From the moment your baby’s little fist grips your finger tightly, there develops in you a deep need to protect him or her from everything and anything harmful. The wanting to make sure they’re getting the best you can provide, be it material needs or emotional comfort, gets stronger and stronger.
Proper nutrition is definitely high on the list of needs. But what do you do when your adorable little cookie monster suddenly raises hell when faced with a plate of peas or broccoli? How do you make sure he’s getting all the nutrition he needs to stay healthy? Spending the whole day in a battle of wills over food isn’t practical!
Conversely, in some cases, they suffer from some chronic disease or food allergies or have to adhere to restrictive diets that may not include foods that provide those nutrients.
Children require all the essential nutrients for their body cells to grow and develop each organ and tissue. Short of stuffing their little mouth with all their food sources, the next best thing is giving multivitamins to kids.
Here, we chose and listed out 6 of our favorite multivitamins for kids that are available on the market.
Our Top Picks
1. Best Kids Multivitamin for Eye Health – L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ complete Kids Gummy Vitamins
2. Best Tasting Multivitamin for Kids – OLLY Kids Multivitamin Gummy Worms
3. Best Liquid Multivitamin for Kids – ChildLife Essentials Multi-Vitamin and Mineral
4. Best Overall Kids Multivitamin – SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
5. Best Organic Multivitamin for Kids – Garden of Life’s Mykind Organics Kids Gummy Vitamins
6. Best Multivitamin for Kids with Honey – Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Complete Multivitamin
1. Best Kids Multivitamin for Eye Health: L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ Complete Kids Gummy Vitamins
Lutein is a carotenoid that accumulates in the brain from a very early stage of development and crosses the blood-retina barrier. Studies have shown its beneficial role in the visual and cognitive development of humans through all stages of life (1). Lutein helps in the development of the retina and produces the macular pigment which protects it from phototoxic damage (2).
This is especially useful these days, what with our kids spending a lot of their time staring at the screen of some sort of electronic device.
Adding Lutein in their supplement, L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ has a definite leg-up over their competitors.
About L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ Complete
L’il Critters™ is a vitafusion™ brand catered to providing nutrient supplements for children. They have sourced their natural flavors from cherry, strawberry, orange, pineapple, and blueberries, with no high fructose corn syrup, synthetic (FD&C) dyes, or gluten.
Their award-winning supplements are manufactured in non-GMO facilities. Along with the basic vitamins and minerals, they have added Lutein.
All in a fun gummy bear shape!
They are also environmentally conscious as they have partnered with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to plant more trees.
What It Contains:
Serving size of 1 gummy bear (for 2-3yr olds) and 2 gummy bears (for 4 and up) includes:
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, Biotin, Niacin
- Zinc, Iodine
- Lutein (50mcg/gummy)
In addition to that, they also have several other nutrients like folate and pantothenic acid. The supplements contain tree nuts. Total sugar is 1g.
Manufacturers recommend 2 gummy bears per day for kids above 4yrs of age. It is not advised to give the supplements to kids under the age of 2, as it can be a choking hazard.
- Contains Lutein
- Gluten, dairy-free
- No artificial sweeteners or flavors
- Great natural taste
- No high-fructose corn syrup
Summary: L’il Critters™ Gummy Vites™ is a great supplement that contains lutein which boosts eye health.
2. Best Tasting Multivitamin for Kids: OLLY Kids Multivitamin Gummy Worms
Supplements catering to children have to cater to their palates. This ensures compliance. After all, we need to get the little ones to take them daily if we want it to benefit their growth!
And let’s face it, if it tastes good, half the struggle is over!
We chose OLLY Kids Multivitamin Gummy Worms for its inventive and fun flavors. Their punchy blend of strawberry and orange flavor is almost irresistible.
About OLLY Kids Multivitamin Gummy Worms
OLLY is a Public Benefit Corporation (B Corp Certified) whose products are manufactured in facilities audited by the FDA and 3rd party certifiers, including NSF, who certify them to be cGMP compliant.
Their raw materials are non-GMO sourced and are gluten-free. They use only natural flavors and sweeteners.
