The Best Children’s Vitamins, According to a Pediatric Dietitian

Our top pick is SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Multivitamin

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SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin

Verywell Family / Peter Ardito

As children grow, it's important for them to receive the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health and development. The good news is, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a vitamin or mineral supplement is not usually necessary for healthy children who consume a well-balanced diet. However, for some children, a multivitamin supplement can help fill the gaps and give you better peace of mind.

"I always prefer a child to get their nutrition through whole foods, fruits, and vegetables,” says Muhammad Khan, MD, MPH, a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. “However, I know there are instances where supplementation is necessary.” Such instances include: extremely picky eaters, children who are not growing well, children who follow strict vegan diets, or children who have dietary restrictions due to allergies.

If your child falls into any of the above categories, a multivitamin may help fill nutritional gaps and ensure they are meeting their nutrition needs. When looking to find the best supplement for your child and family, there are several things to consider, including quality and safety, ingredients, key nutrients, and dosing.

Verywell Family Approved Children's Vitamins

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Best Childrens Vitamins

Madelyn Goodnight / Verywell

Who May or May Not Benefit from a Multivitamin

Before you add a multivitamin to your child’s daily routine, be sure to get the OK from a healthcare provider. Megadoses of specific vitamins can be harmful—this is why it is critical to ensure the one you choose is formulated for kids and dosed appropriately. 

According to the National Center of Health Statistics at the CDC, approximately one-third of children in the United States are consuming vitamin and mineral supplements, most often in the form of a multivitamin. These supplements can help fill nutrition gaps for children that need them most, but they also have the potential to lead to overconsumption of certain nutrients. It is important to remember that children receiving a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet usually do not need additional vitamin supplementation.

Children with limited diets: Children who follow restrictive diets to manage health conditions or for ethical reasons and children who tend to be very selective with what they are comfortable eating are at a much higher risk for missing out on key nutrients to support growth and development. These children may benefit from multivitamin supplements.

Individual nutrient supplementation: Some children may not need a multivitamin and may instead benefit from individual vitamin supplements. For example, children who do not consume four 8-ounce servings of vitamin D fortified milk or fortified dairy alternatives may need to supplement with vitamin D. Additionally, children who follow well-balanced vegan diets will, at minimum, need to supplement with vitamin B12 but may not need a full multivitamin.

Best Overall: SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin

SmartyPants Kids Complete Daily Gummy Vitamins

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • ConsumerLab approved and NSF certified

  • Contains 15 key nutrients 

  • Free of major allergens

Cons
  • Contains 5 grams of added sugar

Who else recommends it? Forbes and Healthline both picked the SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin.

What do buyers say? 89% of 69,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Multivitamin is a tasty, gummy multivitamin that is both NSF certified and ConsumerLab approved, making it a trusted choice. It contains 15 essential nutrients, including vitamin D3 and K for bone health and B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and choline for cognitive development. While SmartyPants Multivitamins do contain 5 grams of added sugar per serving, many parents and healthcare providers prefer the organic cane sugar in SmartyPants to artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

For children with allergies, these are a great option as they are free from milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, gluten, and wheat. In addition, they are also free of synthetic colors and flavors. 

Like most multivitamins, these do not contain iron or calcium, so you will need to ensure your child is receiving adequate iron and calcium for their age. Designed for children ages 4 and older, the recommended dose is four gummies per day.

Quantity: 120 count | Daily Dosage: 4 gummies | Type: Gummy | Age Rec: 4 years old and up

Best Subscription: Ritual Essential for Kids Multivitamin 4+

Ritual Essential for Kids

 Courtesy of Ritual.c.om

Pros
  • Contains 3 grams of fiber

  • No added sugar

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Contains alternative sweetener

If you're looking for a great multivitamin for kids that shows up on your doorstep when you need it to, Ritual's Essential for Kids 4+ is an excellent option. The subscription-based gummy multivitamin is formulated with key nutrients to help fill nutrition gaps in order to support growth and development.

Ritual has covered their bases with zinc, vitamin D3, and vitamin C for immune support; choline and omega-3 fatty acids for brain health; vitamins D and K for growing bones, and a fiber/prebiotic blend. They did, however, leave out iron and calcium, so take note if your child needs to supplement these minerals.

If you are concerned about your child's sugar intake, these sugar-free gummies are sweetened with monk fruit, a naturally-derived sweetener that's less sweet than other alternative sweeteners. However, monk fruit has a distinct flavor and may not be as palatable for some children.

