Good nutrition is essential to growth and development in children. A healthy diet provides the necessary building blocks for growth and mental development in children. Healthy choices include vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats and dairy products. In addition, many foods such as cereal, milk and orange juice are often fortified with vitamins.
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Pediatricians agree that the best way to get necessary vitamins and minerals is through eating a healthy diet, but children can often be finicky about eating foods that are full of the nutrients that they need to stay healthy and develop appropriately.
Does My Child Need a Multivitamin?
If you feel that your child may not be getting all of their essential vitamins and minerals for appropriate development, you should talk to your pediatrician to see if they recommend supplementing your child’s diet with a multivitamin. Multivitamins are often recommended in children who:
Fall behind on expected growth and developmental markers.
Follow a restricted diet such as vegan or vegetarian.
Have severe food allergies.
What Kind of Multivitamin is Recommended?
If your child's doctor recommends a multivitamin, you should choose one that is appropriate for your child's age group. Never choose a multivitamin that provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamins and minerals. It is also very important to discuss your child’s current medication regime with your doctor because some vitamins and minerals may adversely interact with your child’s medications.
Are Children’s Vitamins Safe?
There are a few important things to remember when considering the use of a multivitamin in children. Overdoses of vitamins and minerals can be toxic to children. Children should be reminded that multivitamins are not candy, especially since many are flavored to be appealing and are marketed as popular cartoon characters. For infants and toddlers, liquids and drops are excellent solutions because they don’t require chewing or pose a risk for choking. There are also powdered formulas available that are mixed with water, juice or milk.
How to Choose a Multivitamin
It’s important to read the label when choosing a multivitamin as they come in a variety of different combinations or nutrients for children. Vitamin D and vitamin B complexes are very common in these products as is iron because they address common deficiencies experienced by children. Some supplements also contain an essential fatty acid known as DHA, which is vital in the development of the brain and the eyes in children.
drugstore.com carries an extensive selection of children's multivitamins that have various formulas, flavors and brands that will make finding the best supplement for your child as easy as possible. If you are still unsure about the best choice to make, consult with your pediatrician to determine the best product for your use.