A Guide to Vitamins for Kids
Does Your Child Need Vitamins?
Now that we’ve talked about a few ways to support your child’s health, let’s explore the topic of vitamins and multivitamins for kids. Many parents wonder whether vitamin supplements for kids are necessary. To help answer that question for your child, it helps to understand which vitamins most children need. There are a variety of vitamins and nutrients that can help your child during their developmental years. This summarized list from Stanford Children’s Health provides an overview of a few essential nutrients:iv
- Vitamin A: Important for skin health, vision, and tissue repair
- Vitamin B: Helps red blood cell production and assists in metabolic activities
- Vitamin C: Plays a role in immune function and helps strengthen tissue, muscles, and skin
- Vitamin D and Calcium: help the body form and maintain strong teeth and bones
- Iron: contributes to blood production and helps the building of muscles.
So, does your child need to take a vitamin supplement or a multivitamin to get most important vitamins and nutrients? According to Mayo Clinic, the answer: no, not necessarily.v Foods can be an excellent source of nutrients, so by eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet, healthy children can get most of the nutrients they need. However, there are exceptions. After all, as many parents know, kids can be picky eaters. If your child tends to opt out of eating vegetables at the dinner table, they may miss out on the nutritional benefits of those veggies. In addition, some nutrients can be tricky to get through diet alone—such as vitamin D—which is why you’ll find breads and cereals in the grocery store fortified with nutrients. Here are a few other cases where a multivitamin for your child may be helpful:vi
- Your child has food allergies or food intolerances.
- Your child follows a restrictive diet.
How to Choose a Vitamin Supplement or Multivitamin for Your Child
Are you considering supplementing your child’s diet with a vitamin? Here is how to choose a vitamin that suits your child’s nutritional needs:
Step 1) Talk to your child’s doctor. While you probably have a good idea of your child’s nutritional needs, advice from a medical expert is crucial to making sure you understand the health risks and benefits.
Step 2) Decide between multivitamins versus other dietary supplements. Multivitamins contain a combination of vitamins and minerals, and sometime other ingredients as well.vii If your child is only inadequate in one vitamin or nutrient, a one-ingredient dietary supplement (such as a vitamin D supplement, for example) might be a better choice.
Step 3) Explore different types of vitamins. Chewable tablets, gummies, pills, and more—vitamins come in a variety of formats depending on your (and your child’s) preference. If your child is fairly young, they might enjoy taking a vitamin in a fun flavor, like grape or cherry. Many multivitamins for kids also come in fun shapes and themes, such as dinosaur-themed or cartoon-themed.
Step 4) Make taking vitamins part of your child’s regular routine. After thoroughly reviewing the safety and dosage instructions, set up a schedule by which your child takes their vitamins. Consistency is key, so maybe choose one time of the day (such as morning, when your child is eating breakfast) to take the vitamin, so that neither you nor your child forgets to take it. Make sure to store vitamins in the bottle they come in out of reach of your child.
Thanks for reading our guide on vitamins for kids. Learn more about dietary supplements for your family today.
i. Children & Sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/children-and-sleep. Accessed 7/31/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
iii. Handwashing: A Family Activity. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/handwashing-family.html. Accessed 7/31/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
iv. Kids Need Their Nutrients. Stanford Children’s Health. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=kids-need-their-nutrients--1-19820. Accessed 7/31/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
v. Multivitamins: Do young children need them? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/multivitamins/faq-20058310. Accessed 7/31/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.
vii. Multivitamin/mineral Supplement. CDC. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-Consumer/. Accessed 7/31/2020. Referenced text is enclosed in a red box in source PDF.