The best way to ensure your child gets the vitamins and minerals they need is by offering a well-balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, grains and lean proteins. But some factors—picky eating, food allergies, dietary restrictions and even climate—can impact their vitamin and mineral intake. Should kids take vitamins to get the nutrition they might be lacking? Multivitamins for kids can round out your child’s nutrition, but with so many types on the market, it can be hard to decide which vitamin supplement is the best for your child. Our pediatric dietitian provided advice to determine if your child needs multivitamins, as well as tips for finding the best multivitamins for kids.
Should Kids Take Vitamins? Do Kids Need Vitamins?
Not necessarily. Your child probably doesn’t need to take vitamins if they eat a wide variety of food, spend time outside and don’t have dietary restrictions or allergies that restrict what they eat. Additionally, consuming too many vitamins and minerals could pose a health risk.
That said, vitamins may provide missing nutrition for kids who have multiple food allergies or are vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free or have other dietary restrictions. For example, meat contains a high concentration of iron and vitamin B12, so vegetarians may consider taking iron and B12 supplements. Picky eaters might also benefit from taking vitamins, as well as those who spend too much time indoors and could be low on vitamin D. Always check with your pediatrician before starting your child on a vitamin or mineral supplement.
Are gummy vitamins good for kids?
Some children have difficulty swallowing pill-style vitamins, and gummies can be a (yummy) alternative. Just be mindful of the sugar, artificial flavors and colors or preservatives that they contain. Also, most gummies contain a limited quantity of certain vitamins and minerals, so be sure your gummy vitamin meets your child’s nutritional needs. And, just as with gummy candies, dentists dislike gummy multivitamins because they stick to and decay teeth.
What are the best multivitamins and vitamin supplements for kids?
In general, vitamin and mineral supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so make sure to read the labels. Vitamins should be listed as a “complete” supplement, meaning they contain diverse vitamins and minerals that are important for growing bodies.
Chewable vitamins are kid-friendly and easier to swallow. You should also consider a food-based vitamin, which is derived from real food and could be better absorbed by the body than a synthetic vitamin. Rainbow Light Kids One Multivitamin is a food-based chewable vitamin for kids. When it comes to gummy vitamins, Flintstones Complete Chewables is a trusted brand.
Kids who live in a seasonal climate typically don’t get enough sun exposure during the winter, which makes a vitamin D supplement important. If your child has a nutritionally diverse diet but could benefit from a vitamin D supplement, check out Complete Omega Junior.
What are the best vitamins for children’s immune system?
Children don’t need additional vitamins for immune support. Instead, they should focus on eating food rich in vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system, such as vitamins D and E, calcium and zinc. Try serving your kid these foods to boost their immune system.
- Vitamin D: Salmon, cod, eggs, milk
- Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens like spinach, chard and broccoli
- Calcium: Yogurt, milk, tofu, dark leafy greens
- Zinc: Red meat, poultry, brown rice, beans
Do babies need vitamins?
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that breastfed babies receive a vitamin D supplement since breast milk is not an adequate source. We recommend Carlson Baby’s Super Daily D3 drops. Some babies may also require an iron supplement, as their iron stores gained in utero start declining around 5 months of age. Formula-fed infants do not need additional vitamin supplements since most formulas are already vitamin and mineral fortified.
Are dietary supplements safe for kids?
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so you should always be careful when selecting a vitamin for your kid. When choosing a supplement, we suggest turning to a brand that is food-based rather than synthetic. Also, vitamins and minerals taken in excess can be dangerous to our bodies. Discuss supplements with your doctor or a registered dietitian before serving to your kids. It’s also a good idea to check the ingredient lists of vitamins to ensure that there are not any hidden allergens.
Can kids take vitamins for adults?
Growing toddlers and kids need different amounts of nutrition than adults, so stick to children’s multivitamins until your child is about 13 years of age. At that point, they can consume adult multivitamins.
So, should kids take vitamins? In most cases, the answer is yes! The best way for your child to get vitamins and minerals through a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and dairy. For toddlers and kids who can’t eat a balanced diet all the time, vitamin and mineral supplements can round out their diet. Choose trusted brands and check with your pediatrician or registered dietitian before adding them to your child’s diet.