The 5 Best Iron Supplements for Kids of 2023, According to a Dietitian

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Best Iron Supplements for Kids of 2023

Verywell Family / Brian Kopinski

Iron is an important mineral that plays a major role in kids' health and development. It is especially important for children under the age of 5, because iron serves as a vital building block that impacts how their bodies grow. Despite that, iron-deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in this age group. Not having enough iron can negatively impact brain development, lead to poor school performance and suboptimal growth.

All children need iron, but all children do not need iron supplementation. “As long as the child or infant is receiving high bioavailable forms of iron in their diet regularly, be it animal or fortified food products, a deficiency may be rare,” says pediatric dietitian Christy Gardner, MS, RD. If iron supplementation is not needed, it is still important to consume iron from a well-balanced diet. Good food sources of iron include lean meats, seafood, poultry, fortified grains, nuts, and legumes. 

If your child is iron deficient and a healthcare professional has recommended an iron supplement, there are things to consider when selecting an over-the-counter product. Iron supplements must be age appropriate. You don’t want an infant or toddler taking an adult’s dose of iron. For additional peace of mind, try to select brands that have been third-party tested. Our pediatric dietitian has taken these considerations in mind to recommend the best iron supplements for kids.

Iron supplements are not beneficial for kids who have normal blood iron levels, eat a diet with foods high in iron or infants on iron-fortified formula. 

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 to find out what dosage to take.

Best Overall

Renzo's Iron Supplements for Kids

Renzo's Iron Supplements for Kids


  • Great orange taste

  • Vegan, free of the top allergens, no artificial colors or flavors

  • Vitamin C added for better iron absorption

  • Third-party tested

  • Not for children under 2 years

Renzo’s Iron Supplements for Kids is our best overall pick because this tablet uses minimal ingredients, and it uses iron carbonyl as the source of iron. This form of iron is considered a safer form of iron that may reduce risk of gastrointestinal upset from an iron supplement. Each tablet provides 9 milligrams (mg)—129 percent Daily Value for 2-3-year-olds and 100 percent Daily Value for kids over 4.

We also like that each tablet also has 25 milligrams of vitamin C added, as vitamin C can help increase iron absorption.

If you want a supplement that is sugar-free, you will appreciate Renzo’s use of mannitol and monk fruit instead of added sugar. This citrus-flavored tablet dissolves in your child’s mouth and is a great option if you don’t want liquid or gummy iron supplements. It can also be dissolved in orange juice.

While not certified by one of our top three third-party testing organizations, Renzo’s states on the label they do third-party testing on their products. They also offer a picky eater money-back guarantee, so, if for some reason your child doesn’t like it, you can get your money back. This product can suit a variety of dietary needs, as it is free of common food allergens, artificial flavors, colors, and is vegan.

Price at time of publication: $20 ($0.22 per tablet)

Key Specs:
Meltable Tablets | Type: Carbonyl Iron | Dose: 9 mg | Recommended Use: 2-3 years of age 1 tablet, 4 years and up 2 tablets | Third-Party Certified: Yes | Servings Per Container: Varies between 40 and 90 | Age Rec: 2 years and up

Best Liquid

NovaFerrum Liquid Iron Pediatric Drops

NovaFerrum Liquid Iron Pediatric Drops


  • Gentle on little tummies

  • Free of gluten, sugar, and artificial coloring

  • Third-party tested

  • Clinically researched ingredients

  • Rinse after use to avoid staining teeth

If you are looking for a liquid iron supplement for kids, we recommend NovaFerrum Liquid Iron Pediatric Drops. This is an especially good choice for younger children, as it is designed for infants and children under 4 years of age. Each one milliliter (mL) serving provides 15mg of iron—136 percent Daily Value of iron for infants and 214 percent Daily Value of iron for kids under 4 years.

Each batch is third-party tested with a certificate of analysis for contaminants, heavy metals, and iron amount. This iron supplement uses a polysaccharide-iron complex as their source of iron which has been demonstrated to be safe, well tolerated, and effective. This form of iron may be more gentle on small stomachs and taste better than other iron supplements.

