How To Safely Give Vitamins To Your Children
Getting all your essential vitamins and nutrients is vital at any age, but for growing children, it’s even more important for their overall development. Typically, the best way for children to get all their nutrients is through a balanced diet, but certain things can make that difficult for parents to accomplish. From picky eaters to time constraints, making sure your children get everything they need can be an arduous task. That's where supplementation comes in. Read on to learn all you need to know about how to safely give vitamins to your children.
Are vitamins safe for children?
Vitamins are safe for children, but you have to know what you’re looking for and what is most important when choosing which supplements to give to your child. There are several factors you should consider when choosing the safest and best vitamins. The first factor is quality and safety. When picking a vitamin, you’ll want to go for those whose ingredients that are of the highest quality and are safe to give to your children. Vitamins that are free of any fillers, artificial flavors, food dyes, and preservatives, for example, are better choices for your children.
You will also need to consider the dosage. Throughout people’s lives, they need different amounts of different nutrients. For example, a young child will not need the same amount of calcium as someone who is well into adulthood. There are vitamins specifically formulated for both children and infants that contain the proper dosages they need.
Choosing a well-known brand of vitamins also goes a long way, because you know that their products have been thoroughly tested and are safely used by many other people for their children.
When should I start giving my child vitamins?
There is no set-in-stone age that is appropriate for giving your children vitamins. It should be considered on a case-by-case basis, even if you have more than one child. For example, some children may not eat any vegetables even if their lives depended on it, while others will eat broccoli like it’s candy.
Another thing to consider is the health of your child. Perhaps your kid has a restrictive diet for health reasons and cannot consume certain foods, or maybe they have a condition that causes them to not be able to adequately absorb the nutrients they need.
Infants who are breastfed may be deficient in vitamin D, and could require supplementation. Babies born early may also need a multivitamin to ensure they’re getting everything they need.
There are so many personal factors that need to be taken into consideration to decide at what age you should give your child vitamins. Prior to doing so, you should always talk to your health care provider about your child’s overall health, diet, and any other concerns you may have. They will help you decide if your child could benefit from supplementation.
What are the benefits of vitamins for kids?
There are many benefits of giving your children vitamins – but only if they need them. Their growth and development is a big reason why you could be considering giving your children vitamins. For example, children need adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D as their bones grow. If they do not get enough, this could lead to bone problems later on in life, or they may even develop a disorder known as rickets that causes bone pain and soft, weak bones that become deformed.
During early life, brain development is also crucial. After all, the way your child’s brain develops will carry them through everything they do. Several different nutrients and vitamins are important for brain development in early life, including iron, zinc, iodine, choline, and vitamins A, B6, and B12. Without adequate levels of these nutrients, the way your child’s brain develops could be hindered, which will affect them for the rest of their life.
How do I give my child vitamins?
The first step in giving vitamins to your child is knowing exactly what they need and how much of it they need. Since this varies so significantly from child to child, it can be hard to figure out without going to a doctor. Some children are also more at risk for vitamin deficiencies than others, so as mentioned above, certain health conditions of lifestyle factors should be taken into consideration.
It’s particularly important to see your doctor about giving your child vitamins if:
- They follow a vegan or vegetarian diet
- They have a health disorder that causes malabsorption of nutrients such as celiac disease, cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease
- They have undergone a surgery that affects their stomach or intestines
- They struggle eating a variety of foods and are extremely picky
Once you do get the go-ahead from your doctor and are ready to give your child vitamins, there are other things you need to make sure of. They include:
- Making sure that your child understands what vitamins are: Often, children’s vitamins come in fun shapes and flavors to make it easier for your child to take them. But this may lead to them confusing supplements with candy. You need to ensure your child understands that they can’t consume vitamins like candy, as vitamin overdose can be toxic to a child.
- Look for proper daily values: A lot of vitamins will offer daily values of over 100%, and while that may seem good, more is not always better. Make sure the vitamins you choose have proper daily values for your child. They will still be eating food throughout their day, so that needs to be taken into account also. You don’t want to be giving them too much of the same vitamin.
- Low or no sugar is best: Sugar is not good for anyone, so ensuring sugar content in your chosen vitamins is low is the best way to ensure that you’re not giving them any more sugar than they’re already having in their regular diet.
- Keep vitamins out of reach at all times: As mentioned above, vitamins can be toxic to a child when taken in large amounts. They should always be kept out of reach of your children and you should always supervise your child when giving them vitamins.
Not all children need vitamins, but if yours does, it’s best to visit with your doctor prior to starting any new supplement routine. This way you’ll be able to give your child the right vitamins for their overall health and development.