Even their packaging is user-friendly pouches with handy little cold packs to keep them fresh all day.
What it Contains:
Serving size of 1 gummy worm for 2-3yr olds and 1 for 4 and up contains
- Vitamins A, C, D, B5, B12, E
- Zinc and Iodine
- Pantothenic acid, Biotin, Folate
They also contain natural flavors and colors from plant sources.
- Great flavors
- B Corp certified
- cGMP facility
- No artificial sweeteners and flavors
- User-friendly packaging
Summary: OLLY Kids Multivitamin Gummy Worms are a great choice for tasty supplements packed with essential nutrients for your kiddos.
3. Best Liquid Multivitamin for Kids: ChildLife Essentials Multi-Vitamin and Mineral
There are many reasons why a few children may not be able to consume multivitamins in a gummy form. For babies below the age of 2yrs and other children with special needs, it can pose a choking hazard. And there are still some who would just rather not opt for chewable.
ChildLife Essentials Multivitamin is a liquid solution that has been specifically formulated for use by children from 6 months of age onwards. This makes them the best option to give your infant and can be continued all through to their teens.
About ChildLife Essentials Multivitamin
Developed by a Paediatrician, ChildLife Essentials Multivitamin provides 14 key vitamins and 8 essential minerals in a naturally sweetened orange or mango-flavored liquid formula. The formula is a non-GMO verified product. It is gluten, alcohol, and casein-free.
What It Contains
Serving size of 2tsp is 10ml of the formula and contains 14 essential vitamins with 8 essential minerals.
They recommend dosages of:
- 1 tsp daily – for 6-12months
- 1-2 tsp daily – for 1-3yrs
- 2-3 tsp daily – for 4yrs and up
The liquid is designed in such a way that you can give it either directly or mixed into their favorite drink. They recommend shaking it before use and refrigerating it once it’s opened.
- Liquid formula
- Perfect for infants
- Gluten, dairy, alcohol-free
- Vitamins and essential minerals available
Summary: ChildLife multivitamin and Mineral formula provide essential vitamins and minerals in a tasty liquid format that’s perfect for infants and up.
4. Best Overall Kids Multivitamin: SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
Research done over the years has established how Vitamin D and K2 play a key role in the development of healthy bones and heart (3), (4). Both these vitamins are needed to ensure that calcium gets absorbed and reaches the bones, thereby strengthening the bone.
Omega-3 Fish oil (DHA/EPA) is associated with numerous health benefits, which includes the development of brain and heart function, and immunity (5).
SmartyPants Kids Formula Multivitamin is a great choice for these very reasons, as it offers all of these in its formula. That is why their supplement has been chosen to be the best overall.
About SmartyPants Kids Formula Multivitamin
SmartyPants Kids multivitamin gummies are manufactured in FDA-registered, cGMP facilities that are compliant with the latest Code of Federal Regulations for food and dietary supplements. They are also third-party tested for purity.
They source Omega-3 fish oil from wild-caught small fish. Premium ingredients are used which are gluten-free and naturally sweetened using monk fruit.
The supplements are also free from general allergens.
What It Contains:
Serving size of 4 gummies per day contains all the essential vitamins along with
- Omega-3 Fish oil – 200mg
- Vitamin K (K1+K2) – 20mcg
All of this is encapsulated in soft gelatin.
- Contains Omega-3 fish oil, Vit D and Vit K2
- Gluten and dairy-free
- Naturally sweetened and flavored
Summary: SmartyPants Kids Formula is designed to take into account a child’s overall growth and development and immunity against diseases.
5. Best Organic Multivitamin for Kids: Garden of Life’s mykind Organics Kids Gummy Vitamins
With more and more families opting for a vegan lifestyle, they are also looking for a comprehensive whole-food based multivitamin supplement for your child. In such a case, Garden of Life’s myKind Organics Kids vitamins is a perfect choice.
They extract their ingredients from 100% fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
About GoL’s myKind Organics Kids Vitamins
This US-based company is USDA Organic certified, non-GMO project verified and Vegan certified.
