Ving Yam, D.O.
Stephanie Iem, D.O.
Does my child need a multivitamin?
Answer: If your child is healthy, active and eats a varied diet, we believe that multivitamins are not necessary. However, multivitamins may be indicated for children who are at nutritional risk, have chronic diseases that affect absorption, eat a strict vegan diet or do not get regular exposure to the sun. In those cases, parents should talk to their pediatrician for advice specific to the needs of their child.
One area of concern is vitamin D deficiency, which can result in rickets. Rickets is the softening of the bone may result from prolonged deficiency of vitamin D, which is essential in promoting calcium absorption for strong bone development.
Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommendation for vitamin D, stating that infants, children and teens should take at least 400 IU/L daily. In the United States, infant formulas contain at least the recommended amount. Cereals and cow’s milk are also fortified with vitamin D.
A vitamin D supplement is therefore recommended for infants who are breastfed or children who drink less than 1,000 mL of vitamin D formula or milk daily and do not get regular sunlight exposure.
If you prefer to supplement your youngster’s diet with multivitamins and minerals, a standard pediatric multivitamin poses no risk. However, avoid mega doses of multivitamins due to potential toxic side effects. Because many children’s vitamins look and taste like candy, it is important to treat vitamins as the medicine they are by keeping them out of reach of young children.