Teen dies from too much caffeine, coroner says

(CNN) -- Too much caffeine was the cause of a 16-year-old high school student's death in South Carolina, according to the county coroner.

Credit: CNN VAN

Davis Allen Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts announced in a news conference Monday. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. When an arrhythmia happens, the heart may not have the ability to pump enough blood to the body.

The coroner told CNN, the teen had three caffeinated drinks -- a cafe latte, large Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink -- in a two hour period before collapsing in his classroom at Spring Hill High School on April 26.

The teen's father, Sean Cripe, said, "Like all parents, we worry about our kids as they grow up. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn't a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink."

Watts said Davis had purchased the latte at McDonald's around 12:30 p.m. After that he drank the Diet Mountain Dew and the energy drink.

Davis collapsed just before 2:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m., according to officials.

The autopsy revealed no undiagnosed heart conditions and that Davis had no conditions that could have triggered the caffeine intake. No drugs and alcohol were found in the teen's system, according to Watts.

"This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts told CNN. "Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis."

The American Academy of Pediatrics advised that adolescents, age 12 to 18, should not consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day.

When it comes to energy drinks specifically, "children and adolescents are advised to avoid energy drinks. They can contain a significant amount of caffeine as well as other stimulants," Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, nutrition specialist and vice chairwoman in the department of nutrition at the University of California, Davis previously told CNN.

A 2014 study showed that an estimated 73% of children consume some kind of caffeine each day. The US Food and Drug Administration said adults can consume 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without experiencing side effects.