Home brewed coffee. Doctors say it could be dangerous to dose a young child with that much caffeine, but Christie Haskell, mother of 7 year old Rowan, swears it works. It has the mommy blogs buzzing.
Christie Haskell says her seven-year-old son Rowan was having trouble at home and school. "Not being able to keep his hand to himself. Talking when he's not supposed to talk. And at home, there was a lot of just, hyperactivity, lack of concentration, ability to concentrate, when he needed to."
She has not gotten an official diagnosis, but Haskell believes Rowan has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. She wanted to avoid the side effects of traditional drugs like Ritalin, so, she went online and found a natural, but controversial, treatment.
Twice a day little Rowan gets a four ounce Cup O' Joe. "It tastes good. And it calms me down." Rather than making him jittery his mom says coffee has the opposite effect.
"He doesn't overreact if we ask him to pick up Legos, rather than screaming and throwing himself on the floor. And, if we ask him to sit down and do homework he can actually do it."
Plenty of parents claim similar success. But experts say there's no proof it works. And coffee may be doing more harm than good. Potentially dangerous side effects of caffeine in children are well documented including a higher heart rate higher blood pressure and headaches.
"Caffeine is not the answer for real bonafied ADHD," said Dr. David Rosenberg, Chief of Child Psychiatry at Children's Hospital of Michigan. "I don't want parents to be diluted into a false sense of security that if I just go to the local Starbucks I'm going to cure my son or daughter's ADHD."
Doctors warn parents to be wary of unproven treatments they learn about from "Doctor Google."
"A lot of children get into trouble by treatments that are just designed by parents who find stuff on the Internet," said Dr. Richard Besser.
When asked, "How can she be sure you're not solving one problem and creating several more serious medical issues?," Haskell said, "Well, I can't entirely."
Before casting stones Haskell urges skeptics to try it, but know the risks first.