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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

The Healthiest Children’s Vitamins: 2020

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Are you looking for the healthiest children’s vitamins on the market today? This post (which I update monthly) will help you find the best one for your child! Note: If you’re looking for the best adult vitamins, go to this post.

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Kids Vitamins can be confusing. There are so many questions: Is there a such thing as an “unhealthy” kids vitamin? Do you need a vitamin with iron? Which vitamins are the best? Do kids even need vitamins at all?  

A lot of these questions can be really overwhelming because there is so much information out there! So I did a bunch of research and found the healthiest kids vitamins out there today. This is your guide for the best multivitamins for kids: what to buy, what not to buy, and what to look out for!

First of all, do kids even need vitamins to begin with?

Most pediatricians will tell you that it’s not necessary for most healthy children who are growing normally (source). For kids who eat well and eat a variety of food, they can get all of the nutrients they need from whole foods. But many kids are very picky, or don’t eat a lot of food, or aren’t growing well, and that makes a lot of parents worried that they aren’t getting the nutrients they need! In those cases, I’d recommend talking to your pediatrician, and if they suggest giving your child a multivitamin then definitely do so. 

When buying a multivitamin, what should you look for? 

Kids multivitamins generally come in two groups: 1) With Iron and 2) Without Iron. You should buy a multivitamin that doesn’t exceed 100% daily value of most of the vitamins for your child’s age group – primarily Vitamins A, E and K (that will be indicated by the label on the back). The exception here is for Vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin but is ok to have at more than 100% of the daily value because most people are deficient (including kids) and Vitamin D isn’t toxic unless it’s in exceptionally high doses which wouldn’t be in a daily vitamin. If the vitamin does have more than 100% of A, E and K then I would just give your child half the dose on the bottle.

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Fill out the form below to receive your FREE 1-page checklist of the best vitamins by age (0-18 years) and the right dosing by age!

So what should you buy? What’s the healthiest children’s vitamin out there? 

Luckily there are tons of options! Below is a list of my favorites: they all are made with natural ingredients, have no weird preservatives or any of the ingredients above added, and a few even derive the vitamins from organic food sources which I absolutely love because they are better absorbed by the body that way. Most of these will have a tiny bit of cane sugar or fructose added, but as long as it’s less than 4g per serving it’s not a huge issue. A few vitamins on the list (like Llama Naturals Organic Gummies) are 100% organic and free of ALL allergens as well!

Note: ALL of the vitamins I recommend below do NOT contain gelatin. They are all vegetarian friendly!

The Healthiest Children’s Multivitamins with Iron

The Healthiest Children’s Multivitamins without Iron

The Healthiest Children’s Liquid Vitamins Without Iron

  • ChildLife – it’s a little higher in sugar than I’d like, but you can start using it at 6 months of age (the other two options are for older kids)
  • Garden of Life for Toddlers – this vitamin is 100% organic, made from whole foods, has no sugar added, and you can use it starting at 1 year of age. I haven’t found a liquid vitamin with probiotics that has a cleaner ingredients list yet!
  • Premium Children’s – no sugar added and you can use it starting at 4 years of age
  • Tropical Oasis – sweetened with xylitol (just note that’s a sugar alcohol) and you can use it starting at 4 years of age

The Healthiest Children’s Iron Only Supplement

An iron-only supplement is a good option if you go with a multivitamin without iron, because it will add the iron missing from those vitamins back into your child’s diet. I generally recommend supplementing with iron if your child has been tested and is iron-deficient (otherwise supplementing with iron is not necessary for most kids). The two best iron-only supplements are:

  1. Nature’s Nutra because of relatively its super clean ingredients list.
  2. Gaia Herbs: Use for older children (or with pediatrician’s approval for babies) – it has the cleanest ingredients list I’ve found and is nonGMO!

The Healthiest Children’s Omega 3 Supplements

The primary Omega 3 supplement I’d recommend for kids is Nordic Naturals. They have an infant DHA supplement and a children’s DHA supplement – both of which are extremely pure, has no added preservatives or sugar, and are in liquid form so they can be added to just about anything! ChildLife Cod Liver Oil is also a good option for kids starting at 6 months of age!

The healthiest children’s vitamin D supplement

If you’re just looking for a Vitamin D supplement – e.g. in the winter, I love (and use) these Vitamin D Drops. There is literally nothing added to them (no flavors, colors, etc.). They are liquid and you only need one drop in your child’s milk per day. They’re marketed for infants, but you can use them for any age. Super easy, tasteless and pure. For two other great options, Raise them Well and UpSpring makes a pure vitamin D with only coconut oil added.

