While your kids should be getting all of their nutrients through a well-balanced diet, in practice this rarely happens. Whether they’re fussy eaters, sick, or just refuse to eat certain things a vitamin supplement can be an important addition to a balanced diet.
We found the SmartyPants Kids Complete Gummy Vitamins to have the most important vitamins and minerals, in addition to vital Omega-3 fatty acids and strongly recommend it. Dietary needs change as children age, however, so you may want to go with something else to provide comprehensive nutritional coverage.
Let’s take a look at five of the best, then we’ll help you figure out which is the best for your children and their dietary needs.
For those who have been looking for a pretty much complete multivitamin for kids, SmartyPants Kids delivers awesome results. The adjustable dosage also puts them a step ahead of many of the other child vitamin supplements on the market.
Top 5 Vitamins for Kids
|SmartyPants Kids||Vitamins, A, B-Complex, C, D, E
Iodine, Zinc, Sodium
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
|Flintstones Vitamins||Vitamins A, B-Complex, C, D, E, K
Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Copper
|Garden of Life Multivitamin||Vitamins A, B-Complex, C, D, E, K
Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine
|L’il Critters||Vitamins A, B-Complex, C, D, E, K
|Solaray||Vitamins A, B-Complex, C, D, E, K
Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Zinc
1. Best Multivitamin for Kids
SmartyPants Kids Complete Gummy Vitamins
If you’re looking for a complete multivitamin for children, then you’ll be pleased with the SmartyPants Kids Complete Gummy Vitamins. They contain pretty much all of the vitamins and minerals which your child needs, with the useful addition of Omega-3 fatty acids for brain development.
These come in a gummy form, with four gummies per serving. They’re carefully balanced, with high doses of water-soluble vitamins and more moderate servings of the fat soluble vitamins in order to ensure they don’t build up.
This careful attention to balance is great, since they make an awesome supplement to a well balanced diet. Due to their composition, many people have used them as an aid for ADHD and other focus problems, with great results according to the general consensus.
There aren’t too many catches to these. They come out to be a bit expensive, but considering their composition it’s a small price to pay if you find they truly help your child out. They also contain a considerable amount of sugar for a vitamin.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely well balanced composition
- Great for everything a growing child needs
- Addition of Omega-3 fatty acids for brain health
- Easy to eat gummy form
- A bit expensive per dose
- Contains quite a bit of sugar
2. Best Vitamins for Toddlers
Flintstones Vitamins Children's Complete Multivitamin
The classic child’s vitamin, and a staple of the childhood of many of us who are now parents, has always been Flintstones vitamins. Most of us are pleased to know that they’re still around in their original form, as tiny, chewable Flintstones characters.
The only change in the formula over the years has been to make them a bit less “grainy” by grinding the ingredients further before compressing. They have stood the test of time as an excellent multivitamin pill for children, well balanced and containing pretty much all of the essential vitamins and minerals needed.
The minerals are particularly important and, apart from magnesium, these Flintstones vitamins have all of the essential minerals that a child needs to grow.
Most children don’t have any real problem with their taste either.
The biggest problem with these vitamins is that their iron content is a bit high. While it’s great for anemic children, it can cause problems if you’re not careful with their diet and use a lot of cast iron cookware that’s not properly seasoned.
For the most part, however, Flintstones chewables have withstood the test of time and they’re still one of the best around.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent amount of minerals
- Most children like the taste
- Recommended by pediatricians
- New formula powders much better
- Can be too much iron
- Odd aftertaste puts some kids off
3. Best Vegetarian Vitamins for Kids
Garden of Life Vegetarian Multivitamin Supplement for Kids
If you’re looking for something a little bit more holistic, then you may want to take a closer look at Garden of Life Vegetarian Multivitamins. All of the ingredients contained within are “grown” with the help of bacteria, rather than being sourced from animal products as well.
There’s a nice little addition here in the form of beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, which can help to ensure the health of intestinal flora. All of this adds up to a great, vegan-friendly supplement which can help with the deficiencies that sort of diet brings on.
These are a gummy vitamin, dosed two at a time, and despite the lack of flavoring additives kids seemed to love them in our experience.
Overall, if you’re looking for a vegan vitamin supplement for kids then we strongly recommend you take a close look at these gummies from the Garden of Life.
Pros and Cons
- Contains most of the necessary vitamins and minerals
- Taste great
- No added sugar
- Lack of iron
- Some kids hate the texture
4. Best Budget Gummy Vitamin for Kids
L'il Critters Gummy Vites Complete Multivitamin
If you’re looking for a gummy vitamin, but want to save some money then L’il Critters has you covered. These are budget priced gummy vitamins, which have most of the essential nutrients for children although they’re lacking some important minerals like iron.
