COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The parents of a Midlands teen who died last year as a result of consuming too many caffeine-based beverages have joined together with a state legislature to ensure the same thing doesn't happen to another teen.
On April 26, Davis Cripe collapsed in his Spring Hill High School classroom and later died. Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said days later that Davis went through cardiac arrest after consuming a Diet Mountain Dew, a McDonald's cafe latte, and an energy drink in a two-hour span before his death.
"It was so much caffeine at the time of his death, that it caused his arrhythmia," Watts said at the time.
Rep. Leon Howard (D-Richland) joined with Davis's parents and introduced H. 4597, which if it becomes law, would make it illegal to sell or give an energy drink to kids under 18 years old.
"We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said.
The legislation, which did not make it on "crossover" day at the State House on April 10, says that violating the law would result in a misdemeanor charge and, at least a $50 fine.
"He was a great kid," Sean Cripe told FOX Carolina on April 10. "He didn't get mixed up with the wrong things. You worry about their safety, their health, especially when they start driving but it wasn't a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink."
How much caffeine is too much caffeine? The Palmetto Poison Center points to data from the Food and Drug Administration that says the typical adult can consume no more than 400mg of caffeine per day - about 4 to 5 cups of coffee.
The FDA, however, does not have data for caffeine use in children. Instead, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids and adolescents consume no caffeine at all.
"While adults should be mindful of their caffeine consumption, it's important for parents to know the risks of children and adolescents consuming caffeine. Take the time to talk with your children about the dangers of caffeinated drinks," Jill Michels, Palmetto Poison Center director, said in 2017.
This bill was not the only one to take a backseat this legislative year. In the Senate, bills each for legalizing medical marijuana, on 'Personhood' to ban abortion, and the gun control measure to expand background checks are dead.
In the House, the bill for stricter consequences on texting and driving is dead plus school safety measures like police officers in schools, metal detectors on school doors, and concealed carry for staff.