The use of Red Bull and other energy drinks by schoolchildren is becoming a growing problem, a drug expert says.
Bob Tait, of Drug Education UK, which delivers drug awareness classes in schools, warned the drinks could make pupils disruptive and hyperactive.
He claimed high consumption could even cause chest pains and headaches and warned school nurses to be on the lookout for such problems.
But a spokeswoman for Red Bull said the drink was not recommended for children.
Mr Tait said that during his work going into schools he had talked to pupils who were drinking too many energy drinks, the Nursing Standard magazine reported.
"I will talk to a group and ask them who is drinking energy drinks such as Red Bull and five or six hands will shoot up.
"I came across one boy who was having eight a day. That is too much.
"In some cases parents are giving their children these drinks, but I would say the main source is shopkeepers.
"I don't think there are any schools which actually sell them. But the problem is that they are fashionable drinks.
"It is hard to say in how many schools it is a problem, but it is certainly beginning to cause concern."
He said school nurses needed to be aware of the symptoms, including headaches and restlessness.
But he also warned that over consumption could lead to chest pains.
His warnings came after a school in West Sussex banned Red Bull being consumed on the grounds after staff reported an increase in bad behaviour.
But the National Union of Teachers said they were not aware of energy drink consumption causing a widespread problem.
Each can of Red Bull contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
The makers say it can improve performance and boost concentration, but was not necessarily aimed at children.
"Red Bull can be drunk at the same age that it is suitable to drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
"People have different sensitivity to caffeine, the daily consumption of Red Bull should conform to a person's intake of caffeine and the same is true for children.
"However, in general children are more sensitive to caffeine than adults, this is why we do not recommend Red Bull to caffeine sensitive individuals including children."
5 months ago