not more.

Clinicians at an outpatient pediatric clinic in Nebraska asked parents of more than 200 children how often their child drank caffeinated beverages and wet the bed. About 75% of the children drank caffeine.  Children aged 5 to 7 consumed about a can of soda a day while 8- to 12-year-olds drank almost three times that amount. Though caffeine is a diuretic – meaning it increases the need to urinate – children who drank it did not wet the bed more often than children who had no daily caffeine.

But the investigators are cautious about the results.

"The findings are preliminary and until they are replicated I recommend that children who have bedwetting problems are probably well advised to cut back on caffeine as the day wears on," says clinical psychologist William Warzak with the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Researchers don't really know how caffeine affects young children because most of the studies in young people have been done with teens. But medical experts do know caffeine is a stimulant and has physiological and psychological affects in teens and adults.

"Since there are really unknown effects of caffeine in young children, you should probably only have them drink caffeine in moderation. What we don't know is where to draw the line for moderation," explains Warzak.

The study also found that about a quarter of the children slept a little less when they drank caffeine but the authors caution that there may have been other factors that contributed to this finding.

"I don't think you can make a straight line cause and effect comment regarding caffeine consumption and the fact that some of these kids are sleeping less. Can that be a factor? Sure. Is it a factor? I don't know," says Warzak.

Other experts say this study shows children are drinking more than twice as much caffeine as previously reported and may serve as a wake-up call to doctors.

"Pediatricians may need to start asking parents about how much caffeine their children are drinking. Children don't need caffeine. It's a stimulant and has no nutritional value for young people," says Dr. Marcie Schneider, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Nutrition. Schneider is not affiliated with the Nebraska study.

Warzak is planning a follow-up study on caffeine and bed wetting which is scheduled to begin next year.


soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. aranhas

    This is just another example of "mommy" government. What difference does it make if you have one of these drinks or a couple of expressos with shots of rum? Actually, that sounds like a hell of a lot more tasty than these pop drinks. Politicians have to get their names in the paper and they jump on any stupid issue to do it. Ever try a couple of No-Doz in a gin and tonic? That will keep you awake while driving home from your favorite dive. Adding caffeine to alcohol is a safety issue. Better than falling asleep at the wheel.

    December 16, 2010 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      How is this ANY type of example of mommy goverment. Scientific research is now mommy goverment? perhaps you don't like the results. Where is the goverment mentioned? I don't see it.

      December 16, 2010 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • Bugmenot

      Mommy didn't take yer liquor away dude.......but she might not open the door for ya if ya stagger home snot-slingin' pukin' drunk some night.either. She could also make you post yer own bail.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      You drive drunk. Nice. I bet you think there were pink elephants on Noah's Ark.

      December 16, 2010 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • maxwell

      mommy don't let your kids grow to be politicians.

      December 16, 2010 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
    • jfeldredge

      Caffeine may keep you from getting as sleepy from alcohol as you would otherwise, but it doesn't improve your judgment or reflexes, both of which are impaired by alcohol. Taking No-Doz, coffee, or other forms of caffeine don't make it safe for you to drive while intoxicated. This has been known for decades.

      December 18, 2010 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
  2. ninaramey

    Companies do give out samples. They are looking to put their products in potential consumers' hands. They wouldn't do it if it didn't work one of the place that always worked is "123 Get Samples" search online

    December 16, 2010 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sheila

    Caffiene is a drug. A stimulant. Children should not be consuming it. First, it can be harmful. Second, they build up a tolerance. How much caffiene will they want to keep alert when they're 30 if they are taking in this much by age 10?

    December 16, 2010 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Janna

    Young children of bed wetting age should not have anything besides water past 6 PM regardless of what their parents allow them to drink from the moment they wake until 6 PM. That rule we tested a hand full of times before we finally put our foot down and stuck to it firmly.