The Best Vitamin C For Kids

Many of you have asked me for my thoughts around Vitamin C supplements for kids. Here are my picks for the healthiest, best Vitamin C for kids. If you’re looking for a gummy, I recommend Olly Kids Immunity or WellVites. If you’re looking for a liquid vitamin, I like ChildLife Vitamin C. And if you’re looking for a gummy for older kids/adults, I like Mary Ruth’s Vitamin C. Lastly, if you’re looking for the best elderberry supplement for kids, I like Gaia Herbs Elderberry.

The Healthiest Probiotics Supplements for Kids

I love Garden of Life’s line of probiotics – they are shipped cold and their powdered kids probiotic can be added to your child’s drink (milk, water, etc.). They also have a kids’ chewable probiotic if you need an option that doesn’t require refrigeration (but it does have maltodextrin). If you’re looking for a liquid probiotic, I recommend this organic liquid probiotic from Go Healthy Natural. Four other probiotic options that I like are Llama Naturals, Klaire LabsPROKids and Dr. MK’s Natural Probiotic (the only caveat with Dr. MK’s is that it’s sweetened with sorbitol which is a sugar alcohol).

What ingredients should be avoided in kids vitamins?

It’s also important to look for the ingredients that are added to the tablet that aren’t vitamins. Ingredients like: Sorbitol, carrageenan, artificial colors and flavors (like Red #40), aspartame, sucralose, to name a few! You definitely don’t want to be dosing your child with these ingredients on a daily basis along with their multivitamin.

So let’s start with what not to buy: The answer here is most of the commercially available, leading brands of multivitamins. The biggest offender of which is Flinstones Chewable Vitamins. 

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What’s crazy is that on the label, Flinstones calls out that they are “Pediatrician’s #1 Choice.” And most people do buy Flinstones vitamins! I even remember eating them when I was a kid. They tasted so good! It was like a treat every morning. And if you are giving your kids Flinstones vitamins right now, don’t feel bad! You are not alone, and thanks to all of the deceptive marketing out there, there’s no way you’d know that Flinstones isn’t the best choice for any child. Before doing all of this research I didn’t realize how problematic they were, and why it’s important to switch away from them.

The reason they are problematic, is because there are a ridiculous number of offensive ingredients in Flinstones Vitamins that truly, should not be there at all, and are not necessary. Take a look at two of their best sellers (I’ve highlighted in bold all of the ingredients to avoid):

#1 |Flinstones Chewable Vitamins with Iron: Sorbitol, Mannitol, Fructose, Sodium Ascorbate, Ferrous Fumarate, Silicon Dioxide, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Flavors, FD&C Red #40 Lake; Less Than 2% Of: Aspartame†, BetaCarotene, Cholecalciferol, Cyanocobalamin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, FD&C Blue #2 Lake, FD&C Yellow #6 Lake, Folic Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Soy Lecithin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate.

#2 | Flinstones Chewable Complete: Granulated Calcium Carbonate (Calcium Carbonate, Dextrose Monohydrate, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Microcrystalline Cellulose), Sorbitol, Sodium Ascorbate, Ferrous Fumarate, Natural and Artificial Flavoring, Pregelatinized Starch, dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate; Less Than 2% Of: Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Cholecalciferol, Cupric Oxide, Cyanocobalamin, FD&C Blue #2 Lake, FD&C Red #40 Lake, FD&C Yellow #6 Lake, Folic Acid, Gelatin, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Stearate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Niacinamide, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Phytonadione, Riboflavin, Silicon Dioxide, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Zinc Oxide.

Why are these ingredients bad? Let’s take them one by one:

  • Sorbitol and Mannitol are sugar alcohols. They have been known to cause digestive issues and discomfort in some people because they can’t be digested properly by the body.
  • Carrageenan is an emulsifier that thickens products, but it has been linked to high levels of inflammation in the body, digestive issues, etc.
  • Maltodextrin: this is an indicator that the food is highly processed. It’s used as a thickener, filler, or preservative in many processed foods, and it can cause spikes in your blood sugar because it has a high glycemic index.
  • Natural and Artificial Colors – Red #40, Blue #2, Yellow #6. What are these doing in a kids vitamin? These are so problematic and have been linked to all kinds of health problems including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness.
  • Artificial flavors – also highly processed and unnecessary in a kids vitamin.
  • Aspartame and Sucralose – this is what diet sodas are sweetened with, and are highly controversial. Research hasn’t proven one way or the other whether they lead to long term health issues, but it has been proven that they cause an insulin-response by the body (because your body thinks you are eating sugar when you are not – source). If you wouldn’t give your child a diet coke, you shouldn’t give them a vitamin with this in it!
  • Mono- and Diglycerides is one of the most widely used emulsifers to keep oil and fat from separating. It’s just an indicator that the food is processed.
  • Oh, and gelatin. While this isn’t a harmful ingredient, it kind of sucks for any vegetarians or vegans out there who are giving their kids this vitamin without knowing that it’s not actually veggie-friendly.

