Kristen Lauletta, Jessica Heyse, Ashley Helfenbein are three employees at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines, Illinois. They found themselves in trouble after allegedly giving gummy bears containing melatonin to children, according to NBC Chicago.
Melatonin gummies for kids are a popular product on Amazon, with loads of positive customer reviews, but the trio of women were arrested due to allegedly not obtaining parental permission before giving the gummy bears to a class of 12 children. On Amazon, some of the melatonin tablets designed specifically for kids claim that they are a “safe and effective drug-free sleep supplement for children 3 years+.” However, the three day care workers are accused of giving gummies to the children in the suburban Chicago class of 2- and 3-year-olds to make nap time more effective.
The women now have to face court officials in April about the incident, which came to light after police were called to the center. The women explained to Des Plaines police that they did not believe it was against the law or inappropriate to give the children melatonin, since it is a popular over-the-counter product. Indeed, melatonin is marketed online and in brick-and-mortar retail stores and grocery stores as a gentle means of helping folks sleep.
In the wake of the incident, parents were informed about their children receiving melatonin.
Kristen, 32, hails from Niles, Illinois; Jessica is a 19-year-old from Des Plaines; and 25-year-old Ashley is from Chicago. Now the three women have been charged with endangering a child’s life or health, including battery counts. More charges could be on the way, as the Department of Children and Family Services investigates the situation.
Articles about the incident, such as one published by WGNTV, are being shared thousands of times on Facebook. Plenty of comments are also being posted to websites about the melatonin, with commentators asking why the workers would be arrested for giving children something as seemingly mild as melatonin. Others on Facebook are writing that the teachers may not have known if the children were allergic to melatonin or not.