Suitable for kids ages 4 and up, the gummies are non-GMO, free of artificial colorants, synthetic fillers, and third-party tested for heavy metals, microbes, allergens, and other contaminants.

Quantity: 90 count | Daily Dosage: 3 gummies | Type: Gummy | Age Rec: 4 years old and up

Best Organic: Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin

Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Contains 13 key nutrients

  • No added sugar

  • Plant-based & free of major allergens

Cons
  • More expensive

For a fruit and vegetable-derived, vegan-friendly gummy, look no further. Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin is certified Organic and made from whole fruits and vegetables: spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, apples, strawberries, sunflower seeds, shiitake mushrooms, to name a few—all grown right here in the United States. 

Free of added sugars, sweeteners, and major allergens, Llama Naturals provides 13 key nutrients hitting on major players, including Vitamins D3, K, and B12. If you or your child is practicing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, be sure to assess total iron and calcium intake to ensure your child is meeting their needs, as neither is included in this multivitamin. 

Designed for children ages 4 and older, the recommended dose is two gummies per day. All products are third-party tested for a variety of factors such as vitamin levels, heavy metal content, yeast, mold, and other microbes.

Quantity: 60 count | Daily Dosage: 2 gummies | Type: Gummy | Age Rec: 4 years old and up

Best for Picky Eaters: Renzo’s Picky Eater Multi with Iron at Amazon

Renzo’s Picky Eater Multi with Iron at Amazon

Source: Renzo’s

Pros
  • Contains 18 key nutrients

  • Includes iron

  • Dissolvable tabs easier to eat

Cons
  • Contains sugar alcohols

  • More expensive

If your child struggles to eat gummies and prefers a dissolvable tablet instead, we recommend Renzo's Multi with Iron. Renzo's includes 18 key nutrients, including iron, zinc, iodine, vitamins A, C, D3, and K, to name a few. As one of the few supplements containing iron, this can be a great option for those kiddos that lean towards a meat-free lifestyle. Like the other options, this pick also leaves out calcium. Renzo's assures consumers that all of their products are third party tested.

While the product is sugar-free, it does contain sugar alcohols xylitol and mannitol, which may cause stomach upset, especially when consumed in large amounts. It is also sweetened with monk fruit, a high intensity sugar-free sweetener with a distinct flavor.

Designed for children ages 4 and older, the recommended dose is two tablets per day.

Quantity:  60 count | Daily Dosage: 2 tablets | Type: Chewable Tablet | Age Rec: 4 years old and up

Best Liquid: ChildLife Essentials Children’s Multivitamin & Mineral

ChildLife Essentials Children’s Multivitamin & Mineral

Source: ChildLife Essentials

Pros
  • Contains 16 key nutrients

  • Gluten-free and non-GMO

  • Adjustable dosing

Cons
  • Not third-party tested

  • Contains 5 grams of added sugar

  • More expensive

If a gummy or tablet is just not going to do it for your child, ChildLife Essentials Multivitamin is our top pick for a liquid multivitamin. You can serve it by syringe, spoon, or even add it to your child’s beverage or yogurt. With 16 vitamins and minerals, ChildLife can be given to babies as young as 6 months and kids as old as 12 years (with a pediatrician recommendation, of course).

It may be helpful to note that this product contains five grams of added sugar (in the form of fructose) per two teaspoon serving. While no iron is included, it does contain a very small amount of calcium (55 milligrams).

This product is certified gluten-free by NSF and developed by a pediatrician. However, it is not third party certified to ensure it contains what it says it contains. While the liquid form does allow for earlier introduction if necessary, we encourage you to speak with a healthcare provider to ensure need and accurate dosing before starting.

The recommended dose is 1 teaspoon daily for 6-12 months, 1-2 teaspoons daily for 1-3 years, and 2-3 teaspoons daily for 4 years and up.

Quantity: 8 ounces | Daily Dosage: 1-3 teaspoons depending on age | Type: Liquid | Age Rec: 6 months to 12 years

Final Verdict

For an excellent overall children's multivitamin that’s easy to chew, try SmartyPants Kids Formula (view at Amazon). Though it does contain added sugar, it’s sustainably sourced and free of artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and common allergens. Bonus: It’s available in multiple flavors, so you can mix it up from time to time. 

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. 

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look For

Third-Party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies, it does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer, and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

Form

Vitamin and mineral supplements come in a variety of different forms, including gummies, chewable tablets, liquids, and even powders. Choosing the best form for your child is almost equally as important as choosing the right nutrients and dosing. If your child won’t take it, what's the point? If they don't like food sticking to their teeth or have trouble chewing a gummy, consider finding a supplement that is a liquid or powder instead.

