Best Vitamins for Kids: Nutrition for Energy, Focus, and Growth

child holding gummy vitamins


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Vitamins for kids—just one more thing that we have to keep track of. Readers, as much as I value good nutrition—both mom and dietitian here—all those fancy vitamins typically just end up holding the shelf down until their expiration date, despite all my positive intentions.

And really, many kids don't actually need to take vitamin supplements, as long as they're consuming enough calories and eating a broad enough variety of foods. However, if your kids have allergies or other food restrictions, are picky eaters, or you struggle to ensure they get enough variety in their diet for any other reason, supplemental vitamins can be a parenting lifesaver.

Here, we've rounded up our top mom-and-kid-approved picks in a variety of categories, so you're sure to find something that works for even your pickiest eater.

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The Best Vitamins for Kids - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Vitamin for Kids - SmartyPants Kid's Formula

SmartyPants Kid's Formula

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 4+
  • Recommended dose: 4 gummies
  • Active ingredients: Vitamin/mineral mix, fish oil, vitamin K2

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My colleagues joke that my answer for everything is "fish oil!" and this gummy has got it. With a foods-first approach, a family would get the essential DHA and EPA with 3 weekly servings of fatty fish. However, many families don't eat fish that often, and since fish oil comes with so many benefits, it's wonderful to see it included in a vitamin for kids.

Smarty Pants is known to be an allergy-friendly company and this product fits right in as it doesn't contain milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, gluten, or wheat. These gummies are naturally flavored and contain no artificial colors or sweeteners, although they are sweetened with natural cane sugar, which some people might not like.

There are abnormally high amounts of vitamin B12—just over double the recommended amount. Since B12 is a nutrient that is commonly found in many different foods in the United States, I do wish there was less in the gummy. But it's not a dealbreaker.

What We Like

  • Omega-3s!
  • Great taste
  • More nutrients than other gummies
  • Third-party tested
  • Allergy-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • High B12 dose
  • Not recommended for kids under 4

BUY: Smarty Pants Kid's Formula

Best Vegan Vitamin for Kids - Ritual Essential for Kids

Ritual Essential for Kids

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 4+
  • Recommended dose: 3 gummies
  • Active ingredients: Vitamin/mineral mix, Omega-3 DH, fiber

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The company states that its multivitamin is formulated with “picky eaters” in mind, but with its transparent labeling and vegan sourcing, it clearly also speaks to parents and guardians with exacting nutritional standards. Ritual Essential for Kids is a very carefully formulated multi-made to high standards–even more so because everything in it comes from vegan sources. The vegan Omega-3 DHA comes from microalgae, for example, while the vitamin D3 comes from lichen.

Don’t expect to see every vitamin and mineral under the sun on the label! Ritual Essential for Kids focuses only on the big essentials: A, C, D3, E, folate, B12, choline, iodine, zinc, K2, plus omega-3 and some fiber. But they take the same careful approach to flavoring, using natural orange flavoring and monk fruit rather than sugar or sugar alcohols. Want to know more about the ingredients? The Essential for Kids product page dives DEEP into sourcing. This company is an open book!

What We Like

  • Includes multivitamin as well as vegan Omega-3 DHA
  • 5g of prebiotic fiber for gut flora and digestive health
  • Flavored with orange oil, not sugar, stevia, or sugar alcohols
  • In-depth explanation of formulation, including “Made Traceable” location of manufacturing, viewable on Ritual website

What We Don't Like

  • Omega-3 dosage on the low end at 50mg
  • "Less is more" approach means some ingredients you might prioritize for your particular child are left off
  • Not recommended for kids under 4

Buy: Ritual Essential for Kids

Best Kids Vitamin for Immune System - Zarbee's Naturals Elderberry Immune Support

Zarbee's Naturals Elderberry Immune Support

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 2+
  • Recommended dose: 2-3 gummies daily
  • Active ingredients: Elderberry extract, vitamins A, C, D, E & zinc

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Zarbee's immune support gummy pulls in some ancient wisdom as well as more modern approaches by using the immune-boosting effects of elderberry as well as the more well-known zinc and vitamin C. When the days begin to get shorter and the flu-shot lines are getting longer, consider adding these to your child's routine for a week, or even for the whole season.

Some reviewers did note that they were too difficult for younger kids to chew. However, older kids report loving these so much, they try to sneak additional doses!

