Three daycare workers in Illinois are being accused of giving children gummy bears laced with melatonin — a hormone supplement often used to treat insomnia. CBS Chicago reports that 19-year-old Jessica Heyse, 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta, and 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein of Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines allegedly gave the tainted candies to a class of a dozen 2-year-olds in order to calm them down for naptime.
Police said there were only four bears left in a bottle that formerly contained 120.
“This is just a horrible case of bad judgement,” Des Plaines police chief William Kushner told CBS Chicago. “Fortunately, no child was seriously injured that we know of at this point. It’s limited to the one classroom.”
Des Plaines police commander Christopher Mierzwathe told the Chicago Tribune that the toddlers’ parents did not give permission for their kids to receive melatonin.
“You can’t distribute that without the parents being told,” he told the outlet. “(The teachers) didn’t know if the child was allergic to melatonin.”
The three suspects were taken into custody, where they allegedly admitted to all accusations, but said they didn’t think their actions were wrong because it’s an over-the-counter supplement, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Each woman was charged with two counts of child endangerment and two counts of battery. They are scheduled to appear in court on April 4.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has launched its own investigation into the center, which reportedly has no prior violations.
The Daily Meal has reached out to Kiddie Junction and Des Plaines police for further comment.
While melatonin is often used by adults who struggle with getting a good night’s rest, there are other factors to consider that may cause sleeplessness — including one’s diet. If you ever want to fall asleep, don’t eat these 15 foods before bed.