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4 NH day care workers arrested, accused of putting melatonin in children’s food

The owner of a New Hampshire day care and three of her employees have been arrested on child endangerment charges, Manchester police said Thursday.

The arrests come after a “lengthy” investigation found the four day care workers were putting the natural sleep aid supplement melatonin into the children’s food “without their parent’s knowledge or consent,” authorities said.

Detectives with the Manchester Police Juvenile Division were first alerted to the case in November 2023, after receiving a report of possible “unsafe practices” happening at an in-home day care facility in the city’s West Side neighborhood.

Following a six-month investigation, police issued arrest warrants for the business owner, 52-year-old Sally Dreckmann, as well as three employees: 51-year-old Traci Innie, 23-year-old Kaitlin Filardo and 23-year-old Jessica Foster, all of whom hail from Manchester.

All four turned themselves into police and were charged with 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said Thursday.

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the human brain in response to darkness, helps with sleep patterns and the body’s 24-hour internal clock, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a federal agency that oversees research on alternative medicine.

While research shows that taking melatonin as a sleep aid supplement is generally safe for short-term use in adults and adolescents, its safety for pediatric use is not yet known.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that approximately 11,000 infants and young children in the U.S. had to seek help in an emergency room for “unsupervised melatonin ingestions” between 2019 and 2022.

Manchester police didn’t disclose how many children were affected, or how much melatonin was ingested.


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