Besides being free of sugar and artificial coloring, this product is vegan, certified gluten-free, kosher, and halal. This liquid can be taken as is or added to any other desired liquid. It comes in raspberry grape and chocolate flavors.

Note it is recommended to rinse a child’s mouth after taking this liquid supplement and regularly brushing teeth to minimize risk of staining teeth from this supplement.

Price at time of publication: $26.00 ($0.22 per serving)

Key Specs:
Liquid | Type: Polysaccharide-Iron Complex | Dose: 1 mL | Recommended Use: 1mL dropper daily | Third-Party Certified: Yes | Servings Per Container: 120 | Age Rec: Infants and children under 4

Best for 4+ Years

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Iron

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Iron

Mary Ruth’s

  • Uses chelated form of iron

  • Great berry taste

  • Vegan

  • Third-party tested

  • Smaller amount of iron per serving

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Iron is one of our picks because they use a form of iron—Ferrochel— that is easier to digest. Ferrochel is a trademarked iron product made of ferrous bisglycinate chelate. Because of the chelation, the iron is easier to digest making it less likely to cause an upset tummy. This supplement can be taken with food, a drink, or on an empty stomach.

Ferrochel is a type of iron that is more bioavailable which may help increase iron levels in kids faster than other types of iron. Ferrochel has been shown to safely and effectively increase iron stores in children. A teaspoon serving provides 6 mg of iron—33 percent Daily Value for kids 4-13 years old. Note a healthcare professional may recommend more than a serving per day, depending on your child’s needs.

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Iron is non-GMO, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. They also do third-party testing for contaminants and ingredient amounts for every lot of this product.

Price at time of publication: $32 ($0.36 per teaspoon serving)

Key Specs:
Ferrous bisglycinate chelate | Type: Liquid | Dose: 1 teaspoon | Recommended Use: 1 teaspoon or more as directed from healthcare professional | Third-Party Certified: Yes | Servings Per Container: Varies, 90 teaspoon servings | Age Rec: 4 years and up

Best Organic

Wellements Organic Iron Drops

Wellements Organic Iron Drops


  • Can be used for children as young as 4 months

  • Certified USDA Organic

  • Free of common food allergens

  • Third-party tested

  • Must be refrigerated after opening

Wellements is our top certified-organic pick for an iron supplement for kids. We like that their ingredient list is minimal and has no preservatives, dyes, colors, artificial flavors, and is free of common food allergens. That being said, it’s important to note this product must be refrigerated after opening and only lasts three months after it’s opened. 

This iron supplement is best used for infants 4 months to 3 years old. This supplement uses a polysaccharide iron complex, and each milliliter (mL) serving provides 10 mg of iron—91 percent Daily Value for infants 4-12 months and 143 percent Daily Value for children 1-3 years old. Keep in mind, like other liquid iron supplements, if it doesn’t reach your child’s mouth, it can stain clothing.

Although the title says drop, note this product comes with a syringe with the mL markings on it, not a dropper. The instructions say to use the syringe to drop the product into the child’s mouth. However, they recommend washing and drying the syringe with each use as bacterial growth becomes a possibility after making contact with the mouth. 

Lastly, we appreciate that Wellement products are third-party tested for purity, potency and contamination.

Price at time of publication: $13 ($0.43 per serving)

Key Specs:
Polysaccharide Iron Complex | Type: Liquid | Dose: 1 mL | Recommended Use: 1 mL per day | Third-Party Certified: Yes | Servings Per Container: 30 | Age Rec: 4 months and up

Best Gummy

Lifeable Iron and Vitamin C Gummies for Kids

Lifeable Iron and Vitamin C Gummies for Kids


  • Delicious flavor

  • Vitamin C added for increased iron absorption

  • Free of common food allergens

  • Vegan

  • Must store carefully, can be confused with candy

  • Form of iron has lower absorption

If you are looking for a gummy supplement for iron, we recommend Lifeable Iron with Vitamin C. This grape-flavored iron supplement has iron in the ferric saccharate form which can have a lower absorption compared to other forms of iron. Each two gummy serving provides 10 mg of iron—143 percent Daily Value for kids 2-3 years and 56 percent Daily Value for kids over 4 years. Note each serving also provides three grams of added sugar.

