Daycare Workers Charged with Giving Melatonin-Laced Candy to Toddlers

Three Des Plaines daycare workers have been charged with child endangerment after allegedly feeding toddlers gummy bears laced with melatonin in order to get them to calm down for nap time.

Details of the Daycare Workers’ Charges

According to CBS Local, the incidents occurred at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center. Police responded to the scene on Friday afternoon.

A manager at the center told authorities that one of the teachers had been distributing gummy bears laced with melatonin to her class of 2-year-olds without getting parents’ approval. Upon conducting a search, police found four gummy bears left in a bottle that had contained 120.

Three teachers at the center were taken into custody. During questioning, all three admitted to giving the children the melatonin-laced gummy bears. The teachers reportedly did not believe their actions were inappropriate as melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep aid.

The arrested teachers have been identified as Kristen Lauletta, 32, Jessica Heyse, 19, and Ashley Helfenbein, 25. All have been charged with two counts of child endangerment and two counts of battery.

Daycare Injury Statistics

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, at least six out of ten — nearly 13 million — infants, toddlers and preschool children are enrolled in daycare. These centers are supposed to be providing substitute care for your children, but sadly we find that sometimes they may cause more harm than good.

  • According to the CPSC, approximately 31,000 children under age 4 are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries at child care settings on average.
  • 8% of the child care settings had cribs that did not meet current safety standards.
  • 24% of the child care settings did not have safe playground surfacing.
  • 13% of the child care settings did not use child safety gates where necessary.
  • 26% of the child care settings had loops on the window blind cords.
  • 5% of the child care settings had products that had been recalled by CPSC.

Contact an Experienced Daycare Injury Attorney

If your child has been injured after an accident or abuse at a daycare center, contact Thomas J. Henry. Parents put their trust in the staff of a daycare facility to keep their children safe and out of harm’s way. It is unacceptable for a child to be subjected to abuse or an unsafe premises while in their care. If your child was seriously injured due to the negligence or abusive actions of daycare staff, call our experienced child injury attorneys today.

Thomas J. Henry has the legal and financial resources necessary to develop your child’s case properly. We have offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, Texas. Call for a free case review.


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