Generally, a varied and balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein should meet all the vitamin needs of most children. Canada’s Food Guide, available online, is a thorough reference tool that will help you opt for good dietary habits for your family.
Therefore, most children don’t need to take a vitamin and mineral supplement. However, it may be necessary for some children, who, for example, present certain particularities, growth-related or specific health problems, to take one. This list includes children who:
- have significant food allergies or intolerances
- have food restrictions
- eat very little or have a very unbalanced diet
Remember that food contains other important nutrients that vitamin supplements don’t offer, such as fibre, carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids. Cultivate the joys of eating well because a healthy and varied diet cannot be replaced by supplements!
Avoid giving your child vitamin supplements without first talking to a healthcare professional, such as a doctor. Intoxication risks exist and cases of overdose toxicity (hypervitaminosis) are possible. Make sure your child never exceeds the recommended daily dose.
Your pharmacist can provide information regarding the choice of a vitamin and mineral supplement and the appropriate dosage for your child. Several commercial formulations exist: chewable tablets, gummies, liquid form, etc. If your child has to take them, keep the product out of their sight and out of their reach, as some formulations are very appealing to children and this increases the risk of overdose.