We like that this supplement has vitamin C added, as vitamin C helps create a more acidic environment in the stomach. This increased acidity is thought to increase the absorption of iron. Lifeable recommends taking this supplement in the morning, on an empty stomach, and with some water.

Lifeable states they do independent third-party testing on their products, but the details for testing are unclear. These gummies are vegan and certified kosher and halal, as they use pectin instead of gelatin. This gives it a unique, softer texture compared to regular gummies. The manufacturer uses a child-proof cap which is important as these delicious vitamins can be confused for candy. It's important to store these out of a child's reach.

Price at time of publication: $20 ($0.44 per serving)

Key Specs:
Gummy | Type: Ferric saccharate | Dose: 2 gummies | Recommended Use: 2 per day | Third-Party Certified: Independent testing stated | Servings Per Container: 45 | Age Rec: 2 years and up

Is an Iron Supplement Beneficial for Kids?

Iron supplements aren’t necessary for all kids. “Too much of anything in life, including iron, can be a bad thing and toxic,” says Gardner. Allow a healthcare professional to help determine if iron supplementation is needed and if so, how much and how long.

These are the kids that could best benefit from an iron supplement recommendation.

  • Kids with iron deficiency. Iron supplementation is beneficial for correcting an iron deficiency. It’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before trying to supplement iron, especially if your child has a specific medical condition. 
  • Toddlers who drink excessive milk. Getting too much milk, especially in place of iron rich foods, can increase the risk of iron deficiency. If your toddler is consuming more than 24 ounces of dairy per day, the excess calcium can begin to block the absorption of iron. In that case, it becomes more urgent to begin cutting back to the recommended serving size of milk for a toddler. Cutting back on the dairy helps make sure the iron supplement can get absorbed as much as possible.
  • Exclusively breast-fed infants. Full-term infants are typically born with built-in iron stores lasting approximately four to six months. Exclusively breastfed infants may benefit from iron supplementation starting around 4 months of age if they were born full-term. Exclusively breastfed infants who were born premature may require iron supplementation earlier. 
  • Kids who don’t get enough iron in their diet. Eating a diet low in iron can increase the risk of iron deficiency. In this instance, a healthcare professional may recommend an iron supplement with the appropriate dosage for your child’s needs. A child who is vegan or vegetarian or who only eats a limited number of foods may be at a higher risk for iron deficiency if they don’t eat foods high in iron.
  • Teens with heavy periods. Heavy blood loss can increase risk for iron deficiency. Teens with heavy periods are at a higher risk for iron deficiency and may benefit from an iron supplement.

Children Who May Not Benefit From Iron Supplements

“Before you go running to the store to supplement your kiddo with iron, consult with your doctor and ideally get a hemoglobin and hematocrit blood test to help guide any supplementation, if necessary,” says Gardner. 

In fact, regularly taking an iron supplement when it is not needed can result in iron overload. Iron overload can cause pain in the joints, abdominal discomfort, and heart problems. Fortunately, iron overload can be avoided by not taking extra iron if your body doesn’t need it. A healthcare professional can help determine if an iron supplement is best for a child’s needs.

The following may not benefit from an iron supplement:

  • Kids who have normal blood iron levels. If blood work shows iron levels are within normal limits, they likely will not benefit from an iron supplement and may risk getting too much iron.
  • Kids who eat a diet with foods high in iron. If a child eats a variety of foods that includes foods high in iron, they will likely not benefit from or need an iron supplement.
  • Infants on iron-fortified formula. If an infant is not exclusively breastfed, they may not need an iron supplement depending if the formula used has iron added to it.

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 

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 in Iron Supplements for Kids

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:

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • The third party certifications we can trust are:, 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. 
  • Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  • 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.