On the other hand, as an easy supplement they’re pretty hard to beat. If your child isn’t lacking in any specific nutrients then you can add these to ensure that they get the full spectrum.
They come in a variety of flavors, and most children seemed to like them quite a bit. They’re not particularly high in sugar either, which is definitely a good thing.
Overall if you’re looking for a solid gummy vitamin without breaking the bank then these might be just what you’re looking for.
Pros and Cons
- Well balanced vitamin content
- Great flavors
- Very little sugar
- No additional dyes or artificial ingredients
- Lack of minerals
- A bit hard for gummies
5. Best Budget Chewable Vitamin
Solaray Children’s Chewable Vitamins & Minerals
Think of these as a cheaper, slightly less nutritious version of the Flintstones vitamins and you’ll be on the right track. These are a great alternative if your budget is tight, although they lack some of the micronutrients which characterize the completeness of the old-school ones.
These come in a great, natural black cherry flavor. They do have most of the nutrients which are required for a developing child, and for such a low cost they come highly recommended.
You can also split the doses fairly easily, for a morning and night supplement which will allow for more complete absorption.
Overall, these are the best option for chewables if you’re on a tight budget. They don’t lack anything major, they absorb readily, but they’re really not much to write home about otherwise.
Pros and Cons
- Contains a good sampling of vitamins and minerals
- No added sugar
- Natural, black cherry flavoring
- Super cheap per dose
- Not as complete as Flintstones vitamins
- Still has a very high level of iron
Does Your Kid Need a Vitamin Supplement?
In case you haven’t noticed, chances are your kid is growing like a weed. This means that they’ve got important dietary needs to ensure their physical development goes properly, and mental development goes hand in hand with that.
These kinds of supplements aren’t really necessary for children with a healthy appetite who’ll eat anything put in front of them, but the following situations mean you should probably look into getting one:
- Children who are picky about their food and outright refuse to eat some things.
- Children who don’t have a strong appetite.
- Children with medical conditions such as asthma, although you’ll want to check with your doctor if they’re on medication to make sure there’s no interference.
- Children in vegetarian or vegan homes.
- Children who are allowed to drink soda within the home, since it can leach vital nutrients.
While they’re not a replacement for a healthy diet, supplements are still a good idea for most children. People rarely eat a fully balanced diet after all, and as your children get older they’re likely to be eating the same things as everyone else in the house.
It’s always a good idea to ask your doctor about things before you begin, so make sure that you check in with your pediatrician. Some deficiencies are extremely common, especially iron and Vitamin D, so supplementation can be a great way to do it.
Just be aware that fat soluble vitamins can build up, so if your child is taking a kid’s multivitamin you may want to spend a little bit of time making sure that you’re not feeding them a ton of foods rich in those nutrients alongside the supplement.
Individual supplements are also available, the best advice is to just listen to your pediatrician.
Why Not Use an Adult Multivitamin?
While it would certainly seem to simplify things if you just shared multivitamins with your kids, it’s not the way to do it. Children have much different nutritional needs than adults, and child vitamins focus on making sure that the ingredients for growth rather than maintenance are present.
There’s also a risk of overdose on vitamins for smaller children, since fat soluble vitamins can build up and aren’t easily excreted.
Simply put, for small kids it’s vital to use something which is formulated for them rather than for adults.
Which Vitamins Are Most Important For Children?
Since children have different nutritional needs than adults, it’s important to make sure that certain vitamins are present in any multi-vitamin you use to supplement your child’s date.
The following are the most important nutrients, but in truth it’s still best to use a well balanced diet to ensure that a child receives the full range of vitamins and minerals while they’re growing.
Vitamin A is extremely important for proper immune system functions. Symptoms of deficiency include night blindness and other eye problems, as well as lowered immune functioning.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it’s actually possible to overdose on vitamin A with disastrous results.
Vitamin A deficiency without metabolic issues is actually fairly rare in children. Most people deficient in it are adults with unhealthy habits.
B-vitamins are extremely important for many of the processes in the body. There are six of these vitamins, including the following:
These vitamins work in conjunction, and a lack of them is a definite cause of lethargy and a host of other energy related problems. The ratio of these should be balanced, and a good vitamin will definitely have them in the right proportions.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and required by the body. It can help to prevent damage from free radicals within the body and a deficiency is one of the most noticeable. Even a minor deficiency will present as fatigue, appetite loss, and a weakened immune system.
It’s also a relatively easy vitamin to get into a child’s diet, since it’s frequently in citrus fruit which children love. Fortunately, it’s also pretty much impossible to get too much of it in your diet, which means that having it in a kid’s multivitamin isn’t going to harm anything even if they get a regular amount of it in their diet.
