3 day care workers charged with drugging kids with sleep aid

DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) — Police in suburban Chicago say three day care workers are charged with giving children gummy bears containing the sleep aid melatonin.

Des Plaines police said Monday that officers were called to Kiddie Junction on Friday. Police said the children were given the melatonin “in an effort to calm them down before nap time.” Authorities say parents hadn’t given permission for their children to receive the melatonin. Police contacted parents and no children were sickened.

The teachers told officers “they did not think administering the melatonin laced gummies was inappropriate as they were an over-the-counter sleep aid,” police said.

Three workers face charges of endangering the life or health of a child and battery, including 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein of Chicago, 19-year-old Jessica Heyse of Des Plaines and 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta of Niles. They are due in court April 4. None had listed phone numbers to pursue comment.

A person who answered the phone Monday at Kiddie Junction said the facility had no comment.

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