What We Like

  • Great, kid-approved flavor
  • Uses a variety of immune-boosting ingredients
  • No artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup
  • Gluten-free and gelatin-free

What We Don't Like

  • Higher price point
  • Difficult to chew for younger kids

BUY: Zarbee's Naturals Elderberry Immune Support

Best Vitamin for Toddlers - Zarbee's Toddler Vitamins, Complete Multivitamin with Vitamin A, C, D3 & B-Complex

Zarbee's Toddler Vitamins, Complete Multivitamin With Vitamin A, C, D3 & B-Complex

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 2-3 years old
  • Recommended dose: 2 gummies
  • Active ingredients: Multivitamin and mineral

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While many vitamins for kids are recommended for kids over 4, this soft chew is recommended for kids ages 2 to 3. Providing 16 nutrients, Zarbee's includes a lovely 600IU (15mcg) of vitamin D and are 100 percent vegetarian. They are also free of artificial flavors and sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup. They do contain some added sugar, though, so consider giving these to your child in the morning rather than the evening.

What We Like

  • Most kids like the flavor
  • Good amount of vitamin D
  • Vegetarian gummies

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't include folate
  • The B12 is a less desired form

BUY: Zarbee's Toddler Vitamins, Complete Multivitamin with Vitamin A, C, D3 & B-Complex

Best Liquid Vitamin for Kids - ChildLife Multivitamin and Mineral

ChildLife Multivitamin and Mineral

SPECS

  • Type: Liquid
  • Recommended age: 6 months to 12 years
  • Recommended dose: 1 tsp daily (for infants 6 months-1 year); 1-2 tsp daily (for children 1-4); 2-3 tsp (for children 4-12)
  • Active ingredients: Multivitamin and mineral

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ChildLife is a multivitamin and mineral supplement in an orange-mango flavored liquid. It contains 22 nutrients, all at reasonable levels. Unfortunately, the B vitamins are present in their unmethylated forms: folic acid and cyanocobalamin. I do like that it doesn't have iron, since iron can be really binding. So if a child is getting enough in their food (mainly red meat and leafy greens), it's best to leave it out of their multivitamin.

Liquid supplements can be a great option if your child can't have gummy or chewable vitamins, or if they're extra picky and don't like them, since it can be taken on its own or mixed into a drink. Flavor reports are mixed on this one, so adding it to your kid's favorite juice might be the way to go.

What We Like

  • 22 nutrients
  • No iron
  • Gluten-free
  • No artificial flavors or colors

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers didn't like the taste
  • Unmethylated B vitamins

BUY: ChildLife Multivitamin and Mineral

Best Chewable Vitamin for Kids - Pure Encapsulations PurePals

Pure Encapsulations PurePals

SPECS

  • Type: Chewable
  • Recommended age: 2+
  • Recommended dose: Ages 2-3 (take 1 daily); Age 4+ (take 2 daily)
  • Active ingredients: Multivitamin/mineral with added botanical citrus bioflavonoids

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This is the vitamin I've used with my own kids, both with and without iron, depending on their intake patterns. Iron needs for kids are met pretty quickly with meat intake, but if your family is vegetarian, you might choose the PurePals with iron.

PurePals comes in a pleasant, if a bit chalky, cherry flavor. A whopping 26 nutrients are provided in each tablet, with B vitamins in their methylated forms. Each tablet has 5mcg of vitamin D which equates to 200IU. That's likely not going to be enough, so consider adding in some additional vitamin D elsewhere in their diet.

What We Like

  • Methylated B vitamins
  • Comes with or without iron
  • Decent cherry flavor

What We Don't Like

  • Vitamin D level could be higher
  • May be too hard for a two year old to chew

BUY: Pure Encapsulations PurePals

Best Organic Vitamin for Kids - Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin

Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 2 years +
  • Recommended dose: Ages 2-3 (1 gummy daily); Ages 4+ (2 gummies daily)
  • Active ingredients: Organic fruit and vegetable blend

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This delicious, fruit-flavored gummy provides 13 nutrients, including methylated (activated) folate and vitamin B12. Each gummy also contains 10mcg (400IU) vitamin D, which I find thrilling.

These organic, vegan gummies are made entirely from fruits and vegetables, with no added sugar. They are also free of dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and gluten, as well as waxes, food colorings, and gelatin. As an added bonus, the company is certified plastic negative, so these gummies are as good for the environment as they are for your child.