Their herbals are made with a groundbreaking extraction method that uses water or Non-GMO alcohol, the first of its kind on the market! They sweeten the gummies with only organic fruit, and use fruit pectin instead of pig gelatin, keeping it completely kosher.
They go a step further and use only plant-based inks for their packaging!
What It Contains:
Serving size of 4 gummies (10g) a day for 4yr olds and above will have:
- All essential vitamins, and
- Minerals like chromium, selenium, and manganese
These are all vegan sourced and allergen-free.
- Vegan verified
- Certified USDA-certified
- Organic all-fruit chew
Summary: GoL’s myKind Organics Kids vitamins ensures all their ingredients are completely vegan and kosher, even using fruit pectin instead of pig gelatin.
6. Best Multivitamin for Kids with Honey: Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Complete Multivitamin
We have all heard of how a spoonful of honey can cure almost everything! Even though that is a bit exaggerated, it does have many proven benefits for kids 2yr and over. Honey displays antioxidant and healing properties, helps in digestion, and is a great natural source of some vitamins and minerals.
About Zarbee’s Natural Children’s Complete
Zarbee’s uses natural ingredients like dark honey (which contains flavonoids and phenolic acid) which is sourced from the US itself. Pectin extracted from apple cores is used as the binding and gelling agent instead of animal gelatin.
The sweetness in this multivitamin comes from the natural sweetness of honey and doesn’t contain any high-fructose corn syrup. These supplements are allergen-free and have no artificial flavors.
What It Contains
Serving size of 1 gummy/day of 2-3yr olds and 2 gummies/day for 4yrs and above and has:
- 14 essentials vitamins and minerals with total B-complex
- Only 2g of total sugars bound together in plant-based pectin.
The multivitamin consists of natural fruit flavors and tastes delicious. It is free of peanuts, eggs, and dairy. The gummies are gluten-free and don’t contain any drugs or alcohol.
- Contains dark honey
- Plant-based pectin
- No high-fructose corn syrup
- Natural fruit flavor
Summary: The honey base in Zarbee’s Natural kids multivitamin is a natural source of vitamins and minerals with an added bonus of healing and antioxidant properties.
What To Look For in a Multivitamin for Kids
So, what do we need to look for in a multivitamin for children? There are so many out there and they all profess to be “full of vitamins”, but you wonder, “How much is too much?” or “Are those enough?”. Also, there are a few ingredients that one can do without in your child’s multivitamin.
Let’s tackle these points.
Amount: When choosing a supplement, you must make sure that it includes all of the vitamins and minerals that they need. The daily value of each ingredient shouldn’t exceed the 100% daily value of most of the vitamins for your child’s age group – primarily Vitamins A, E, and K (6).
Exceptions may be Vit C and Vit B group since the excess will be removed by the body.
Although fat-soluble, Vit D is also an exception since most are usually slightly deficient and can only be toxic if consumed in excessively high amounts (which is highly unlikely in a supplement).
Certifications: Supplements produced in facilities that are USDA Organic Certified or cGMP Certified ensures that the products are quality-assured. It is prudent to look for certifications similar to these when choosing a good supplement.
Special Additions: Substances like Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, calcium, probiotics all have added advantages. Some supplements add them for special cases and can be considered for your child based on his/her needs.
Aspartame and Sucralose are sweeteners used in diet soft drinks and are artificial that one can do without. Sorbitol and Mannitol are sugar alcohol that is shown to cause digestive disturbances too, like diarrhea (9).
Mono- and diglycerides, used as emulsifiers to keep the fat and oil from separating, are usually seen in processed foods, so aren’t healthy.
Summary: The multivitamins we choose need to have all the nutrients in the correct amounts without artificial sweeteners and flavoring.
Side Effects and Precautions
Children who are already having healthy diets usually get the required amount of nutrients. They do not need to supplement their diets with multivitamins. Supplement with multivitamins only if required.
As in all things, moderation is key. It is very easy for kids to overeat multivitamins, especially when they come in tasty gummy forms (12). So, it is important to keep these supplements out of the reach of children.