Vitamin D is one of the most frequently deficient vitamins in the modern world. This is because it’s primarily synthesized through sunlight and few people get enough sunlight by any measure.
A deficiency presents as rickets in children, and a minor deficiency can weaken the immune system considerably. It’s inclusion in vitamins is pretty much a requirement.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant. It protects cell membranes and also helps to eliminate free radicals from the body.
Deficiencies are pretty minor, but often lead to a lack of sleep and some anxiety. In severe cases it can also lead to the weakening of bones.
Vitamin K is an anticoagulant. It makes blood clot in the event of an injury, and deficiencies of it are quite rare, but can result in problems with bruising and bleeding.
Calcium is essential for the health of bones and teeth. It’s pretty much essential for children who are lactose intolerant and deficiencies of it can cause some problems with bone development in growing children.
As an adult these issues can grow into osteoperosis, with an earlier onset if the nutritional need isn’t met while the child is still young.
Iodine is more essential than many people realize, especially since it governs thyroid function within the body. A lack of it in pregnant women can cause serious issues with a child’s development, and in people it can cause thyroid issues which turn into a lifelong battle.
Anemia, a lack of iron, is relatively common in children. It can lead to muscle weakness and a lack of growth. While it often comes through breast milk, some people are just deficient in it.
Iron is pretty vital to have in any children’s mineral supplement, as it’s one of the primary drivers of growth in young children.
Magnesium is required by the body to produce energy. That alone makes it vital to ensure that children have enough of it.
75% of the population appears to be deficient in magnesium to one extent or another, but it doesn’t seem to cause too many health problems until levels completely bottom out. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to ensure that it’s kept up.
Zinc is one of the most important minerals for the immune system. It helps to fight off infections both viral and bacterial, it helps to aid in wound healing, and is important for the sense of taste and smell.
Deficiencies in children can slow growth, making it another of the “big and strong” minerals that really should be monitored and kept at the right levels within the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
While not technically a vitamin or a mineral, Omega-3 fatty acids are included in the best children vitamin supplements. They’re one of the most essential nutrients for brain development, and they’ve been linked directly to poorer learning skills and reading levels in children.
Even if the vitamin supplement you purchase doesn’t have them, you may want to consider them. They’re relatively harmless in high amounts, and the truth is that few people eat enough fish to meet the recommended levels.
When Should I Begin Giving My Child Vitamins?
The standard recommendation for children is to begin supplementing vitamins after the age of four. You should avoid giving them to younger children unless it’s been specifically recommended by your pediatrician.
Indeed, it’s best to consult your pediatrician any time you’re planning on giving supplements to your child. Keeping your doctor informed is a good idea anytime you add something new to your child’s diet.
Once they’ve reached the age of four, however, you may want to begin watching their eating habits. Around this age many children will begin to test boundaries, and their abject refusal to eat certain items can begin to cause problems. If that’s the case and each meal is beginning to turn into a test of wills, you may be best off just adding the supplements rather than wasting time unless your child’s dietary habits are causing serious problems.
Chewables vs. Gummies
Vitamins for kids come in two main varieties: chewables and gummies.
There are a couple trains of thoughts here: namely, kids seem to enjoy gummies a lot more. Even the fruit-flavored Flintstones have a distinctly chalky taste which can turn children off of them so picky children are more likely to enjoy them.
Of course, you’ll also have to be careful to keep both types away from children since they may be tempted to eat a bunch of them if they taste especially good.
On the other hand, there’s a difference in the nutritional content of vitamin supplements. Gummies will almost always have a lower amount of vitamins and minerals than their chewable counterparts.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if your child already has a balanced diet and you’re just trying to cover your bases then the lower levels can be beneficial. If a pediatrician has recommended a vitamin based on a specific deficiency, however, you’ll most likely want to use a chewable option.
The tendency of children to overindulge in things they think taste good can be a serious problem, however, especially if you’re not careful to keep their vitamins hidden. Be careful with where you place the supplements after giving them to the child.
Essentially, however, chewables are recommended for children who have a specific need or dietary imbalance, while gummy multivitamins are a better option for those who are just making sure that things are going smoothly.
Vitamins for kids are a complicated subject, subject to a bit of controversy. As long as your pediatrician approves, however, they can be a great way to shore up any nutritional deficiencies and ensure that your child grows up big and strong.
Make sure that you put a little bit of thought into picking up the vitamins and you’ll be in good hands. It’s a great way to do things, especially for those who aren’t quite sure that they’re meeting their children’s needs. For the most part they won’t hurt, and in the best of cases they’ll make sure your children grow up healthy, and there’s really only a small price to pay to ensure that you’ve got your bases covered.