Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post Cooking Light Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network

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

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Share This:

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.

the best healthy vitamins for kids. healthy baby vitamins, best healthy vitamins for babies and toddlers

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.

Free Children’s Vitamins 1 Page Printable

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 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). Three other probiotic options that I like are 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. 

the best healthy vitamins for kids. healthy baby vitamins, best healthy vitamins for babies and toddlers

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!

the best healthy vitamins for kids. healthy baby vitamins, best healthy vitamins for babies and toddlers

 

1,002 responses to “The Healthiest Children’s Vitamins: 2020”

  1. I have an 18 year old boy, 12 yrar old girl and 3 year old boy, 3 year old VERY picky eater. Currently I give them probiaotics, elderberry, and teen multi vitimans but not sure im giving them each the best ones I can. The 12 year old deals with depression so Mag and D3 is important for her and some iron. The 3 year old I use joyspring for elderberry and renzos for a multi vit. I have to mix his on drinks to get them in him. And recommendations to help my constant researching. Thanks!

  2. HI, thanks for your information! I have 3 picky eater kids, 10, 8 and 5. They like milk but not vegetables or fruits. They are taking probiotics now. Can you please advice which multivitamins is perfect for them? As They get sick easily, I bought Immunity Gummies by MaryRuth’s based on your recommendation, do I need to add elderberry juice to boost up their immune system especially in this cold season?

    • Hi Ruby! PB Assist Jr is ok – the probiotics and prebiotics included are good, but it does use sugar alcohols to sweeten and also includes “natural” flavors which is not as ideal. The sugar alcohols can irritate kids’ digestive systems by causing gas, etc. which is why I tend to avoid them if possible. But if your child doesn’t have issues with sugar alcohols it may not be a problem!

  3. Hello , thank you for responding. I bought her the Smarty pants organic multi with omega 3 n probiotics . Bought them before I notice your reply,but will these be ok for her to take as well and where can I find the First day ? Which vitamin c would you also recommend as well. I greatly appreciate your time to reply thanks!

  4. Hi, i have a 6 yrs old and 2,5 yrs old son, both dont like milk, and not a good eater also, i usually give them natures way multivitamin and natures way calcium, but after i read this, i just think that maybe there is a better option that you can recommend for my sons. Thank you

    • Hi Ashley! It’s good for a 13 year old but it’s technically made for kids aged 12 and up. So probably not appropriate for your 5 year old (unless your pediatrician disagrees!)

  5. Hi!
    My son does not like to eat healthy, So I am giving him multivitamins. I started him on smarty pants toddler but he is having 3 bowels now a day. What else would you recommend? Thanks!! He is 3

    • Hi Melissa! That is surprising about your son’s bowel movements after starting the vitamin! Honestly there is nothing I can see in the vitamin that might be causing this (e.g. there is no magnesium in the vitamin which can/will increase bowel movements). But if nothing else has changed about his diet other than this vitamin, then he must have a sensitivity to something! I’d recommend switching to FirstDay – they have great ingredients and also contain 27 fruits/veggies which helps if your son is a picky eater!

      • Why would 3 bowel movements a day be a bad thing (especially if they are normal/healthy movements ie. not loose etc)? I would think having one after each meal would be healthy for example. Also could it be that he was previously backed up and maybe the change in getting the nutrients his body needs is starting to have a positive outcome by allowing him to pass blockage etc and starting to normalize? Genuinely curious…

      • Hi Kim! 3 bowel movements a day is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if they are normal/not loose stools, and is part of the child’s normal daily pattern. Some kids poop 3 times a day from birth and continue doing that all the way through adulthood! Anything from 1-4 movements per day is considered normal. The only reason I mentioned it might be an issue is if the vitamin itself is causing the increased bowel movements. That may not be a bad thing (e.g. like you said if he was previously backed up), but it might be a reaction to an ingredient in the vitamin. Either way this is something I’d want any parent to bring up with their pediatrician so they can examine the child in person and make sure there is no actual issue going on. Hope that helps!

