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South Carolina teen’s death from too much caffeine serves as cautionary tale in metro

OLATHE, Kan. -- Metro doctors are warning parents after a healthy 16-year-old boy died from drinking too much caffeine. A coroner says Davis Cripe died from heart problems after collapsing in class in South Carolina.

He did not have a pre-existing heart condition. The teen drank a large Mountain Dew soda, a latte and an energy drink in the two hours before his overdose. FOX 4 heard from some moms in Olathe who say they're more committed than ever to watching what their kids drink.

A metro cardiologist urges young athletes to avoid caffeine entirely. It`s advice that could save more lives.

For their weekly picnic at Olathe`s Cedar Lake Park, you`ll find a couple of kids chugging juice boxes, and not soda.

“I don`t let my kids drink soda. It`s not good for them. You know?' said Gina Gonzales.

“No coffee. No energy drinks for my kids,” Gonzales continued.

Hearing that a healthy teen died after consuming all three shocked Gonzalez.

“I can`t believe it. That`s crazy. I`m really not going to let my kids drink soda now," she said.

“I don`t let my kids have any caffeine kind of for that reason. I think caffeine at a young age is a stimulant that they don`t need in their system,” said mother of five Staci Haarhuis.

She knows it`s not easy to keep it away from kids, partly because of marketing, and peer influence.

"There`s more pressure to be the ones who don`t let their kids have caffeine than it is to just be the norm and everybody let their kids have caffeine,” said Haarhuis.

However, she is standing firm.

St. Luke’s Hospital has seen a recent increase in younger patients with heart trouble, partly attributed to caffeinated energy drinks. Doctors say the high caffeine levels coupled with sugar and other stimulants can cause the blood vessels to constrict, and change the metabolism of the heart.

In Cripe's case, the combination proved deadly. Now his father sends this message to other parents.

“Parents please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. Teenagers and students please stop buying them,” said Sean Cripe.

The average cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine. The average energy drink has 400 milligrams. The recommended daily limit for an adult is 400 milligrams. For more information, click on this link.