Runner Ups / Children’s Supplements that are borderline

  • Solgar. This is one I’d get only if you can’t find any of the other ones on the list above, because while most of the ingredients are good, it does have carrageenan which – as I mentioned – it’s better to avoid.
  • YummiBears Organic Multivitamin (note: this vitamin does have cane sugar added – if you give your kids the full dose then it’s 6g sugar which is more than I would like in a vitamin)
  • Seeking Health (Note: The link may say women’s/mens but the label indicates this can be used for kids aged 4 and up. It’s also good for kids with MTHFR mutations. But I am waiting for a response from the company on the prop 65 warning on its label, so I’ve moved them down here for now!)
  • Natures Plus (another one that has a Prop 65 warning! This is what they have said regarding Prop 65: “Proposition 65 was passed in California in 1986 and requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list includes over 800 chemicals and compounds, including some which occur naturally in the environment and some common substances that are beneficial when used in appropriate doses. In order to comply with California Proposition 65, we print a warning on every invoice being shipped into the state of California. Some of the substances on the Proposition 65 list occur naturally in both the environment and the human body and also exist naturally in many of the foods we eat. Therefore, it can be expected that trace levels of the same chemicals would be detectible in virtually all herbal and natural dietary supplement products. If you would like further information on Proposition 65 please contact The Food and Drug Administration or The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Outreach and Information Center, maintains a consumer information hotline at the following number: Toll-Free Information Line: (888) 723-3366.”
  • Nature’s Way Alive! The only downside to these is they are sweetened with sorbitol – which is a sugar alcohol that can be irritating to the digestive system. Other than that though, their ingredients look good!
  • Rainbow Light (this comes in powdered form). This was on my “top vitamins” list until August 2019, when news of a class action against Rainbow Light came out because their prenatal vitamins contained heavy metals (including high levels of lead). While this class action doesn’t apply to their children’s vitamins, I’d still be wary of buying from Rainbow Light until they have rigorous heavy metal testing in place for ALL of their vitamins.

I hope this helps you in navigating the world of kids’ vitamins!

If you’re looking for healthy meal inspiration in addition to the best vitamins for your child, pick up a copy of my newest cookbook here!

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1,104 responses to “The Healthiest Children’s Vitamins: 2020”

  1. Hi Anjali,
    I saw Llama probiotic gummies listed as an option on your blog. Did you remove that? I don’t see it and if you did remove what was the reason? I purchased one bottle of Llama probiotic as per your recommendation for my 4 yr and 3 yr olds and although they loved the taste, it constipated them. The garden of life powder was way better but it was hard for me to get my 4yr old picky eater to take that with his milk. Any suggestions for me? My kids take First Day multivitamin right now.

  2. Hi Anjali,

    I wanted to start giving my 5 and 8-year-old kiddos magnesium on top of their daily vitamins. Any brand you recommend that’s safe and is it okay to give? They both take First Day multi vitamins.

    Thanks!
    Tina

      • If you’re looking for help with sleep and remaining calm, I’d use #2. #1 might have a similar effect but isn’t designed specifically for sleep/calm — #1 is more for better energy, strong bones, healthy muscle function, etc. So if you’re looking for sleep/calm specifically I’d go with #2! Hope that helps!

      • Sorry one more question -can I still give my kiddos the #1 option even if they take the First Day multi vitamins or is the smarty pants magnesium vitamin replace that? Thanks!

      • Hi! You wouldn’t replace FirstDay with Smarty Pants — you’d give them both together if you went with option 1! They both include totally different vitamins and have a very small overlap that don’t add up to 100% RDA so it’s totally fine to give both at the same time.

      • Hi Anjali!

        I tried giving my 5-year-old daughter the Smartypants magnesium mineral vitamins and she hates the taste! Any powdered ones or other better tasting ones you recommend? Btw my 8-year-old son is totally fine taking them lol.

        Thanks!
        Tina

  3. Hi-My son is 13 and is a very picky eater… No vegetables or fruits in his diet. He’s also falling behind on the growth chart. What vitamins would you recommend to help promote growth and adequate nutrition. Also maybe an option with iron.