What We Like

  • Great vitamin D level
  • Methylated B vitamins
  • No added sugar

What We Don't Like

  • Kids used to sugary gummies might not like the natural fruit flavor
  • Fewer nutrients provided as compared to comparable products

BUY: Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin

Best Budget Vitamin for Kids - GNC Milestones Kids Multi Gummy

GNC Milestones Kids Multi Gummy

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 2+
  • Recommended dose: Ages 2-3 (1 gummy daily), Ages 4+ (2 gummies daily)
  • Active ingredients: Multivitamin

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This GNC gummy is an affordable vitamin for when you want to fill the holes in your child's nutrition on a budget. This gummy has less nutrients compared to some of the others on this list, but it provides a good base (The vitamin D is great, at 10mcg per chew.).

This product isn't as natural-focused as many others on this list, but it is gluten-free, the colors are naturally derived, and there are only 3 grams of added sugar.

What We Like

  • Vitamin D levels are great
  • Most kids will like the flavor
  • Patches some nutritional holes

What We Don't Like

  • Only contains 11 nutrients
  • Isn't the best option for kids with dietary restrictions or food allergies

BUY: GNC Milestones Kids Multi Gummy

What to Look for in Vitamins for Kids

Biochemistry: Certain nutrients come in different forms, and not all are equal. Look for "folate" rather than folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) and for methylcobalamin instead of cyanocobalamin for B12.

Vitamin D: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends daily dosing with vitamin D. Some of the available options do not have the requisite 400IU/day, so they have to be further supplemented either with vitamin D-fortified milk or another supplement. It's also essential to know that these numbers are under review.

Always talk to your doctor before giving your child dietary supplements.

FAQs About Vitamins for Kids


What vitamins should kids take?

The only vitamin that most children need to be supplementing is vitamin D, at 400IU (or a little more) per day. While nutritional deficiencies certainly do happen, especially if your child has food allergies or is a picky eater, most kids meet their nutritional needs over the course of a few days. If your child does have dietary restrictions due to allergies or other health concerns, then the nutrients they are potentially deficient in will depend on their specific diet and situation. Work with your doctor to determine which vitamins may benefit your child.

Even if your child has no dietary restrictions and is eating a well-balanced diet, it's still not a bad idea for them to take a multivitamin simply to close any gaps. If your child eats plenty of red meat or leafy greens, then it's best to look for a multivitamin that doesn't contain iron, though, as too much iron can result in constipation, gas, and a general tummy ache for your little one.

When should kids start taking vitamins?

Kids should start taking vitamin D right away. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 400IU/day from infancy, 600IU/day after age 12. Many multivitamins are only recommended for children ages 4 and up, though a couple of the options listed in this article are for kids as young as 6 months. If you think your child needs to take vitamins due to gaps in their diet, work with their primary care provider to determine what vitamins they may benefit from and how old they should be before taking them.

Are multivitamins good for kids?

Overall, yes. But it does depend on the individual child and their nutritional needs. The right amount of vitamins is good, but unfortunately, kids don't come with gauges so we can see where their levels are at any given time. Most kids get all the vitamins they need from their diet, but some don't due to a variety of factors such as food allergies or other dietary restrictions. Even if your child eats a well-balanced diet, giving them a multivitamin ensures there are no gaps in their nutrition with very few potential downsides. There are a few vitamins that are not good to take too much of, such as iron, so it's best to find a multivitamin that has low amounts or none of these nutrients unless your child has a deficiency.

Are vitamins worth it?

Good quality vitamins, when used to address or prevent deficiencies, are extremely effective and would definitely be considered "worth it." For the average, healthy person, a multivitamin/mineral supplement isn't necessary as they can get what they need from food, making vitamin supplements less beneficial. But if taking them brings you peace of mind without causing any ill effects, that can be considered worth it, too.

Preschool and Kindergarten Lunch | Best Lunchbox for Kids | Healthy Snacks for Kids | Best Water Bottle for Kids | Best Vitamins for Kids | Best Probiotics for Kids | Best Melatonin for Kids | Best Thermometer for Kids | Best Deodorant for Kids | Best Sunscreen for Kids

About the Author

Yaffi Lvova, RDN

Yaffi is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. She is a passionate anti-diet dietitian, teaching that health comes from positive interactions and food joy! Yaffi is a published author of several books on feeding kids and is the creator of Toddler Test Kitchen™.

See More from Yaffi

Yaffi is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. She is a passionate anti-diet dietitian, teaching that health comes from positive interactions and food joy! Yaffi is a published author of several books on feeding kids and is the creator of Toddler Test Kitchen™.

See More from Yaffi

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