Vitamins and supplements help fill the gaps of a diet that might not include all of the nutrients a body needs. They also help provide extra nutrients for unusual circumstances such as pregnancy or severe food allergies. However, vitamins are made differently for children then they are for adults. When choosing a vitamin for you or for your child, you need to be aware of the differences.
Children’s and adult’s vitamins and multivitamins vary according to the amount of each vitamin and mineral they contain. According to HealthyChildren.org, taking too much of some types of vitamins can be toxic for children, so some children’s multivitamins might leave out minerals that could be deadly in the case of accidental overdose such as iron. Because the recommended amount of several vitamins vary according to the user’s needs, adult’s vitamins are often designed for particular demographics such as men, women and pregnant and breastfeeding women, while children’s vitamins are more often designed for age ranges.
It can be difficult for a child to swallow a large vitamin or multivitamin, so children’s supplements often come in more appealing and easier to consume forms such as chewy gelatin, flavored liquids and flavored chewable tablets. Some children’s vitamins feature popular characters, too. While adult vitamins can be made in the same forms, they are more more likely to be found in basic pill form.
According to Dr. Jay L. Hoecker, writing at MayoClinic.com, food is the best source of nutrients for your child, and many children do not need vitamin supplements like adults might -- as long as they are growing normally. However, vitamins can be good for kids in cases of food allergies, failure to thrive, or a restrictive diet, such as vegetarian or vegan. Adults might need vitamins for similar reasons such as having a restrictive diet or illness, but they are more likely to be used to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis and provide daily energy needs.
If you feel you or your child could benefit from taking a vitamin supplement, talk to a doctor first to find out whether it would be beneficial, and choose one best designed for the appropriate age group and nutritional needs. Keep children’s vitamins stored out of reach to prevent accidental overdose. HealthyChildren.org recommends that you teach your child that the vitamins are medicine and not candy.