Three Illinois day care workers are facing criminal charges for allegedly giving 2-year-olds melatonin gummies to calm them down before naptime.
Kristen Lauletta, 32, Jessica Heyse, 19, and Ashley Helfenbein, 25, teachers at Kiddie Junction in Des Plaines, are accused of supplying gummies to the toddlers without their parents’ consent.
While none of the parents reported injuries, some claimed their children appeared tired at pickup, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Authorities began investigating Friday, after Kiddie Junction managers learned a teacher had given the sleep-aid to a class of 2-year-olds.
Police said that three teachers ultimately admitted to giving the children gummies—but said that they didn’t believe it was inappropriate because it was an over-the-counter supplement, according to the Daily Herald.
It was not immediately known how long the teachers had been giving the children gummies.
Des Plaines police Chief Bill Kushner told WGN-TV that the 120-count bottle had only “4 or 5” gummies left by the time they got involved.
The Herald also reported that the Department of Children and Family Services has started their own investigation. Every parent with a child attending the Des Plaines day care was notified of the allegations.
“You can’t distribute that without the parents being told,” Des Plaines police Commander Christopher Mierzwa said. “[The teachers] didn’t know if the child was allergic to melatonin.”
Lauletta, Heyse, and Helfenbein were charged Monday with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child. They are scheduled to appear in court on April 4, where Kushner said they could face additional charges.
[Featured Image: Ashley Helfenbein, Jessica Heyse, and Kristen Lauletta/Des Plaines Police Department]