The Surprising Percentage Of Parents Who Give Coffee To Their Toddlers

After a "meh" night's sleep, nothing gets your listless brain cells hopping into action faster than a cup of coffee. You can almost feel that caffeine coursing through your veins, waking your body up as it goes. Magical, isn't it? Many Americans think so as the penchant for the coffee bean is on the rise. According to a National Coffee Association press release, 2/3 of the population enjoy coffee every day. In fact, Americans consume more coffee than tap water. And, for many, no ordinary coffee will do as the two coffee-based beverages that are tied for the title of the nation's favorite are lattes and cappuccinos. It would seem that many possess a caffeine addiction and a sweet tooth.

While America is far from the world's largest per capita consumer of coffee, the country did manage a respectable 14th place (via Statista). Interestingly, the number one spot belongs to the Netherlands, while our neighbor to the north came in fifth. America is, however, the largest importer of coffee by far, bringing in $5.68 billion worth, while the second largest importer, Germany, lagged behind at just $3.39 billion. Americans clearly enjoy a hot brew. 

It turns out that some coffee-swilling moms and dads want to pass on this appreciation for a cup of joe to their offspring. And there are a few who believe "younger is better," letting their toddlers consume this caffeinated concoction. Just how prevalent is this?

15% of toddlers consume coffee

If your childhood beverage of choice was a glass of chocolate milk, you may be astonished by the results of a study conducted by the Boston Medical Center. According to Eater, it showed that 15% of two-year-old children drink at least four ounces of java each day and 2.5% of one-year-olds follow suit. Why do parents choose to give their toddlers coffee? One of the study's authors told Woman's Day that in many cases, it's cultural, explaining that she is British and, therefore, starting having tea quite young. This craving for caffeine is found among older children, too. Fox News cites a study that showed that teens aged 17 and 18 drink twice as much coffee as that age group did 10 years earlier. 

Does early coffee consumption have negative effects on children's health?  The American Academy of Pediatrics says that kids younger than 12 should not consume any caffeine (per Parents). Parents magazine also cites a nutritionist's concerns about coffee in general, listing the risk of dehydration, interrupted sleep, nervousness, and caffeine dependency, to name a few. Plus, kids tend to prefer their coffee to have an excess of sugar, which is problematic in itself. 

Whether you are all for giving kids coffee or think they should abstain, one fact remains. It would seem that the creation of a new generation of coffee enthusiasts is under way and the nectar of the coffee bean will continue to be highly esteemed.