Selecting the right vitamins for your children is important to support their growth and development. Children have different nutritional needs than adults, so you want to choose a vitamin explicitly formulated for kids. The vitamin market can be overwhelming with all the options, so it’s helpful to keep a few key factors in mind when shopping for your child’s supplements. This article will provide seven tips to help you choose the ideal vitamins to help your kids thrive.
1. Choose an Age-Appropriate Formula
As children grow, their nutritional needs change. It’s important to select a multivitamin made specifically for your child’s age group. For example, infants and toddlers need more iron and vitamin D for growth and brain development. Elementary school-aged kids benefit from B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc to meet energy demands. Adolescents require extra calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 as they go through puberty.
Most children’s vitamin brands offer formulations for different age ranges like 1-3 years, 4-8 years, and 9-12 years. Others even have options tailored for narrower age groups, like 4-5 years or 6-8 years. Matching the vitamin formula to your child’s stage of development ensures they get the right amounts of each nutrient. Carefully read the label for the intended age range and only purchase children’s vitamins formulated for kids your child’s age. Consulting your pediatrician on the ideal nutrients can also help guide you in selecting an age-appropriate vitamin.
2. Pick a Reputable Brand
When it comes to vitamins and supplements for children, selecting products from reputable brands is very important. Well-known brands that are widely trusted by pediatricians and parents specialize in making vitamins and supplements that are tailored for children, from the formulas and dosages to the taste and delivery method. Moreover, these established brands often emphasize the importance of offering safe supplements, which are meticulously tested and free from harmful additives.
Do some research to find the most reputable kids’ vitamin brand names. Look for brands that have been around for decades and that are recommended by pediatricians and children’s health experts. Be wary of generic or store brands that may not adhere to the same strict quality standards. When you choose a trusted, pediatrician-approved brand for your child’s vitamins, you can feel confident they are getting high-quality, safe products formulated just for their needs.
3. Choose Child-Friendly Forms
For children to get all the benefits from taking vitamins, they first have to be willing to take them! Fortunately, kids’ vitamins now come in easy, fun forms like gummies, chewables, and liquids. These child-friendly versions provide the serious nutrition they need in a yummy, appealing way. Let your child pick out their preferred flavors, like cherry, grape, or orange, to increase their interest and compliance with taking the vitamin.
Some other tips for kid-friendly vitamin forms: Gummies are popular but not suitable for children under age 4 due to choking risk. Chewables are ideal for younger kids who can chew but not swallow pills. Meltaways have a smooth texture and dissolve easily on the tongue. Liquids or drops can be mixed into drinks or food. If your child is old enough, you can introduce vitamins in pill form – just be sure to teach them how to swallow pills properly.
4. Look for a Complete Multivitamin
While single vitamin supplements can be helpful for addressing specific deficiencies, a complete multivitamin is ideal as a daily nutritional foundation for most kids. Multivitamins contain a balanced blend of all the essential vitamins and minerals growing children need—like vitamins A, C, D, and B, iron, zinc, iodine, and folate. The benefit of a multivitamin is you don’t have to worry about purchasing multiple products to meet your child’s nutrient needs.
When comparing children’s multivitamins, be sure to check the Supplement Facts label to verify it contains 100% Daily Value for all the vitamins and minerals kids require. Avoid products that only have a few select nutrients. For well-rounded daily nutrition, choose a comprehensive multivitamin with 100% DV for all vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine, and more.
5. Check for Allergens
If your child has food allergies, carefully inspect the vitamin’s ingredient list for potential allergens before purchasing. Common food allergens often found in cheaper supplements include milk, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. To avoid reactions, opt for a hypoallergenic children’s vitamin made without these allergens so kids with sensitivities can safely take it.
Call the manufacturer if you have any questions about allergen content. Choosing an allergen-free vitamin for kids with multiple food allergies can be challenging. Work with your pediatrician or allergist to find the best hypoallergenic formula that meets your child’s nutritional needs and avoids allergen triggers. With vigilance in label reading and selection, children with food allergies can still benefit from taking vitamins.
6. Store Vitamins Properly
To preserve potency and shelf life, be sure to store your child’s vitamins according to the label instructions. Most children’s vitamin bottles are to be kept in a cool, dry location, away from excess heat and moisture. Check if refrigeration is required, especially for liquid vitamins or gummies which can melt in warm conditions. Keep the vitamin container tightly sealed and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, which can degrade nutrients over time.
Also, take note of the expiration date printed on the bottle and replace vitamins once they are past it. The shelf life for children’s vitamin gummies tends to be shorter, around 9-12 months. Proper storage away from heat, light, and humidity extends the shelf life so kids get the full benefits from the vitamins. Discard any vitamins that have expired or look unusual in odor or appearance.
7. Consult Your Pediatrician
While generally safe, it’s wise to consult your child’s pediatrician before giving any new vitamin or supplement. They can help determine if your child has any nutritional gaps that need addressing through a vitamin. Your pediatrician can also provide dosage guidance based on your child’s age, weight, and diet.
Discuss any health conditions your child has as well as medications they take to avoid potential interactions with certain vitamins. Show your pediatrician the vitamin bottle so they can review and approve your selection, especially if your child has allergies or sensitivities. With your pediatrician’s input, you can ensure your child is getting the right vitamin support tailored to their unique nutritional needs for optimal health and development.
Choosing the ideal vitamins to support your growing child is key but can also be confusing. Remember these tips when shopping for supplements to select a high-quality, age-appropriate multivitamin. Reputable brands, proper dosing, and child-friendly forms are all key factors when picking the right vitamin. With the right supplement choice, you can give your kids the nutritional foundation they need to thrive. Consult your pediatrician and always read labels carefully. Follow this guidance to provide your children with vital support through vitamins tailored just for them.