  6. My 16 year old does not eat well at all and has ADHD. He’s physically active. My 7 year old eats a bit better but not the best either and is not real active. Suggestions?

  7. I’m currently giving my kids Florajen for kids as a probiotic. It has rice maltodextrin, is that similar to maltodextrin?

    • Hi Carrie! Yes it is the same thing! Maltodextrin can be made from rice, corn, potato starch or wheat – so it’s just telling you that the maltodextrin in that probiotic comes from rice. But it’s still the same issue as all maltodextrin – highly processed, high glycemic so not ideal. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi! Thanks for the help! I have been spending a fortune on Plexus XFactor Kids multivitamin. I have 4 kids and they are supposed to take 2 a day at $27/bottle plus shipping with 60 vitamins in the bottle. Basically if they take the desired amount, one bottle lasts my family a week. I am just wondering what your thoughts are on this vitamin and if it is worth it for the $$? Or would I be better off with something else? At times we do 1 a day to try to make them last longer but then is it even worth it? I want to give them something that actually works and is good for them but wow, this is adding up! ANY help is appreciated!

    • Hi Lindsay! I saw your other comment! I definitely think you can find a more affordable option from my list that is comparable to or better than Plexus. Let me know how old your kids are and I can recommend something!

      • Hi, thanks for the help! My kids are 12, 10, 6 and 3. I really like to have them on a multivitamin and probiotic plus elderberry during this tome of year. Is all of this necessary?? What do you suggest?

      • Hi Linsday! I’d recommend FirstDay which is great for all of those ages since it can be used for kids aged 3+! That way you don’t have to buy multiple vitamins for your kids. For a probiotic I’d recommend Garden of Life (also suitable for all ages – it will just have different dosing instructions depending on the age of your child). I like that probiotic because you can mix it into food (it’s a powder). For Elderberry, I love this one from Gaia Herbs. I’d say definitely do the probiotic + multivitamin to help with immunity. Elderberry will give your kids an additional immune boost, so as long as they’re ok with taking 3 supplements every day it definitely can’t hurt!

  9. Hi,

    I’ve tried to research but never have I felt more informed than with what you have kindly shared with us.
    I have a 7 month old weighing 6.6kg born weighing 3.77kg.
    To be honest for a baby born over 8lb I feel my baby is very much underweight.
    She is drinks breast milk with the occasional formula milk.
    I introduced food at 4 months have a few table spoons for lunch – she now has oats for breakfast – vegetable purée lunch diner with fruit in between – she has roughy 3oz each sitting – however – has 5oz milk 5/6 times a day. However every feed is an absolute fight. Her doctor has advised it could be done to teething. I write this in hope that you can advise me on what to do as I currently feel lost. I read your article about goats milk – Holle goats milk is what I use when I give her a her occasional bottle – I read that you advise in Kabrita – I live in the U.K. so was looking to start her on Nanny care her feeds and stop breastfeeding as I starting to think she is not obtaining enough nutrition from my breast milk – also what multivitamin, probiotics or anything else do you recommend for a 7 month old? I saw child life also does a calcium supplement – do you recommend it?
    I fondly look forward to your advice xxx

