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Melatonin poisonings in kids are up dramatically

Mother Holding Son-2605132_640In the last two decades, the number of infants and young children accidentally ingesting melatonin gummies, tablets, and other forms has skyrocketed, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During 2012–2021, a 530 percent increase in poison center calls for pediatric melatonin exposures occurred, and during 2009–2020, a 420 percent increase in emergency department visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestion by infants and young children was reported.

During 2019–2022, alone, an estimated 10,930 emergency department visits occurred for unsupervised melatonin ingestion by infants and children under age 5 years based on 295 cases. The emergency department visits accounted for 7.1 percent of all visits for unsupervised medication exposures in this age group.

From 2019–2022, melatonin was implicated in 7 percent of all emergency department visits for unsupervised medication exposures by infants and young children.

This rise in pediatric melatonin poisonings coincided with the increased use of the supplement by U.S. adults, said the CDC. A survey by the National Institutes of Health showed melatonin use quintupled from 0.4 percent during 1999–2000 to 2.1 percent during 2017–2018.

Gummy formulations, 47.3 percent, were the most commonly documented dosage form for the accidental poisonings.

Melatonin products don’t require child-resistant packaging, although manufacturers can voluntarily offer the packaging.

Among emergency department visits with documentation of container type, about three quarters involved melatonin accessed from bottles.

With about 11,000 emergency department visits for melatonin ingestions by infants and young children during 2019–2022, it highlights the continued need to educate parents and other caregivers about the importance of keeping all medications and supplements – including gummies – out of children’s reach and sight, the CDC said in its report.

The Up and Away Campaign, which is led by the CDC, educates families about the importance of safe medicine storage around young children. Get information at its website.



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