My Toddler Drank Coffee – What to Do?

Accidents happen, especially when curious toddlers are around! If your child has accidentally ingested coffee, it’s important to stay calm and take immediate steps to ensure their safety. Here’s what you need to know and do if your toddler drinks coffee accidentally.

Immediate Steps to Take

  1. Assess the Amount Consumed:
    • Small Sip: If your toddler took just a small sip, they might not experience severe symptoms, but it’s still essential to monitor them closely.
    • Larger Quantity: If they drank a significant amount, you need to act more swiftly.
  2. Monitor for Symptoms:
    • Common Symptoms: Restlessness, increased heart rate, irritability, upset stomach, and increased urination.
    • Severe Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, severe agitation, or unresponsiveness. These require immediate medical attention.
  3. Contact Poison Control or Your Pediatrician:
    • Call your local poison control center immediately for guidance. They can provide specific instructions based on your child’s age, weight, and the amount of coffee consumed.
    • If you can’t reach poison control, contact your pediatrician or go to the nearest emergency room.
  4. Offer Water:
    • Give your child water to drink to help dilute the caffeine in their system. Avoid giving any more caffeinated or sugary drinks.
  5. Keep Your Child Calm:
    • Try to keep your toddler calm and in a quiet environment. Excitement or physical activity can exacerbate symptoms.

Understanding Caffeine’s Effect on Toddlers

Caffeine Sensitivity

Toddlers are much more sensitive to caffeine than adults. Even a small amount can lead to significant symptoms because of their smaller body size and lower tolerance to stimulants.

Potential Health Impacts

  • Cardiovascular Effects: Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Neurological Effects: Hyperactivity, irritability, and potential for seizures in extreme cases.
  • Digestive Issues: Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Preventive Measures

Keep Coffee Out of Reach

  • Store coffee cups, mugs, and coffee makers in places that your toddler can’t access.
  • Be mindful of where you leave your coffee, especially if you’re distracted or busy.

Educate Caregivers

  • Ensure that anyone caring for your child is aware of the risks and knows to keep caffeinated beverages out of reach.

Childproofing Measures

  • Use safety locks on cabinets where you store coffee and other potentially harmful substances.

When to Seek Medical Help

Emergency Situations

  • If your child exhibits severe symptoms such as persistent vomiting, extreme agitation, or unresponsiveness, seek medical help immediately.
  • If you’re ever in doubt about the severity of the situation, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get medical advice.

Follow-Up Care

  • After the initial incident, follow up with your pediatrician to ensure there are no lingering effects and to discuss any concerns you may have.


Accidents like a toddler drinking coffee can be alarming, but with prompt action and careful monitoring, most children recover without serious issues. Always keep potentially harmful substances out of reach, and educate everyone involved in your child’s care about the importance of this practice.

If an accident does occur, knowing the steps to take can make a significant difference in ensuring your child’s safety and well-being.

Stephanie Creek