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‘Reliving the nightmare’: Parents accuse Lynnwood daycare of drugging children before naptime

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Some parents are furious after they say their kids were given Benadryl at a Lynnwood daycare without their knowledge.

Three parents have filed a civil lawsuit against “Little Hands Big Hearts Early Learning.” The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

“I believe that my son was drugged for over one-third of his life,” said parent Rachel Mitchell-Young.

She had been taking her 3-year-old son to the daycare for more than a year. One day, she knew something was off.

“He would be tired. Sometimes he would fall back asleep. He would be really groggy,” she explained.

On September 22, Mitchell-Young says her world was turned upside down.

“All of the parents received some frantic text messages from the daycare operator did CPS had come in and found Benadryl and she was being shut down.”

The text from the owner, Shanine Lofton, says she’s been accused of giving the kids Benadryl to go to sleep.

Mitchell-Young tells KIRO 7 child protective services interviewed her toddler, and he described it as ‘purple candy’ that the kids would be given before lunchtime.

“I started crying immediately because I never just never imagined that anyone could hurt kids that way and then it all clicked.”

Mitchell-Young says she trusted the daycare owner, calling her a mutual friend.

“Even though the social worker found the evidence, my son said it I just I just wanted one more piece of evidence because it was so hard to imagine somebody hurting my baby,” she explained.

Parents, including Mitchell-Young, decided to drug test their kids. All the tests revealed traces of diphenhydramine, also known as Benadryl.

Mitchell-young was shocked, saying her son had a very high level of diphenhydramine in his system.

“It was like reliving the nightmare all over again and it’s just it’s been a really hard couple of months with a lot of crying and a lot of healing that needs to happen for our family,” she said.

She’s urging other parents to be careful when choosing a daycare and to follow any gut feelings.

“If you see something that worries you, you know if your child is tired or coming home groggy, don’t write it off into that worry and into that fear,” she said.

KIRO 7 has reached out to “Little Hands Big Hearts Early Learning” and their lawyer for comment.

According to the Yelp account, the daycare is temporarily closed.