    • Hi Nicole! If your son is 13, he can actually take adult vitamins and that’s what I would recommend. The best men’s vitamin I’ve found is this one from Performance Lab. It contains 17+ essential daily vitamins + minerals with food cofactors for optimal absorption (including iron). It’s a highly bioavailable vitamin calibrated for men’s specific nutritional needs. It’s also vegan, allergen-free, gluten-free, non GMO, and super clean from an ingredients standpoint. They also have an ongoing buy 3 get 1 free offer (so if you buy 3 bottles, you get 1 free!) If your son can’t swallow pills I’d recommend this liquid vitamin from Mary Ruth’s. It also has great ingredients and will help fill the gaps in his diet, but it doesn’t contain iron. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Hi
    Which vitamins would you recommend for a 12 month old who needs to gain more weight and grow more according to our pediatrician. He just started drinking whole milk and is eating solids. Thank you

  5. Hello!
    I’ve really enjoyed reading over all the helpful information about vitamins. I’ve found myself so overwhelmed trying to figure out what is best for my 5yo son.
    A little about him: He is full of energy and can struggle to focus and sit still. I have trouble keeping up. He may be on the ADHD spectrum. I’ve been talking with his doctor and for now we want to focus on healthy lifestyle, he’s already super active, and diet(he’s been on a veggie strike! So happy it’s finally smoothie season, I get to sneak in the greens without him knowing). I’ve had him on Oneaday multivitamin and also a probiotic. after reading your list and going through each one I’m wondering if I should do a vitamin with iron and then a seperate probiotic(I’ve read about up4 kids gummies. I didn’t see it on your list but was wondering if you knew anything about it?)or should I do the muiltivitamin with the probiotic? I was liking the idea of the smartypants because it came with everything minus the iron. I was also reading about the genius and DHA drops and thought maybe that would be something to try. With the pandemic it’s been even more of a struggle to get him to sit down and want to focus on school work. In all fairness this is a crazy time.
    I guess as I said before I’m feeling overwhelmed with all this information and want to make sure I am giving him what he needs.
    From one Bay Area gal to another thanks For trying to simplify and break it down for us. It’s much appreciated!

    • Hi Britt! Thanks so much for reaching out! To your questions — oneaday vitamins don’t have the highest quality vitamins and up4kids probiotic gummies are fine ingredients wise, but have a low dose of probiotics and a small variety of strains (you ideally want a large variety of strains and more total in each dose). Instead, I’d go with this probiotic from Garden of Life, and you could switch to the SmartyPants Organic Multivitamins for Kids with DHA + Probiotics added. The probiotics in the SmartyPants vitamin is just one strain and only 1 Billion CFU so it’s ok to take that along with the separate Garden of Life probiotic I mentioned above. The other vitamin/supplement that helps with focus is Rhodiola Root, which is present in these Genius Drops for Kids. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  6. My daughter has ADHD and I’m struggling to find the right vitamins for her that include all the recommended vitamins – Omega-3s, Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin C and Ginko. I’m so lost.

  7. Hi Anjali,

    Both of my kids are taking First Day, but my youngest absolutely hates the taste. Any tricks on best way to give it to her? To be honest, I’ve started adding the vitamins in her Greek yogurt as that’s the only way she’ll take it. She used to love the Organic Smartypants vitamins the best, but I wanted to try First Day as I’d see so many ads on it. Now I’m debating if I should just give her that instead?

    Thanks,
    Tina

    • Hi Tina! If your youngest will take the vitamins as part of her greek yogurt that’s great! I’d just keep doing that since that’s what’s working. The Organic Smartypants kids vitamins are also really good, so you could totally switch back to that. The main benefit from FirstDay over Smartypants is that FirstDay has 27 organic fruits/veggies added, whereas Smartypants doesn’t. Other than that it’s still a great choice. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi! I have a daughter with Down Syndrome, almost 9 years old. She is on a protocol for DS called TNI. Does she also need vitamins daily? I realize this is also a question for the naturalpaths on TNI site, but wanted feedback! Thank you!

    • Hi Roxi! I would assume that with the TNI protocol that she already is getting mega doses of vitamins daily — and if that’s the case then the vitamins on this list likely won’t do too much more for her. I think I’d like to better learn more about what vitamins she’s already taking on her TNI protocol before giving you specific recommendations on whether she needs additional vitamins daily, and if so, which vitamins to give her. Feel free to email me at pickyeats@gmail.com with those details and we can take it from there!

  9. Hi, our daughter is 18 months old. We are looking for a liquid multivitamin preferably with iron. Although not sure if iron will be constipating?
    If so, which liquid multivitamin do you recommend without iron?
    Thank you
    Navid

  10. Hello! My son is 5 with autism and very picky. I’m looking for a liquid vitamin with minimal sugar but promotes brain development What are your suggestions?
    Thanks

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