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Suburban daycare workers arrested for giving toddlers melatonin gummy bears

DES PLAINES, Ill. (March 6, 2018) – Three Des Plaines daycare employees were arrested for giving toddlers melatonin gummy bears before nap time, according to police.

Police were called to the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center on Friday afternoon after a manager reported that one of the teachers distributed gummy bears laced with melatonin to a class of 2-year-olds. An investigation revealed two other teachers had been involved in the incident, leading to the arrest of 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta, 19-year-old Jessica Heyse, and 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein. The women were each charged with two counts of battery and two counts of endangering the life of a child.

The three women say “they didn’t think there was anything wrong with passing out the natural supplement to calm them down before nap time.” However, the children’s parents were unaware their children were given the sleep-aid. While melatonin is not typically considered a harmful substance, a doctor told the Chicago Tribune that giving children supplements without their parents consent is very inappropriate and potentially dangerous.

The state Department of Children and Family Services have launched an investigation and all parents have been notified by both the daycare center and police.

None of the parents said their children had been sickened by the supplement, but a few reported their kids recently seemed groggy at pickup.

The three teachers are scheduled to appear in court on April 4.

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