Taking care of young children is hard.
Not only do you have to take (give or take) two decades to effectively mold a feral baby into a well-adjusted human being capable of functioning in society, but you have to do so as they push you to your physical and emotional limits, with sleepless nights, chasing and yelling very often the norm. The ordeal doesn’t stop once they stop being babies, either: once they start walking and talking, it only gets harder and more exhausting!
I can’t speak for all the parents out there, but sometimes, there’s a tiny voice inside of your head that suggests that you put that hyperactive toddler to sleep for a little while, if only so you can get some rest yourself. Of course, you don’t listen to that voice for obvious reasons, but out in Illinois, a daycare is under fire for feeding toddlers a rather unsettling type of gummy bear.
On Friday afternoon, law enforcement services out in Des Plaines, Illinois were called to the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center, where a manager revealed to police that members of staff at Kiddie Junction were feeding 12 toddlers drug-laced gummy bears “in an effort to calm them down before nap time”.
19-year-old Jessica Heyse, 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta, and 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein have been taken into custody after it emerged that one of them was distributing gummy bears laced with melatonin (a hormone supplement which is used to treat insomnia), in order to get a dozen two-year-olds to go to sleep.
Des Plaines police chief William Kushner revealed that during questioning, the women in question admitted to giving the children the laced candies. As melatonin is available as an over-the-counter sleep aid, they did not believe they were doing anything wrong.
“This is just a horrible case of bad judgement,” Kusher said in a statement, revealing that while four gummy bears remained out of a bottle of 120, none of the children got sick from the tainted candy. “Fortunately, no child was seriously injured that we know of at this point. It’s limited to the one classroom.”
At this moment in time, it is unclear how long the toddler drugging has been going on, but the three women have been charged with with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and two counts of battery.
While a melatonin overdose is not fatal, since it’s a hormone, melatonin can have unexpected side-effects when it comes to the growth and development of a child, according to the Huffington Post. “With children … it can affect puberty, disrupt menstrual cycles and impede normal hormonal development,” they revealed.
While Kiddie Junction has so far refused to comment on the incident, the three women are set to appear in court on April 4 at the Skokie Courthouse. The police have also contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which will conduct its own investigation.