Vitamins in excess can be toxic to the young body. It has been shown to cause neurotoxicity (13). Excess dosing of multivitamins for infants is a potential risk for developing metabolic disorders (14).
Some children may experience:
- Upset stomach
But the reactions are mostly temporary. Serious allergic reactions are usually rare, but if you notice rashes or swellings persisting or worsening, you must seek medical attention immediately.
Consulting with a doctor or pharmacist and discussing any allergies before taking a supplement will help in deciding on the right supplement for your child.
Supplements containing folic acid should be taken after proper consultation with the doctor for children with pernicious anemia since it can mask the underlying neurological deterioration (15).
Those who suffer from phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder must stay away from multivitamins that contain aspartame (16).
Summary: Excessive multivitamin intake can cause toxicity, so it’s very important to speak to your child’s pediatrician before starting them on multivitamin supplements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do children need multivitamins?
The truth is, not all children need multivitamin supplements especially those who are eating a well-balanced diet. Yet, there are situations where it will be necessary to look into supplementing as many kids are picky eaters. Also, certain medical conditions could restrict their diets.
The sensible thing to do is to understand which nutrient(s) your child is missing, and choose the supplement that best fits his needs.
Also, it’s prudent to re-evaluate their vitamin regimen regularly, since as your child grows, eating habits keep evolving.
Do kids need multivitamins with potassium?
The recommended intake of potassium for a toddler is around 3000mg per day. Potassium is very important in balancing the fluids in the body and regulating blood pressure. It is also needed to keep your muscles working right. Deficiency can cause a condition called hypokalemia.
Usually, there are plenty of healthy kid-friendly snacks that provide an adequate amount of potassium to the body like bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc. Most doctors stress getting potassium from the regular diet of the child.
Over-the-counter multivitamin supplements cannot contain more than 100mg of potassium because it can cause serious side effects in children with chronic kidney disease. Unless there are special medical conditions, on the advice of the doctor one can opt for supplements that contain potassium.
When to take multivitamin supplements with probiotics?
Probiotics are supplements that contain living microorganisms, like yogurt with lactobacillus that can change the bacterial balance in the body. This boosts the number of helpful bacteria present to destroy harmful ones and reduce infection.
A meta-analysis conducted in 2019 concluded that probiotics had a moderately protective effect on children taking antibiotics by preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea (17).
There are mixed results regarding the effect of probiotics on allergies. For eg., a 2007 randomized controlled trial showed that although probiotics helped improve allergic rhinitis in children, it didn’t show any effect in asthma due to allergies (18).
Yet, there is sufficient evidence that backs the concept of using probiotics to help treat and prevent allergies and eczema in high-risk children (19).
Can consuming more vitamin C be a problem?
Vitamin C is a very important nutrient needed for maintaining a healthy immune system. It is known to help in wound healing, keeping the bones strong, and helping with brain function (20).
Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it doesn’t get stored in the body. The excess dissolves in the water and gets excreted in the urine.
Sometimes, this can prompt some to go overboard with excessive intake. Over-supplementing with Vit C can cause digestive distress, like diarrhea and nausea (21).
To conclude, although water-soluble vitamins like Vit C are fairly safer than fat-soluble ones, it is better not to exceed the tolerable upper level (22).
The Final Note
Can we do without multivitamin supplements? Well, in an ideal world, where all our little ones eat everything nutritious we give them, or where none of them have issues with certain foods, then no. They can do without.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a reality for most of us. In many cases, those whose children are picky-eaters, find it difficult to ensure their kids are getting all the essential nutrients in their diet. Some of them may not be able to have certain foods, like those following vegan diets or those with certain health conditions.
In such cases, multivitamin supplements are a much more convenient option. They combine all the essential nutrients and minerals and cater to some specific needs as well.
The key lies in choosing the right multivitamin for the kids. That which contains what they require in the right quantities, without unnecessary additives. We hope this list which we’ve chosen keeping this in mind, helps you make that choice.
As always, we urge you to consult with your child’s doctor before settling on a supplement that fulfills your child’s medical needs.