Kids and Multivitamins

Q: Should my child take a daily multivitamin?

A: Depending on children’s  nutritional habits, multivitamins can be a great addition to their diets. There are some general guidelines:

Newborns/infants: If exclusively breastfed, children need a liquid multivitamin containing iron and vitamin D. Formula-fed children do not need a supplement since formula is nutritionally fortified.

Toddlers through school-age children: Picky eaters or kids who don’t eat well (or often) should take a children’s multivitamin; toddlers may also take a supplement like PediaSure to get necessary carbohydrates and protein. Children who eat a balanced diet should get sufficient vitamins through their food and therefore don’t need a supplement. However, adding a daily children’s multivitamin is not harmful.

Adolescents and teens up to age 18: Menstruating females (typically starting between ages 8 and 13) need additional iron, calcium and folic acid, so a once-a-day woman’s multivitamin in addition to a calcium supplement is advised. Adolescent boys, starting at puberty around age 11 or 12, should take a men’s multivitamin, especially if they play sports.

Farah Rehman Lokey, M.D., is a Banner-affiliated pediatrician in Gilbert. For more information on this topic, contact Dr. Lokey’s office at 480-857-6316.