Daycare Workers Arrested for Allegedly Giving Kids Melatonin-Laced Gummies

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Three employees at an Illinois daycare center were arrested were arrested after they allegedly gave young children melatonin gummies before their nap time without their parents’ permission, according to police.

The three employees at the Des Plaines, Illinois-based Kiddie Junction day care were charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and two counts of battery each, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that can also be taken as a sleep aid. Parents commonly use melatonin to help their children sleep and it is generally considered safe, but it has not been well studied for routine use, according to a 2016 paper from the National Institutes of Health.

Des Plaines Police Commander Christopher Mierzwa told Tribune the parents of the children did not give permission for them to take melatonin. “You can’t distribute that without the parents being told,” he told the Tribune. The daycare workers, he added, “didn’t know if the child was allergic to melatonin.”

Police said the department was tipped off by management of the day care center March 2, and that children were given the melatonin-laced gummy bears “in an effort to calm them down before napping,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Police said none of the kids got sick as a result of the sleep aid.

The daycare center offers programs for children ages six weeks to six years old, and says “a safe and healthy environment is a top priority” at the center, according to its website. A representative from Kiddie Junction said they day care had no comment.

The Des Plaines Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TIME.



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