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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) children who have a healthy and balanced diet do not need a multi-vitamin unless their doctor recommends one. Even if there are a few flaws in your children’s diet or your child is a picky eater, chances are they are getting the vitamins they need.
Children who may need a multivitamin include children who are failing to thrive, have food allergies or sensitivities, are on a strict vegetarian diet, or have a chronic disease.
The one exception is vitamin D. Recently the AAP has found that most children aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps promote healthy bone growth and the prevention of chronic diseases. The AAP is now recommending 400 IU a day beginning in the first few days of life, even if your child drinks milk and plays outside.
Although the AAP says multivitamins aren’t necessary, many parents still decide to use them just to be on the safe side. Taking a multivitamin won’t do your child any harm, but you will want to follow the below guidelines.
Store Carefully: Be careful how you store vitamins and always follow the dosage instructions. Taking too much vitamin A, D, E and K can be toxic. And taking too much iron can be fatal. Make sure your children know that even though vitamins look like candy, they are medicine and can be dangerous. If your child does eat too many vitamins, call poison control.
It is never necessary to give your child more than the recommended dose.
Promote a Healthy Diet: Resist the temptation to use a vitamin as an excuse not to improve your child’s diet. Although a multivitamin may deliver nutrients, your child will be missing out on a host of benefits provided by health foods. Food is still the very best way to get the nutrients you need.
Shop Carefully: Many supplements don’t include nutrients like calcium and zinc that are the most likely to be missing from a child’s diet. Also, make sure it doesn’t exceed the daily-recommended amounts. You will want to buy a multivitamin intended for children so that they aren’t getting more nutrients than are safe.
For More information:
Multivitamins: Do young children need them? (mayoclinic.com)
Vitamin D: On the Double (healthychildren.org)
Vitamin Supplements and Children (healthychildren.org)