    December 16, 2010 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Uncle Festivus

    I've seen moms give 1-2 year old kids full sugary and caffinated cola repeatedly...then give them a buck to throw in the vending machine to grab candy on top of it. No wonder we have fat kids. I remember in school seeing one or two. Now it's everywhere and the skinny kid is the one or two I see.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Valerie

    I'd be more concerned about the amount of BPA or high fructose corn syrup (not sugar as sugar is too expensive for soda makers) in the canned sodas than the caffeine content. But all of it is bad. I'm suprised that so many parents would let their kids consume caffeine on a daily basis. When I was a kid, we didn't have soda in the house, so I only had some on special occasions, like at a restaurant once a month if I was lucky. Same way with my kids now, except that one of them doesn't even like it (hard to believe, I know). But I also monitor the type of fruit drinks they consume and what type of sweeteners are used in them. Mostly, my kids drink organic milk or water.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
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    December 16, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Edwin Kribbs

    As a child, I nearly exclusively drank milk. We had almost no soda pop in our house, with the exception of an occasional ginger ale or 7-up. But every morning, from childhood until now at age 62, I wake up feeling sick and too frequently with a headache that would not go away until about 11 AM. What cures this malady is a "fix" of caffeine. So I would characterize myself as a caffeine addict. I rarely touched coffee or anything containing caffeine before age 22. Then, in the office at work, I discovered drinking coffee caused a wave of euphoria, lifted the morning fog, and produced a heightened sense of awareness. From childhood, I never understood what caused my morning sickness until I discovered the effect of caffeine as a young adult. Then I remembered that my Mother always had a pot of coffee that she drank all day. I realized that this must have been going on all day when I was a fetus as well. I concluded that I was addicted by my Mother to caffeine before I was even born, and my morning sickness is caused by caffeine withdrawal. Now when I wake up sick, I take a caffeine pill and the fog lifts. I try to limit my caffeine drinks to 3 or 4 cans of soda pop a day. Less and the headaches are worse. If I go more than three days without any caffeine, I get blinding headaches that a dose of caffeine combined with aspirin will not cure.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      I have been through caffeine withdrawal and it does not take forever. Like any drug that is habit forming it can be nasty to stop it. There is no way you would be addicted if you went from birth to 22 without drinking it. Some people just have a long time before they are fully awake. It is an known phenomenon. It takes me about 1.5 to 2 hours to be fully functioning.

      December 16, 2010 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
  9. Emma

    I can't understand why anybody would give a child soda on a regular basis when you can get water on tap ? Soda is a can of poisonous chemicals, it should carry a skull n cross bones warning !

    December 16, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Cortnie

    I would say that it is not a matter of what your child drinks before bed but rather when they drink it. Obviously if your child chugs a glass of pop before bed they will be more likely to wet the bed, but the same applies if it were water or juice or anything else. I believe that caffeine in our society in regards to children is becoming insane. The amount children consume causes alot more problems than 'bedwetting' and I believe those are the topics that people should be focusing on. Diabetes, obesity, etc.

    December 16, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. becca

    As a teacher I once had a parent drop off her 6 year old at the classroom, then bring "breakfast" for him which was a bag of chips and a big mountain dew soda. Sad how this was a typical breakfast for the student and his family.

    December 16, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      I was a high school teacher for some years. The class right after lunch was notorious for being pretty much useless as many of the kids where jacked up on colas. The favorite lunch was coke and chips. Few parents were even providing lunches and the kids used the money to buy junk food instead of the healthy food the school made and sold. On the other hand, those who ate good food were like boa's digesting a sheep.

      December 16, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
  12. Cheryl

    How about the young mother in prenatal class who asked – "which is better for the child, orange soda or orange juice?" There is a serious lack of nutritional education out there!

    December 16, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. CalgarySandy

    I was not allowed to have coffee or tea as a child. It did not ruin my life. I did not allow my child to have either until he was about 13 and then only occasionally. I noticed how Coke affected him; like speed. So that was limited too. Neither bans hurt him in the least. I have to question the sanity of people who think everything is an assault on their rights and freedoms. They are either brutally ignorant or paranoid to the point of being dangerous. They are rarely ranting about the rights of the gay or the liberals. So I guess it is both.

    They may not cause bed wetting; which is why I was not allowed to drink them; but they are diuretics and can lead to constant waking up to go. I have a spastic bladder caused by a neurological problem. Cause unknown. I love coffee and tea and put up with the frequent runs to the bathroom. I do not drink caffeine at bed time as I need my sleep not nocturnal exercise.

    December 16, 2010 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
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