New Hampshire Day Care Owner and 3 Staff Charged With Allegedly Sprinkling Melatonin on Children’s Food

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
May 19, 2024US News
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New Hampshire Day Care Owner and 3 Staff Charged With Allegedly Sprinkling Melatonin on Children’s Food
Sally Dreckmann, 52, Traci Innie, 51, Kaitlin Filardo, 23, and Jessica Foster, 23 all of Manchester, New Hampshire, were charged with child endangerment. (Manchester NH Police)

A New Hampshire day care owner along with three of her employees have turned themselves in to police, on charges of child endangerment.

It had previously emerged that the owner and her staff had allegedly sprinkled the children’s food with an over-the-counter sleep aid.

According to a statement released by Manchester NH Police on May 16, a report was submitted to police in November last year over “unsafe practices” going on in an in-home daycare at 316 Amory Street.

A lengthy investigation followed, which revealed that the children’s food was laced with melatonin without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

According to the Mayo Clinic: “The hormone melatonin plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. Natural levels of melatonin in the blood are highest at night.

“Some research suggests that melatonin supplements might be helpful in treating sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase. They also may provide some relief from insomnia and jet lag.”

While considered generally safe for use in the short term, some doctors have cautioned that due to limited research on the hormone-like substance, parents should consult a pediatrician before use.

Police further stated that arrest warrants were issued for the owner, 52-year-old Sally Dreckmann, as well as 51-year-old Traci Innie, 23-year-old Kaitlin Filardo, and 23-year-old Jessica Foster, all of Manchester.

All four were charged with 10 counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Manchester Police responded to an email by NTD but did not provide additional information. A preliminary investigation has revealed no information on how long the practice of lacing the children’s food had been ongoing nor how police first learned of it.

“Melatonin is a natural, hormone-like substance produced by an area in the brain called the pineal gland. It is released naturally at night and tells the body it’s time to sleep,” according to healthychildren.org.

Melatonin is unlikely to cause dependency and it generally does not create adverse responses or hangover effects, according to the Mayo Clinic.

However, as popularity of using melatonin increased, so did reports of supposed poisonings. Over 250,000 reports were submitted between 2012 and 2021, which involved child poisonings from melatonin use.

Most cases showed no symptoms and the affected children recovered fully, although there have been reports of some children being hospitalized and two reported deaths.

Melatonin is considered a dietary supplement and is therefore not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No prescription is needed for use of the supplement.

The investigation into the case is ongoing.

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