There are many different forms of iron, and ferrous sulfate, gluconate, are commonly used in iron supplements. These forms of iron may cause some stomach discomfort for some.

The iron types mentioned in this article are carbonyl iron, polysaccharide iron complex, ferrous bisglycinate chelate, and ferric saccharate. Carbonyl, polysaccharide complex, and chelated forms of iron are considered to be easier to digest with lower risk of stomach issues.

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.

While more common in adults, some medications used for Parkinson’s, restless leg syndrome, hypothyroidism, or proton pump inhibitors for heartburn may interact with iron supplements. 

Iron Dosage

The following are the recommended daily amount of iron for infants and children: 

  • Birth to 6 months: 0.27 mg
  • Infants 7-12 months: 11 mg
  • Children 1-3 years: 7 mg
  • Children 4-8 years: 10 mg
  • Children 9-13 years: 8 mg
  • Teen boys 14-18 years: 11 mg
  • Teen girls 14-18 years: 15 mg

How Much is Too Much?

Children taking iron supplements when it is not needed may encounter excessively high blood levels of iron which could cause digestive discomfort. At extremely high doses, which could be from accidental overdose in children, too much iron could cause serious side effects such as organ failure, coma, or even death. This is why it's important to store iron supplements out of a child's reach.

The upper limit (UL) for iron for infants and children up to 13 years of age is 40 mg per day—combined from food and supplements. The UL for iron for teens 14-18 years old is 45 mg per day.

Note a healthcare professional may prescribe an iron supplement dose higher than this amount in cases of iron deficiency to bring iron levels back to a healthy range. However, unless otherwise directed, it is best for children’s iron intake to stay below the UL of 40 mg per day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should kids take iron supplements?

    A healthcare professional can ultimately help decide if a child needs an iron supplement based on individual health needs and blood work results. Children who are iron deficient, infants who are exclusively breastfeeding, and teenage girls who have heavy periods are among those who may benefit most from an iron supplement.

  • What type of iron supplement is best for kids?

    Every child is different and may need to try more than one type of iron to find the best form of iron supplement, and a healthcare professional can help determine what type is best for a child’s needs. Some kids’ stomachs may be more sensitive to ferrous or ferric gluconate, citrate, or sulfate forms. Chelated, carbonyl, or polysaccharide forms may be better tolerated.

    Additionally, it may take some trial to determine if a chewable, liquid, or meltable tablet would work best for your child based on taste and texture preferences.

  • How do I know if my child is deficient in iron?

    “Some signs of low iron would be fatigue and extreme weakness, brittle nails, cold hands and feet and in severe cases may cause fast heartbeat, dizziness and headache” says pediatric dietitian Maria Grijalva, RD, LDN, CNSC, CLC. Children who are iron deficient may also have learning difficulties.

    The best way to know if your child is deficient in iron is to take them to a healthcare professional to get a blood test to diagnose iron-deficiency.

  • How can I raise my child’s iron levels?

    If your child has iron-deficiency and a healthcare professional recommends supplementation, it is best to take iron supplements on an empty stomach. It can also be helpful to take it with something rich in vitamin C like orange juice to maximize iron absorption. Avoid taking iron supplements at the same time as calcium-rich foods such as milk or calcium supplements.

    Whether an iron supplement is recommended or not, eating a diet rich in iron can also help raise a child's iron levels.

  • How long should a child take iron supplements?

    How long a child needs to take an iron supplement will depend on how depleted the child is. The more iron deficient, the longer an iron supplement may be needed. Other medical factors may impact the length recommended for a child to take an iron supplement. A healthcare provider can monitor blood work and any iron deficiency symptoms for the best dosage and length of supplementation needed.

  • What blocks the absorption of iron?

    “Calcium might block the absorption of iron. Therefore, it is important to avoid giving your iron supplementation with foods that contain calcium such as milk or yogurt,” says Grijalva. This can ensure your child is absorbing as much iron from a supplement as possible.

11 Sources
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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