Melatonin is a hormone that, among other things, helps the body regulate its circadian rhythm- or body clock. Many families use melatonin to help settle their young children to sleep.
But, is it safe for kids?
Because it is sold as an over-the-counter nutritional supplement in the United States, it is not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Questions then arise about the quality of the product, the conditions under which it was produced, and dosing. In animal studies, melatonin has effects on several other body systems such as the reproductive, cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic systems. Both the National Institute of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics discourage its long-term use, as there is not enough information about outcomes for children over time. Use in children younger than 3-years-old is not recommended.
Read more about the pros and cons of melatonin use in The Inquirer, Daily News – Philly.com by Courtenay Harris Bond, with quotes from Dr. Jodi Mindell and Dr. Melisa Moore.
Read additional posts about melatonin on babysleep.com.