Is Melatonin Safe for Children to Help with Bedtime?

Sleeping Child

Now that Summer is ending and parents, guardians, and children are preparing to return to school, one of the essential topics of discussion is sleep. As a former teacher, I remember how difficult the beginning of the school year was for my students because they had to adapt to waking up early after summer vacation.

In my home, I wish I could say that bedtime is always a breeze; we get to bed early and always get a whole night’s sleep; however, that is not always the case. During the summer, staying out too late or losing track of time is easy. I find it very easy to get lost writing a blog these days. Other times one more episode of “Sofia the First” for my 4-year-old daughter turns into three or four in a blink.  So when it is time to go battle for bedtime, I am tempted to reach for a quick solution, but is Melatonin the answer?

I give my daughter Melatonin on certain occasions, such as when we are traveling or need to start adjusting to daylight savings time. Where we live, it doesn’t start getting dark till 9:00 pm, and the sun doesn’t finally go down till 10:00 pm during the summer months, making it hard to fall asleep.

I am not a doctor or a specialist. I did my research, and you should too. Before giving your child melatonin, you should try other sleep remedies first. If other methods do not work, and you are thinking of giving your child melatonin to help with bedtime, you should talk to your child’s pediatrician before you provide it.

So What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone the body makes to help regulate our sleep cycle. It can also be purchased as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in the United States, and it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Many people believe you can sleep better if you give more hormones. However, this is not the case with melatonin. A smaller dose can help regulate the sleep cycle better than a larger dose. Melatonin does not cause drowsiness and helps reduce body temperature, as mentioned in the article “Is Melatonin Safe for Kids? By Emily Elveru.   Studies have shown that melatonin can help with sleep for children with sleep problems due to autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, epilepsy, and migraine headaches. Again I highly recommend speaking with your child’s doctor so that they can make sure that there are no other health reasons why your child is having trouble sleeping. Your doctor can also advise you on the correct dosage and recommend a safe product for your child.

Melatonin for kids

Is Melatonin Safe?

Melatonin has become widely available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in the United States, and many parents and guardians have been using it to help children with bedtime. However, according to the CDC, there has been a 530% increase in melatonin overdose in children between 2012 through 2021.

Most cases happened at home, were unintentional, and were treated at home with minor symptoms. The report mentioned that most cases were accidental ingestion by five-year-old or younger children.

The report stated that there were 4,000 hospitalizations, 300 ICU cases (including five kids needing ventilation), and two deaths (one 3-month-old and the other 1-year-old). Hence, even though it is a dietary supplement, it should be kept safe from children. At the moment, there is not enough data to say if there are any long-term effects.

4 Alternatives to Help Kids Sleep Without Melatonin

Limit Screen Time:

Turn all screens off an hour before bed because the blue light from screens gives the brain a cue to be alert and awake, making it difficult for kids to fall asleep. I am guilty of using my phone at night or letting Paloma use her iPad while I finish work or clean the house, and I have noticed that on those days, it is harder for us to fall asleep. I know it is easier said than done, but know that this is something I am also working on myself.

Sleep Stories:

My psychologist recommended I use the Calm App for my Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, and I use the sleep stories to help my daughter, and I both fall asleep. I also suffer from insomnia, and I have seen that they work well, not just for me but for my daughter. I highly recommend the sleep stories; if you do not have the app, maybe look for sleep stories on YouTube or other appropriate apps for children.

Read a bedtime story book:

This is a great time to read bedtime stories together, practice reading, and have bonding time. If you need recommendations of books for children, visit our Book Club Page, and you will find our Book of the Month and our list of book recommendations.

White Noise:

Studies have found that white noise can be helpful to infants, children, and adults. The Sleep Foundation states that white noise can also be played all night. However, make sure it is placed in the corner of the room and keep the noise level as a background or light rustling sound. You can use the following Apps: Calm App, YouTube, etc., or buy a white noise machine. Another thing that can be used for white noise could be the noise of a fan.

Child sleeping after bonding with mom

Final Thoughts

I know  Melatonin can be a safe choice for children with sleep disorders. This is true for a child with ADHD who could benefit from Melatonin if a psychiatrist or pediatrician recommends it.

For Paloma, I feel comfortable giving her melatonin once in a while, and it is not an everyday supplement. I may give her melatonin on a special occasion. For example, when we are traveling or due to the time change but not as part of our daily routine.

I am not a doctor, and I hope you speak with your pediatrician before giving your child melatonin. Remember that although it is an over-the-counter medication, it should be used sparingly if your child does not have sleep deprivation. Everybody is different, and what may work for us may not work for you. Please research and make an informed decision to see if melatonin is right for you and your family.

If you liked this post, here is a list of our latest posts:


  1. Abramson, Ashley “Melatonin for children: How safe is the sleep supplement?” 2022.
  2. Elveru, Emily “Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?” 2023.
  3. Indigo, Serendipity, “My Kids Take Melatonin: Don’t Judge Me” 2020.
  4. Lelak K, Vohra V, Neuman MI, Toce MS, Sethuraman U. Pediatric
  5. Melatonin Ingestions — United States, 2012–2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:725–729. DOI:
  6. McCarthy, Claire “New advice on melatonin use in children” 2022.
  7. Pacheco, Danielle and Nilong Vyas, MD “Melatonin for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers” 2023.
  8. Refford, Christina “Thinking of trying melatonin to help your kids sleep? Please read this first.” 2022
  9. Summer, Jay, and Rehman, Anis, MD “White Noise”,View%20Source%20.
  10. Spiller, Henry “Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?” 2019

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