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Some research suggests that melatonin is safe for most children. However, scientists are still unsure about the effects of long-term use.

The body naturally produces melatonin at night to promote sleep and regulate the internal body clock.

Some people take a synthetic form to help with sleep problems. The United States classes synthetic melatonin as a dietary supplement, rather than a drug.

In this article, we explore the latest research about the safety of melatonin and the most effective dosages for children. We also list some of the best-reviewed gummy and liquid melatonin products for kids.

A 2016 review of existing research found that melatonin appears to be safe and well-tolerated in healthy children. However, there has been little research into the regular use of melatonin in children and the long-term effects

Also, the authors of the review advise that children with immune disorders or those undergoing immunomodulating treatments should avoid melatonin.

A 2018 meta-analysis of 13 studies suggests that melatonin is safe for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, although further evidence is necessary to support these findings.

Other research indicates that melatonin may support sleep and have some other benefits in children with autism spectrum disorder.

As the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warn, however, melatonin supplements may affect hormonal development. Still, there is too little evidence from studies in humans to confirm this finding.

Reports indicate that side effects of melatonin in children are usually mild and may include:

There is no established safe melatonin dosage for children.

It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognize melatonin as a supplement rather than a drug. As a result, melatonin does not undergo the testing and safety regulations of a medication. This means that the labeling of melatonin products may not really reflect the contents.

However, a 2017 study of 31 melatonin supplements found that most did contain the amounts advertised on their labels.

Overall, the best approach is to speak with a doctor before giving melatonin to a child. They can also advise about the best dosages.

The research into effective dosages of melatonin is limited. A review published in 2016 confirmed that there are still no clear guidelines and that various studies recommend different amounts.

It may be best to start with the lowest dosage, as many children seem to respond to doses in the 0.5–1.0 milligram (mg) range.

If this is ineffective, it may be safe to raise the dosage. The recommend the following dosages by age:

  • 1 mg of melatonin for infants
  • 2.5–3.0 mg for older children
  • 5 mg for teenagers
  • a dosage that falls within a range of 0.5–10.0 mg for children with special needs

They also recommend giving the melatonin 30–60 minutes before bedtime.

Some other products, such as relaxation tinctures or cough medicines, may contain melatonin, so be sure to check labels of any other treatments or remedies before also administering melatonin.

Outside of the U.S., many countries classify melatonin as a drug, and it is only available by prescription.

Learn more about the safety and dosage of melatonin for children here.

Please note that the statements below are based only on research. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.

Also, it is important to consult a doctor before administering melatonin to a child, as other treatments and approaches are better supported by research and may be safer and more effective.

Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies

According to the product’s website, Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies:

  • contain 1 mg of melatonin per serving
  • should be taken 20–30 minutes before bedtime
  • are drug-free
  • are not habit-forming
  • are non-GMO
  • are vegan
  • are gluten-free
  • contain no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives
  • have a berry flavor
  • are suitable for children aged 4 or over

Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies are available for purchase online.

Zarbee’s Children’s Sleep Liquid with Melatonin

According to the product’s website, Zarbee’s Children’s Sleep Liquid with Melatonin:

  • contains 1 mg of melatonin per serving
  • should be taken 30–60 minutes before bedtime
  • is drug-free
  • is not habit-forming
  • is suitable for children aged 3 or over
  • has a natural berry flavor
  • is free from dyes, artificial flavors, and gluten

Zarbee’s Children’s Sleep Liquid with Melatonin is available for purchase online.

Vicks Pure Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Liquid

According to the product’s website, Vicks Pure Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Liquid:

  • contains a low dosage of melatonin: 0.5 mg per dose
  • should be taken 30 minutes before bedtime
  • is drug-free
  • is not habit-forming
  • has a natural berry flavor
  • is free from gluten, lactose, and dyes
  • contains no artificial colors or high-fructose corn syrup
  • is safe for children aged 4 and over

It may be best to begin with a 10 milliliter (ml) dose and increase to 20 ml if needed.

Vicks Pure Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Liquid is available for purchase online.

LUNA Kids Sleep Aid

According to the product’s website, LUNA Kids Sleep Aid chewable gummies:

  • contain 0.2 mg of melatonin per serving
  • also contain chamomile, lemon balm, and valerian root, for added relaxation
  • should be taken 20–30 minutes before bed
  • are suitable for children aged 4 and over
  • have been tested by a third party
  • are vegan
  • are non-GMO
  • have a tropical berry flavor
  • are sugar-free, but contain stevia leaf extract and xylitol

LUNA Kids Sleep Aid is available for purchase online.

Wink Naturals Kids Sleep Drops

According to the product’s website, Wink Naturals Kids Sleep Drops:

  • contain 1 mg of melatonin per dropper serving
  • contain only four ingredients: glycerin, water, natural berry flavoring, and melatonin
  • are not habit-forming
  • are suitable for children aged 3 years or older
  • should be taken 30 minutes before bedtime
  • are doctor-developed and recommended

Wink Naturals Kids Sleep Drops are available for purchase online.

OLLY Kids Sleep

According to the product’s website, OLLY Kids Sleep melatonin gummies:

  • contain 0.5 mg of melatonin per gummy
  • also contain L-theanine, chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm for added relaxation
  • are suitable for ages 4 and over
  • are suitable for occasional sleep support
  • have a raspberry flavor

OLLY Kids Sleep is available for purchase online.

Tired Teddies Invisimix

This product is a bottle of capsules that contain powder. The powder is dissolvable and a person mixes it into foods or drinks. According to the product’s website, Tired Teddies Invisimix:

  • has an undetectable flavor
  • contains 0.3 mg of melatonin per serving — the amount that a child’s body produces for sleep, the company report
  • also contains organic chamomile, organic lemon balm, organic lettuce, and allulose
  • is not habit-forming
  • is suitable from 1 year of age
  • leads to significant improvement in sleep in children with attention deficit disorders or autism, as reported by parents, the company claims
  • is pediatrician-recommended
  • contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, or flavors
  • does not contain gluten, dairy, sugar, or nuts
  • is non-GMO

This product is also available in a bubblegum-flavored chewable version.

Tired Teddies Invisimix is available for purchase online.

When addressing sleep issues, the first and most important steps are finding the underlying cause and practicing good sleep hygiene.

For example, it is important to avoid exposure to bright lights and lights from electronic devices before bedtime, as these can block the body’s natural melatonin production.

A 2014 study found, moreover, that light suppresses melatonin production almost twice as much in children as in adults.

Learn more ways to fall asleep easily here.

If a child is experiencing persistent sleep issues, speak to a doctor, as these can affect physical and mental health.

Research suggests that melatonin is safe in the short term for healthy children as well as those with autism spectrum disorder and some health issues.

There is currently not enough evidence to show the long-term effects of melatonin in children, and some research indicates that it may affect hormone production.

Discuss any plans to use melatonin with a doctor. They may recommend it as a short-term accompaniment to changes in sleep hygiene.