After learning that they were allegedly providing melatonin in the form of gummy candies as a sleep aid for children at nap time, three day care center workers have been arrested on suspicion of endangering the life of a child.
19-year-old Jessica Heyse, 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein, and 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta are employed as teachers at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Melatonin, a supplement that is commonly used to help people fall asleep, is sold over the counter in many health stores and markets. The hormone is naturally created by a gland in the brain and in most studies, it has not proven dangerous to consume more of it. It is reported that nightmares are experienced by some who use it, and that appears to be the most harmful drawback known at this time.
When management at Kiddie Junction learned that one of their staff members had allegedly been handing out melatonin gummies to 2-year-olds in their care in order to help them relax at nap time they alerted the authorities and reported the incident.
An investigation was opened by police and the Department of Children and Family services and it was discovered that two other teachers were also purportedly employing this practice with the toddlers.
Heyse, Helfenbein and Lauletta, the teachers accused of the acts, were taken into custody and they are each facing charges of two counts of battery, and two counts of endangering the life or health of a child.
Parents of all of the children enrolled at Kiddie Junction were notified and though a few reported that their child seemed sleepy when they picked them up none of the kids were said to have suffered any side effects.
Heyse, Helfenbein, and Lauletta issued a statement asserting that they did not realize it was not acceptable to use the supplements without getting permission from the parents of the children because they are sold over-the-counter as natural supplements.
If you or someone you love is suspected of battery, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.