The coroner said the death was caused by a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia.”
“I’m not saying that you’re going to die because you have an energy drink,” the coroner told The Washington Post. “It's not the level of caffeine in his system, but the amount of caffeine he took in … in that short period of time affected his heart.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggested in 2011 that energy drinks “should never be consumed by children and adolescents,” the Washington Post reports.
The Food and Drug Administration has imposed a limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine on a 12-ounce soda, but no limits have been placed on energy drinks. While Red Bull contains about the same amount of caffeine as a typical cup of coffee, the Washington Post points out that energy drinks are widely marketed to adolescents, unlike coffee, which puts kids at risk of overdoing it with potentially deadly cardiovascular and neurological consequences.