4 Day Care Workers Accused of Giving Kids Melatonin

They were given a sleep aid without parents' knowledge or consent, say New Hampshire police
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2024 12:37 PM CDT
4 Day Care Workers Accused of Giving Kids Melatonin
The label on a bottle of melatonin pills.   (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

After an investigation that started with a tip about "unsafe practices" at a home day care in Manchester, New Hampshire, the owner and three of her employees have been arrested. In a statement, police said they "determined that the children's food was being sprinkled with melatonin without their parent's knowledge or consent." Police said all four suspects have been charged with 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, USA Today reports. Police said there were no reports of children becoming ill from melatonin, a hormone used as a sleep aid.

"This is an over-the-counter drug that can be given as a sleep aid, but for it to be given to children without the knowledge or consent of the parents, it's very concerning," Heather Hamel, a spokesperson for the Manchester Police Department, tells WHDH. Police said day care owner Sally Dreckmann, 52, turned herself in after an arrest warrant was issued, as did employees Traci Innie, 51, and Kaitlin Filardo and Jessica Foster, both 23, the Washington Post reports.

"It sounded like it was a powder-type substance, maybe pills that were broken up. I don't know exactly, but it was described as it was sprinkled on the food that the children were being served at lunch," Hamel says. The Post reports that the number of children being given melatonin by their parents is rising, though experts warn that long-term use is not recommended and parents should consult a doctor first. (Reports of melatonin poisoning surged during the pandemic.)

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