HEALTH

Melatonin companies given two years to childproof their product, after melatonin related ER visits increase

Apr 17, 2024, 10:00 PM | Updated: May 3, 2024, 11:52 am

Melatonin is a hormonal sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is produced and released...

Melatonin is a hormonal sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is produced and released in the brain when it's dark. Melatonin supplements are sold in grocery stores and pharmacies. (Canva)

(Canva)

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected for a fact error. We previously reported that the FDA does not regulate supplements, that is inaccurate. More information regarding the packaging guidelines has been added. 

SALT LAKE CITY — Melatonin companies are changing their packaging after the number of children-related emergency room visits has skyrocketed over the last few years. The board of directors from the Council for Responsible Nutrition recommended the change. 

Melatonin is a hormonal sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is produced and released in the brain when it’s dark. Melatonin supplements are sold in grocery stores and pharmacies. 

The CDC said more than 11,000 children went to the ER in the last two years after ingesting melatonin. More than half of those visits involved children between three and five years old. 

The Council for Responsible Nutrition is giving melatonin providers two years to child proof their packaging. It must also label supplements accurately, warning about what it can do to children. 

What to do with YOUR melatonin supplements

Dr. Chuck Pruitt with University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital said this regulation effort is a good idea. 

“It really should be treated as a medication, kept in childproof containers,” he said. “It should be kept out of children’s reach, ideally in a location that is closed and even locked.” 

Dr. Pruitt said even though it’s technically classified as a supplement and not a medication, it is still dangerous for children. 

“The amount of active hormone in a particular dose, in a tablet, can vary greatly,” he said.  “It affects the brain differently in high concentrations, and it can cause significant sedation in children.” 

Pruitt recommends avoiding the supplement altogether, especially the gummy kind that children can mistake as snacks.

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Melatonin companies given two years to childproof their product, after melatonin related ER visits increase