Parents in Australia Are Finding Ways to Give Melatonin to Their Children Amid Rising Use

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Melatonin supplements are widely accessible in the United States, with an array of options to buy in store or online. Australia has strict guidelines requiring a prescription for people under 55, urging citizens to not purchase it online. Despite these strict restrictions, children are still using melatonin. 

In a pending study by Central Queensland University (CQU), researchers found 70 percent of the 255 parents they surveyed used melatonin to help their children sleep. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved certain melatonin supplements for kids with autism or Smith-Magenis Syndrome, but they must have a prescription and alternative sleep hygiene measures had to be ineffective. The study found 75 percent used melatonin, although their children weren’t diagnosed with autism or Smith Magenis Syndrome. 

Despite the TGA approval, getting melatonin, even with a prescription, can be a challenge. A mom living in rural Victoria, Australia told her story to 7 News, explaining how she buys her 7-year-old daughters’ melatonin supplements online. Her daughter has high-functioning autism, but to go to a doctor’s appointment and get a prescription takes three to four hours because of where they live. Buying the supplement online was overall easier for the family. 

“We’ve also found doctors to be a little reluctant about prescribing these things for kids,” the mom explains to 7 News. “Plus, getting kids to take normal medicine isn’t always easy, particularly an autistic child with sensory issues, so a gummy/lolly form was helpful.” 

Melatonin is the second most popular natural supplement used by kids in the states. A study last year found that the annual number of ingestions increased 530 percent from 2012-2021. With the growing popularity and widespread use of melatonin, especially for children, leads to the question- is it safe? 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises all parents to seek medical advice before giving melatonin to children. While melatonin is widely available, there is still little research and evidence in its effectiveness. To help keep your children safe the AASM recommends the following: 

  • Like other medications, keep melatonin out of reach from children.
  • Talk with a pediatric health care professional before taking any melatonin or supplement to help with sleeping. Many times managing their schedule, habits, and behaviors helps more than melatonin. 
  • If melatonin is used, follow your doctor’s instructions for dose and timing to aid a sleeping problem.  
  • AASM advises parents seek medical advice before giving melatonin to kids. American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers. Published December 8, 2022. 


  • Australian Public Assessment Report for Melatonin. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Published October 2020. 



  • Bulden, Sarah. Many parents use melatonin gummies to help children sleep. So how do they work and what are the risks? CQUniversity. Published October 3, 2022. 


  • Grigg-Damberger MM, Ianakieva D. Poor quality control of over-the-counter melatonin: What they say is often not what you get. Journal of clinical sleep medicine. Published February 15, 2017.


  • Lelak K, Vohra V, Neuman MI, Toce MS, Sethuraman U. Pediatric melatonin ingestions – United States, 2012–2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published June 2, 2022.


  • Tran C. Exhausted parents are buying melatonin gummies overseas to ‘change their lives’. is it safe? 7NEWS. Published August 28, 2022. 

Julia Medina

Julia Medina

Julia is a Staff News Writer for Sleepopolis. From sleep news and education to the latest sleep trends, her goal is to keep you informed about what's going on in the world of sleep, dreams, mattresses, and more. Julia graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in communications and minors in film and sociology. In her free time she loves exploring new cities, relaxing with a good tv show, and getting some good quality sleep.

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