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications your child is taking.

Ideally, a healthcare provider makes a vitamin and mineral supplement recommendation based on a child's individual needs. “I work with families to best understand what their child may be missing in their daily intake and formulate my recommendation based on those findings. Key nutrients in question usually include vitamin D and iron. Sometimes we see a need for vitamin B12 if the child eats little to no meat,” says Olivia Mayer, RD, CSP, IBCLC, a Clinical Dietitian at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

If you do not have specific nutrient recommendations from a healthcare provider, it is important to know what nutrients to look for that might be inadequate in your child's diet. Key nutrients to pay close attention to include: vitamin D3, vitamin A, vitamin C, B-vitamins, vitamin K, zinc, and choline. If your child is following a vegetarian or vegan diet, other nutrients to think about would be  iron, vitamin B12, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Calcium and iron are two minerals that are important for growing bodies. However, they are often left off ingredient lists when children’s multivitamins are formulated. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Calcium is a large mineral, therefore, if included in the multivitamin at the recommended daily amount for children, the multivitamin would be quite large. Calcium also tends to inhibit absorption of other minerals such as iron when packaged together, another reason you are less likely to find calcium included in your child’s multivitamin. Food is the best way to get calcium. To ensure your child is meeting their daily calcium needs, include high calcium foods in your child’s daily intake such as milk, yogurt, cheese, dark green vegetables as well as calcium-fortified fruit juices and dairy alternatives.

Iron deficiency can occur in young children and is something your pediatrician is likely monitoring. Some children’s multivitamins do contain iron, while some do not.  Children need anywhere from 7- 15 milligrams of iron daily to meet their needs, depending on age. Iron is naturally found in many foods and is also added to some fortified foods.

Lean meat, seafood and poultry are your best iron sources. You can also find iron in fortified cereals, beans and leafy green vegetables. If your child were to be consuming iron-rich foods as well as an iron-containing supplement, too much iron can cause constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. Iron supplements are generally only recommended for children not meeting their iron needs by food alone.

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications your child is taking.

You may want to opt for formulas with limited or no added sugars and no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings, or preservatives.

Children's Vitamins Dosage

Consider your child's age when selecting the best supplement for them. Be aware that some products are formulated for toddlers, while others are for older children and teens. Read ingredient labels, and look for products that do not exceed 100% of the daily value of individual vitamins and minerals, as more is not always better. Follow the age guidelines outlined on the product packaging, and speak with a healthcare provider to ensure that the product and dosage are appropriate to meet your child's needs.

How Much is Too Much?

There is no benefit to getting excess amounts of any vitamin or mineral. In fact, in certain situations, it can even be dangerous. Some vitamins, such as the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, may be harmful if they are over-consumed, as these are stored in body tissue. Some minerals, including zinc and iron, can also be harmful in high doses.

A few important takeaways when selecting a supplement is to ensure the product formulation is age-appropriate, that any and all supplements are stored out of reach of children, and that you follow dosing instructions as outlined on the product label. Be sure that children do not view gummy vitamins as candy which may cause them to consume more than the recommended amount.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can adults take children's vitamins?

    Adults may take a child’s multivitamin; however, the specific vitamin and mineral amounts may be insufficient to the needs of an adult. Be sure to check the nutrient doses on the vitamins and be sure they are adequate, adjust your dose accordingly, or add specific supplements as needed to meet your needs.

  • Can children's multivitamins cause constipation?

    Similar to taking any new medication or supplement, certain side effects are possible. Side effects that have been associated with vitamin and mineral supplements include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or upset stomach. If your child becomes constipated after starting a multivitamin, it is likely due to the calcium and/or iron included. Be sure to speak with a healthcare provider to determine if there are dietary or other changes you can implement to ease the problem, such as increasing fiber, fluids, or adjusting your multivitamin of choice.

  • What age should children start taking a multivitamin?

    Multivitamins should not be your child’s primary source of nutrition. As very few people (adults or children) eat foods with all necessary nutrients each day every day, a multivitamin can be a good option to fill in the nutritional gaps their diet may be missing. 

    Experts recommend waiting until your child is 4 years old to start giving a multivitamin supplement. If a healthcare provider recommends a multivitamin due to picky eating, growth concerns, or dietary guidance, be sure to choose one that is designed for your child's age group and does not provide more than 100% of the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals. In addition, keep multivitamins out of your child's reach, and make it clear that they are not candy.

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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