Melatonin vapes have recently grown in popularity, but scientific research has yet to catch up. While plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests vaping melatonin is safe and effective, we can’t say for sure what all the effects are in adults, let alone children. This makes it very difficult to give a definitive answer to the question, “Is a melatonin vape safe for kids?”
We’re here to help you make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll explain why we don’t recommend our vapes for children, starting with a look at the science on melatonin supplements in general, and ending with a few safer alternatives to melatonin vapes that are safer for kids.
At a glance:
Is a Melatonin Vape Safe for Kids?
In general, vaping devices are relatively new, and more scientific research is needed across the board to definitively say “melatonin vapes are safe.” But we do know that melatonin vaporizers are definitely safer than e-cigarettes and other more common vapes. Melatonin is not a drug, and melatonin vaporizers don’t contain vitamin E acetate (known to cause lung damage).
At MELO Labs, we’ve worked hard to make our Melo Air vaporizers as safe as possible. They contain just three ingredients: melatonin, organic vegetable glycerin, and natural flavors. That’s it! Unlike other melatonin vaporizers, they contain no propylene glycol (a derivative of petroleum). Plus, they come in ten customer-approved flavors, more than you’ll find anywhere else.
While we don’t have enough evidence to know the effects of vaping in children, our official stance is that we do not recommend our vapes to children out of an abundance of caution. This includes anyone under 18 years old (though there is a little wiggle room for teenagers as we’ll explain later on).
That said, if you’re looking for a sleep aid for your child, non-vape melatonin supplements will likely work just fine. Evidence suggests oral melatonin supplements are effective and safe for children, as we’ll explain more in the next section.
Melatonin Supplements in Children: What the Science Says
Children have been given melatonin supplements to help them sleep for about as long as these supplements have existed. While more scientific research on the subject would be welcome, it’s safe to say that we would know by now if there were any serious adverse effects that small doses of melatonin could trigger in children.
In this section, we’ll review the existing research on oral melatonin supplements in children and explain when to use caution.
Melatonin Likely Safe and Effective for Children
A 2013 meta-analysis from PLOS One examined the results of 19 studies testing the effects of oral melatonin in both children and adults. For the purposes of this study, children were defined as anyone under the age of 18, while adults were those 18 years of age or older.
The researchers intended to study the effects of melatonin in children of different age groups, but not enough studies were available for them to do so. That said, they conclude that melatonin shows promise as a safe and effective insomnia treatment for children.
These results are very general, but there are also studies that look at the effects of oral melatonin in children with specific conditions, which we’ll look at next.
Melatonin May Be Beneficial for Children With Neurodisabilities
A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis from Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology looked at 13 trials that tested the effects of oral melatonin in children aged one to 18 years old with neurodisabilities. The researchers conclude that melatonin is a safe and effective insomnia treatment for children with neurodisabilities, but more research needs to be done.
More specifically, melatonin appears especially beneficial for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A randomized controlled trial from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found a combined treatment of oral melatonin and improved sleep hygiene could help stimulant-treated children (6-14 years old) with ADHD fall asleep faster.
Likewise, another study from the Journal of Child Neurology found melatonin to be an effective treatment for insomnia in children (2-18 years old) with ASD, most of whom were also taking psychotropic medications. In both of these studies, adverse effects were both rare and mild.
Melatonin Overdose More Likely in Very Young Children
While we’ve just reviewed some evidence suggesting oral melatonin is safe and effective for children with insomnia, it’s still important to exercise caution. As with other supplements and medications, melatonin should be kept out of reach of very young children, as they can suffer severe adverse effects from overdosing.
According to data from the CDC, 2.25% of all recorded pediatric ingestions of melatonin between the years 2012 and 2021 were reported to poison control centers. Of these, the vast majority (94.3%) were unintentional and involved male children under the age of five. A majority were asymptomatic, but about 1.6% resulted in more serious outcomes.
With this in mind, we recommend limiting or avoiding melatonin use in very young children, and ensuring children aren’t able to find and abuse the drug on their own. This is especially important if you keep melatonin vapes (or any kind of vapes) around for your own use: Make sure young children can’t access them. We’ll talk more about vaping in the next section.
Why Children Should Avoid Vaping
While considerable anecdotal evidence suggests melatonin vaporizers are safe and effective for adults, children are different. Their bodies are still developing, and their lungs may be particularly sensitive to foreign compounds.
Vaping May Be Dangerous for Young Children
This is especially true of young children, including infants, toddlers, and Elementary school-aged children — i.e. anyone under 11, or preadolescents. Their need for melatonin is smaller to begin with, but more importantly, their lungs are still developing.
While some children in these age groups use inhalers with foregin compounds (e.g. for asthma), we feel it’s best to avoid these unless absolutely necessary. And melatonin vapes aren’t absolutely necessary. As we saw above, children with insomnia may benefit from oral melatonin, but they can also try mild herbal treatments like chamomile tea.
It’s also worth pointing out that the effects of long-term use of melatonin vaporizers are unknown. This goes for adults as well, but any adverse effects associated with long-term use are likely to be compounded in young children who are still developing.
Teen Vaping May Be Risky for Other Reasons
We realize “children” is a relative term. Adolescents and teenagers are often still considered children, but at some point, their lungs will stop growing and developing. For the purposes of vaping melatonin, they may be more like adults.
We also realize some of our customers give melatonin vaporizers to their teenage children, and while we don’t explicitly encourage this, we feel doing so is likely much safer than giving vaporizers to young children.
That said, another concern with teenagers is that their prefrontal cortex (which helps regulate decision-making) is still developing, so they shouldn’t use it unsupervised. This is because they may be more likely to use too much of the vape. We also don’t want them developing positive associations with vaping, given the risks of other types of vaporizers.
So, for all these reasons, we don’t recommend offering melatonin vaporizers to children under the age of 18. In the next section, we’ll tell you about other fast-acting melatonin supplements that are more likely to be safe for children to use.
Try Melo Sip From MELO Labs
At MELO Labs, we were unhappy with the melatonin supplements on the market, so we created our own. In addition to our popular line of Melo Air melatonin vaporizers, we also offer a liquid melatonin supplement: Melo Sip. It’s a great choice for anyone who’s on the fence about vaping, and it works almost as quickly as Melo Air.
Melo Sip is a powdered melatonin supplement you simply add to water, containing 4.3 mg of melatonin (less than the amount of melatonin tested on children aged six to 12 in the Journal of Child Neurology study). Plus, it contains bonus herbal ingredients to help you relax: chamomile extract, valerian root extract, GABA, and l-theanine. It also has vitamins and minerals.
It comes in four tasty flavors, and it contains no sugar, sugar alcohols, or any artificial sweeteners. It’s sweetened only with wholesome monk fruit extract. If you’re looking for a melatonin supplement for your children, Melo Sip is a better choice than any melatonin vaporizer.