Illinois day care workers charged with giving children melatonin

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DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) – Police in suburban Chicago say three day care workers are charged with giving children gummy bears containing the sleep aid melatonin.

Des Plaines police said Monday that officers were called to Kiddie Junction on Friday. Police said the children were given the melatonin “in an effort to calm them down before nap time.” Authorities say parents hadn’t given permission for their children to receive the melatonin. Police contacted parents and no children were sickened.

Police said the three caregivers admitted to passing the gummies out to the children and said they believed they would not be harmful since they were an over-the-counter product.

Despite their belief, Cmdr. Christopher Mierzwa of the Des Plaines police told ABC News the bottle of Walgreens-brand gummies clearly stated they were not to be given to children under the age of 16.

Police said they are investigating more than one incident of these gummies being given to kids in the toddler classroom.

Three workers face charges of endangering the life or health of a child and battery, including 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein of Chicago, 19-year-old Jessica Heyse of Des Plaines and 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta of Niles. They are due in court April 4. None had listed phone numbers to pursue comment.

A person who answered the phone Monday at Kiddie Junction said the facility had no comment.*ABC News contributed to this report.

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