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Dr. A. Clark
Dr. A. Clark, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 4437
Experience:  33 years of experience as a general pediatrician in private practice and in pediatric urgent care.
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Hello, I having been using Melatonin on and off for my 3

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Hello,

I having been using Melatonin on and off for my 3 year old son, but I have done a bit of research on it recently and see that it is not really recommended for children under 10, so I have been thinking of trying Valerian.

Which Valerian would you recommend to give to a 3 year old please? Sorry there seems to be quite a few different types and I am not sure which is the best (they all seem to be mixed with other things!)

Look forward to your advice!

Thanks

Dr. A. Clark :

I'm happy that you have asked me to assist you with your child and hope that you can benefit from my many years of helping parents like you.

Dr. A. Clark :

I checked to be sure but confirmed that Valerian is NOT to be given to children under 3. Here is the link to the National Institutes of Health article:

Dr. A. Clark :

Since your daughter just turned 3 I would still have some reservations about using it. If you do use it you have to realize that there is no data to recommend what the dose would be so you'd just have to reduce the adult dose and see how he does. I'm sorry I can't give you a dose and I'm sure a Google search will result in some recommendations but you have to realize that there is NO data to support any dose recommendation for adults or children. Melatonin is a natural hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain to regulate our diurnal sleep/wake cycle. It also is not recommended due to the other effects this hormone has on sexual maturation which, though probably minor, is not to be ignored.

Dr. A. Clark :

I'm sorry not to be more help or encouraging but of the two I'd probably try a reduced dose of valerian to see how that helps since you've already been through melatonin.

Dr. A. Clark :

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer:

Thanks - do you think that Melatonin is bad for him (I have the dissolvable strips and tear of a tiny corner for him). It always works (even though it is such a small piece) but I just worry about the long-term effect it may have on him. Otherwise which form of Valerian is best for children - drops or capsules and how much could should he have please?

Dr. A. Clark, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 4437
Experience: 33 years of experience as a general pediatrician in private practice and in pediatric urgent care.
Dr. A. Clark and other Pediatrics Specialists are ready to help you
Hello,
Sorry about this sleep issue with him. Melatonin is natural hormone secreted in our brain due to darkness.
It can not have any deleterious effect and may be used at all ages at reduced dose as you are doing.
Please try other measures and get more ideas from a website www.babysleepsite.com. A booklet on ideas can be downloaded (free registration). Good fat rich meal in evening can also help induce better sleep.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello,


Would you advise as to whether it would be okay to, very occasionally, give him a tiny bit of melatonin in the afternoon to make him have an afternoon sleep please? Or do you think it should only be given at night time when we are desperate?! If he has had an afternoon sleep, he generally sleeps better at night time!


 


Thanks


 

As I stated previously, Melatonin cannot be said to be completely safe since it has other roles in our bodies besides sleep regulation. It has affects on sexual maturation as well and even though this is a small risk it cannot be ignored when advising parents of children who are prepubertal. Here is just one reference supporting my advice:http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melatonin/NS_patient-melatonin/DSECTION=safety
Rather than melatonin, which I have used on occasion in teens and rarely in children for exactly the reasons stated in the Mayo Clinic reference above, I suggest you pick up a copy (ebook available) of Dr. Richard Ferber's book: "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" as he will give you a strategy to use with your child to help him sleep better.