by Lori Brizee MS, RDN, CDE
Pediatric Nutrition expert and guest contributor
plements other than vitamin D, and possibly fluoride. If your child is a very picky eater, has multiple food allergies, or has a condition that causes poor nutrient absorption or increased needs for certain nutrients, supplements may be needed—talk with your pediatrician or ask for a referral to a pediatric Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist. A complete multivitamin that includes iron will meet the needs for most of these kiddos.
How to choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement: Multivitamin-mineral supplements for kids come in traditional chewable forms and in “gummy” forms. Be aware that “gummy” forms of multivitamin-mineral are less complete than traditional chewable forms. Given that iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world (including here in the USA), children who need a multi vitamin-mineral supplement usually need iron, so a “gummy” is not your best option.
Here are some very popular supplement brands of chewable and gummy forms of multivitamins.
Source: Manufacturers’ websites:
Note—the gummy forms have no iron, magnesium, vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin or Niacin. Also, the gummy/chew forms require 2 gummies/chews to provide the nutrients listed.
ALL supplements should be treated like medicine and kept in a place where children cannot get into them. Don’t rely on childproof caps! Both the gummies and the chewables are made to taste good to children so that they will take them. However, toxicity from supplements is a real risk. Iron toxicity can be fatal, and there is also a risk of vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin C toxicities
Know what you are getting!
Many, but not all supplements are tested by a third-party lab for purity and dosage. Third party labs include NSF International, Consumer Lab (CL) or USP (US Pharmacopeia Convention). ALL supplement makers have to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the research that proves a supplement is safe, and that the label is accurate within 30 days of marketing a new or changed product. You can be safe with any supplement that has been around for a while.
If you are unsure about any supplements you are currently giving your child, or wonder whether or not you should start one, talk with you pediatrician and/or ask for a referral to a pediatric dietitian-nutritionist.