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Children's Vitamins Information

Part 2 of 2 - The Right Vitamins For Your Child

Evaluate Your Child's Intake
Review the list of vitamin and mineral rich foods. Would you say that your child is getting a healthy supply of those foods? Does your child get 10-20 minutes of unfiltered sun daily? Does your child enjoy overall good health? Is your child on track with physical and developmental milestones? If you answered yes to everything, your child may be able to skip multivitamins through the middle years.

By contrast, is your child a picky eater? Do food allergies interfere with getting a complete diet? Does your child have a chronic disease? Does a choice to eat vegetarian have your child falling short in some areas? Due to weather, scheduling, or sunscreen, is it challenging for your child to get enough time in direct sunlight? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you'll want to consider the appropriate vitamin or mineral supplement.

Avoid Vitamin Mistakes
Vitamins and vitamin drinks are not a substitute for eating nutrient-rich foods. Avoid slipping into a "he's taking a vitamin, so I don't need to worry about what he's eating" mindset.

Megadoses of vitamins can be toxic. Keep vitamins out of reach of children in a bottle with a childproof lid. Vitamins are manufactured to be desirable to kids. It is wise to educate your children on the dangers of taking more vitamins than what you give them.

Vitamins can interact with some medications. Consult with a doctor.

Children age 3 and younger may not be able to thoroughly grind a vitamin. Liquid vitamins are appropriate for children through age 3; chewable vitamins can be used for children 4 and older.

A consistent excess of certain vitamins can prevent absorption of other vitamins and minerals. "It can't hurt" is the wrong motto for children's vitamins. The vitamins in the body don't carry any value if not absorbed; yet some children have an excess of the vitamins and minerals which block absorption thereby causing a nutritional imbalance. The goal is for the child to receive 100% of the recommended dosage. Evaluating your child's diet can help you to avoid the mistake of exceeding the recommended dose. Vitamins are not the place to practice "if some is good, more must be better."

A generic multivitamin, rather than a specialty variety, is typically an acceptable choice.

Choosing Wisely
Know the recommended dosage and match vitamins with diet. Observe your child's diet. Determine what specific vitamins may be missing from the diet and give just those vitamin and mineral supplements.

Stay in the recommended age group

Recommended vitamin and mineral requirements vary by age and by gender. Look for a vitamin that matches the RDA for your child at the current stage.

If you determine that your child's food intake and time in direct sunlight are not providing the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals, a multivitamin may be the perfect supplement to promote physical and developmental wellness in your growing child.

The CDC and WHO offer extensive research on the nutritional needs of children.

KidsHealth provides valuable information written for children. Children who understand the importance of their vitamin and mineral intake may be willing to invest in their own health and development.