Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Significant Increase in Unsupervised Melatonin Ingestions: Approximately 11,000 emergency department (ED) visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestion by infants and young children occurred during 2019–2022, making up about 7% of all unsupervised medication exposure visits in this age group.
  2. Majority Involve Solid Dosage Forms: Nearly 95.7% of the ED visits were due to ingestion of solid dosage forms of melatonin, with gummy formulations being the most common at 47.3%.
  3. Age Group Mostly Affected: About half of the ED visits involved children aged 3–5 years, highlighting that this age group is particularly at risk for ingesting melatonin unsupervised.
  4. Low Hospitalization Rates: The majority of these ingestions (93.5%) did not result in hospitalization, indicating that most cases were not severe.
  5. Need for Increased Awareness and Prevention: These incidents underline the importance of educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of unsupervised ingestions and the need to keep all medications, including melatonin, out of children’s reach.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Maribeth C. Lovegrove,

Suggested Citation

Freeman DI, Lind JN, Weidle NJ, Geller AI, Stone ND, Lovegrove MC. Notes from the Field: Emergency Department Visits for Unsupervised Pediatric Melatonin Ingestion — United States, 2019–2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2024;73:215–217. DOI:


The article reports a significant number of ED visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestion by infants and young children in the United States from 2019 to 2022. The increase in unsupervised exposures aligns with the growing prevalence of melatonin use among U.S. adults and underscores the need for public health interventions to prevent such incidents.


The study utilized data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance Project, examining cases of ED visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestion among children aged ≤5 years. The analysis included case weighting for national estimates and detailed coding of circumstances and product details involved in the ingestions.


The findings highlight the appeal of flavored melatonin products, such as gummies, to young children and the challenges posed by non-child-resistant packaging. The disproportionate involvement of children aged 3–5 years in these incidents suggests a targeted need for prevention strategies in homes with young children.


The study emphasizes the critical need for increased awareness and preventive measures among parents and caregivers regarding safe medication storage, particularly for products that may be attractive to young children. It supports the importance of initiatives like the Up and Away Campaign to educate families about the risks of unsupervised medication ingestions by children.


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