Children grow at such a rapid rate that keeping up with their nutritional needs can be tricky for almost every parent, especially if there’s a fussy or picky eater in the family.
A recent study revealed that up to 90% of parents admit to being confused about how to properly nourish their children, and more than half (69%) admitted not being clear on what minerals, nutrients, and multivitamins for kids should make up a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Why Do Kids Need Multivitamin Supplements?
Young children (especially those who don’t eat a varied diet) may not get enough of the three most vital vitamins for developing children: vitamins A, C, and D. This can apply to children in a number of different situations, including:
- Kids who may not be eating regular, well-balanced meals
- Finicky eaters who simply aren’t eating enough
- Kids with medical conditions, especially if they’re taking medications (Please consult your doctor before starting a vitamin supplement if your child is taking other medication.)
- Kids who eat a primarily vegetarian or vegan diet (they may require an additional iron supplement too)
- Kids who are dairy-free or on another restricted diet
“The Department of Health recommends that all children aged 6 months to 5 years and 5 years to 12 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C, and D every day.”
In an ideal world, kids should get the majority of their vitamins and minerals from a healthy, balanced diet that is full of fresh fruit and vegetables and includes:
- Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt
- Plenty of fresh fruits and leafy, green vegetables
- Proteins such as chicken, fish, meat and eggs
- Whole grains such as steel-cut oats and brown rice
Long working hours and active social lives may mean that well-balanced, home-cooked meals aren’t always possible every single day of the week, so doctors, healthcare professionals, and the Department of Health recommend a daily multivitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D for all kids up to the age of 5.
What Nutrients Should I Look Out For When Buying Vitamins for Kids?
With packet after packet of different multivitamins for kids lining the shelves of our supermarkets and chemists, it can be difficult to know which one to pick to ensure it contains the vitamins that are right for your little ones.
Below, we’ve listed the vitamins and nutrients to look out for, so you know that you’re purchasing the right multivitamin supplement for your kids.
Calcium and Vitamin D:
Calcium and vitamin D are needed for the normal growth and development of bones in children.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA )–
Maternal intake contributes to the normal brain development of the fetus and breastfed infants. DHA also contributes to the normal visual development of infants up to 12 months of age.
contributes to the normal growth of children.
Iron contributes to the normal cognitive development of children.
Needed for the normal growth and development of bones in children.
Needed for normal growth and development of bones in children.
Vitamin D is an immune system booster. It is needed for the normal growth and development of bones and contributes to the normal function of the immune system in children.
Recommended daily values (RDVs) of these nutrients for kids:
- Vitamin A: 2,500 IU (ages 4–8), 3,000 IU (ages 9–13)
- Vitamin C: 60 mg (ages 4–8), 90 mg (ages 9–13)
- Vitamin D: 600 IU (ages 4–8), 800 IU (ages 9–13)
- Vitamin E: 15 mg (ages 4–8), 19 mg (ages 9–13)
- B Vitamins: B1 (1.2 mg), B2 (1.4 mg), B3 (15 mg), B5 (10 mg), B6 (1 mg), B7 (25 mg), B9 (400 mg), and B12 (2.4 mg)
- Zinc: 8 mg (ages 4–8), 11 mg (ages 9–13)
It’s also important to consider the form of the vitamins, as some forms may be better absorbed than others. For example, vitamin D3 is better absorbed than vitamin D2. Additionally, look for gummies that are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Ensure the multivitamin provides the recommended daily values (RDVs) of these nutrients for your child’s age group. Additionally, consider the following factors:
- Form: Choose a form that your child is comfortable taking, such as gummies, chewable tablets, or syrups.
- Taste: Opt for a multivitamin with a pleasant taste that your child enjoys.
- Quality: Select a multivitamin from a reputable brand that adheres to quality standards.
- Allergens: Check the ingredient list for any potential allergens that your child may have.
- Sugar Content: Avoid multivitamins with high sugar content, as excessive sugar intake can have negative health effects.
- Artificial Ingredients: Minimize artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors, as they may have undesirable effects.