Melatonin poisoning in children has risen over the last decade

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:20 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - New research shows melatonin poisoning in children has increased more than 500% over the last decade.

According to a study from the CDC, the largest spike happened during the pandemic. Medical experts say more kids were home, and there was more access.

Doctors believe the pandemic caused sleep-disrupting stress and anxiety that may have caused more families to consider the sleep aid.

The CDC says most poison control reports came after kids took melatonin supplements accidentally.

Less than 6% of the ingestions were intentional, meaning either parents gave melatonin to kids or older children took too much on purpose.

Doctors at Carilion Clinic say melatonin can come in many forms, and parents should be mindful of where it is stored.

“Little kids can get into it and a dose that may not harm an adult may have serious complications for a child, so really it’s making sure it is your storing things safely in your home and your child does not have free access to them,” said Paul Stromberg M.D. an emergency physician at Carilion Clinic.

Doctors say most accidental ingestions, can be monitored at home. But slowed breathing is a sign you should call Poison Control or go to the hospital.

Pediatricians typically advise behavioral changes like reducing screen time before bed or sticking to regular bedtimes over melatonin.

To learn more, you can visit the CDC’s website.

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