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Dietary Supplements for Children

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Updated February 04, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

toddler child eating vegetables

Kids who eat balanced diets probably don't need dietary supplements.

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Kids who eat healthy balanced diets shouldn't need to take dietary supplements. But they can be good for children who are picky eaters, or have to follow restricted diets.

To get the correct dosage, choose supplements that are formulated for your child's age. Follow the instructions on the label.

A typical child's multivitamin contains all that's needed to ensure intake of essential vitamins and minerals -- there's no need to take more than what the label directions indicate, unless your health care provider has given you different instructions.

It can be difficult for younger children to swallow pills, so many kids' vitamins are sold as chewables -- either in the form of tablets or gummies. They're usually flavored and contain some sweeteners. The flavors and colors may be natural or artificial -- read the ingredients list to know for sure what you're putting into your kid.

Although dietary supplements are generally safe for kids, don't give them adult supplements, especially if they contain large amounts of any single nutrient. Keep all adult vitamins out of the reach of toddlers and young children.

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Where We Stand: Vitamins. Accessed June 10, 2010. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/pages/Where-We-Stand-Vitamins.aspx.

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplements: Background Information. Accessed June 10, 2010. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/dietarysupplements/.

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