Whether or not your child should take a vitamin is going to depend on who you talk to. Experts agree that primary growth occurs in children up to age 10 so proper nutrition is a must. Whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains are an easy way for your child to access vitamins and minerals.
Dietitian Jane Blosser says, "If the child is eating a good variety and eating a lot of vitamins and minerals, especially fresh fruits and vegetables and at least five servings a day, then we really don't push vitamins."
But vitamin supplements continue to fly off store shelves for a variety of reasons. Mostly because parents want to make sure their children are on a healthy track.
Ralph Magri is the owner of Kate's Natural Products. He says, "As difficult as it is for adults to get 5 helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables, most of us do not, therefore supplementation is an advantage to your health." Magri has been selling vitamins to the public for years. While your child wants the best tasting vitamins, he says you need to watch out for extra additives that you don't want. Magri continues, "If you look at your multiple vitamins and you see the additives are there then you'll want to stay away from the aspartame which in an artificial sweetener. You'll also want to stay away from food dyes and coloring because many children have sensitivities or allergies to those products."
Dietitians say vitamins are not harmful when taken in proper doses, but only advocate them in certain situations. Blosser says, "When we look at vitamins for pediatrics is when they're going on food jags." You're child is experiencing a "food jag" when they have the desire to eat only one food or one type of food.
Blosser says "jags" usually don't last long, but during that time a vitamin may be needed to get your child proper nutrition. She says, "As long as they're doing a single dose it's not harmful. Anything above and beyond the dose recommended for that age group it could be." Blosser also urges parents to look at the weight limitations on vitamins labels. She says it's just as important as looking at the age restrictions.