Jessica Heyse (left), Kristen Lauletta (middle) and Ashley Helenfbein (right) were charged with giving gummy bears laced with melatonin to 2-year-olds at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines. Picture: Supplied
Jessica Heyse (left), Kristen Lauletta (middle) and Ashley Helenfbein (right) were charged with giving gummy bears laced with melatonin to 2-year-olds at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines. Picture: Supplied

Toddlers get ‘laced’ lollies at day care

POLICE have charged three day care centre workers after they allegedly gave a group of two-year-old children gummy bears that were laced with the sleep aid melatonin.

Des Plaines police in Chicago said that officers were called to Kiddie Junction on Friday last week.

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 workers gave the kids gummy bears laced with melatonin to help them sleep. Picture: Supplied.
The workers gave the kids gummy bears laced with melatonin to help them sleep. Picture: Supplied.

Three workers face charges of endangering the life or health of a child and battery.

The three women who have been charged involve 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein of Chicago, 19-year-old Jessica Heyse of Des Plaines and 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta of Niles.

A manager at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center told police one of the teachers had been distributing the laced gummy bears without authorisation from parents.

Jessica Heyse (left), Kristen Lauletta (middle) and Ashley Helenfbein (right) were charged with giving gummy bears laced with melatonin to 2-year-olds at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines. Picture: Supplied
Jessica Heyse (left), Kristen Lauletta (middle) and Ashley Helenfbein (right) were charged with giving gummy bears laced with melatonin to 2-year-olds at the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines. Picture: Supplied

"Allegedly, this was done in an effort to calm them down before nap time," police said in a statement.

The women have given a statement to police, saying they didn't think what they did was inappropriate because melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep aid.

The parents of every child at the daycare centre were notified of what happened.

The investigation is ongoing.

They are due to face court on April 4. None had listed phone numbers to pursue comment.


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