Knowing what vitamins to give children — or to give any at all — can be a challenge for parents. Gigi Chawla, MD, senior medical director of primary care for Children’s Minnesota, joined WCCO Mid-Morning’s Kylie Bearse and Kim Johnson to share how many and what kinds of vitamins kids should receive.
First, it depends on the child and his or her ability to take in a well-balanced diet, Dr. Chawla said. Most children above the age of 1 don’t need a vitamin, while some supplements are important for kids younger than 1.
Popular vs. important
Some popular vitamins include multivitamins, probiotics and vitamin D, but popular doesn’t necessarily equal important. The most important vitamin is vitamin D, especially for babies that are breastfed. Babies require a daily intake of 400 international units (IU). Most kids don’t need a standard multivitamin, but iron is vital. Breastfed children younger than 1 need supplemental iron.
Pills can be tough to swallow, so some kids vitamins come in the form of gummies and other chewables. Make sure vitamins are well-monitored and put in a safe place away from younger children because, although they may be “tasty,” vitamins, especially iron, in high doses can be toxic and cause liver failure.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.