    • Hi Laura! Thanks for reaching out to me! If your baby drinks formula occasionally, you likely don’t need a multivitamin or calcium supplement since formula contains all the vitamin your baby needs (unless your pediatrician recommends that you add a multivitamin on top of the formula). For formula specifically, if you live in the UK I’d recommend sticking with Holle Goat if that’s working for her vs. switching to NannyCare, since NannyCare is not organic. You can add a probiotic in addition to the formula, but I’m not sure what’s available in the UK for infants! If there’s a specific probiotic you’re thinking of using, feel free to email me a picture of the ingredients and I can let you know what I think. Regarding feeding, at 7 months babies are still getting used to solids — and it sounds like she’s honestly eating a lot! 3oz of food for each sitting – which it sounds like is 3 meals + fruit in between so maybe 2 snacks? That’s about 9-15oz food daily, and then 5oz milk 5-6 times a day is 25-30oz milk daily. So it’s possible she’s just not that hungry which is why she’s fighting you on her feeds. I’d ask your pediatrician how much she should be eating and drinking every day and find out if the amount she’s currently eating/drinking is right. That might help you figure out whether her resistance is due to lack of hunger, teething, or something else. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Hi my son is 12 almost 13 years old and he is super active . He plays soccer outside if school and all sports(by season) at school . He is always in motion . He eats good when is at home with me but I feel like he needs to get more meat in his bones and some more highly? What vitamins would you recommend for him thank you so much!

  11. Thank you for your article. I’ve tried so many vitamins and probiotics for both of my toddlers (2.5 and 4.5). They either both won’t eat due to taste or the probiotic clumping and not mixing well.
    (I’ve tried the OLLY w/probiotics and they don’t like the taste of it).
    Wondering if you know which ones are kid approved as far as taste goes.

  12. Do you think the OLLY multi + probiotics is good for my 2 and 4 year old? They both get the common cold/runny nose. I’d also like to try the OLLY immunity blend as well. I want something inexpensive yet good!

  13. Hi my name is Nilmaris and I’m looking for the best vitamin for my 1 year old grand daughter. They recommend me Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol, Liquid Multivitamin Supplement. I did my research but all it keeps saying is for baby’s not directly for toddlers…

  14. Great article Anjali! Very informative. I was wondering what your take is on Now Foods Kids Vits (Berry Blast) chewables. Alot of the ingredients are 100% daily value and nothing exceeds it, its probably the only childrens vitamin i found to come close to 100% dv on most ingredients. And has none of the ingredients to avoid that you mentioned. Was looking at Smarty Pants but just seems too low as only 2 ingredients are 100% and majority is less than 50%. I really like the ingredients of Now Kids Vits and would love to hear your opinion. Thanks Anjali.

    • Hi Jeff! Thanks for reaching out – it actually looks pretty good to me! It has a few additives / stabilizers like cellulose, xanthan gum, etc. and It’s sweetened with stevia + xylitol so that’s just something to keep in mind. I think it’s an ok option given that you’re looking for 100% DV for the vitamins and that’s relatively hard to come by!

  15. Hi,
    This article is super helpful, really appreciate the information that I personally didn’t understand with lables, i have a 7 yr old boy he shorter than expected but eats everything which vitamins do you recommend for him?

  16. Hi. I am trying to decide on a Vitamin for my 3 boys. I do want something as close to organic as possible with whole
    Foods so it’s absorbed better. Also I don’t mind buying iron separate, if needed. My 7 year old has been suffering from migraines and has dark circles under a his eyes recently. I also have a 4 year old and 2 year old. All boys are pretty picky. They eat fruit but I can’t get them
    To eat veggies at all. We honestly have been so busy work…life…That we haven’t been eating the best (not fast food but not the best). What would you recommend for them? Thank you 😊

    • Hi Lauren! If your kids are picky eaters, I’d recommend Raise Them Well for your 7 year old and 4 year old. For your 2 year old I’d recommend Vitamin Friends. Both of these vitamins have iron included so you won’t have to buy it separately! I’d also recommend adding in this probiotic for all 3 of them — you can mix it directly into food. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Hi Ilysa! Both of these are pretty decent! The PB Assist Jr is sweetened with sugar alcohols but as long as that doesn’t irritate your child’s gut it should be fine. The A2Z Chewable also looks fine – it is sweetened with stevia but as long as you’re ok with that the rest of the ingredients look good!

    • Hello, I have a 6 yrs old that’s very picky as well . She eats fruits but no veggies . This is her first year in school I had in in home school for kinder, but we noticed her imune system is low she was getting sick to often. What can u recommend. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2020 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved.