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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.

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 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! Thank you so much for putting together such a useful and informative article! It is literally the only consolidated one I could find 🙂
    Unfortunately I am based in the UK so couldn’t quite find anything sold over here (unless from an importer). I would love to get for my 3 year old daughter a 100% organic multivitamins with iron, omega 3s and probiotics.
    Would you be so kind to take a look for me? Happy to get an affiliated link if any helpful

    Thanks!

    • Hi Marie! No problem at all I’m so glad it was helpful! I’m actually not sure what is available in the UK – but if there is a particular vitamin you’re looking at feel free to email me the ingredients list to pickyeats@gmail.com and I’d be happy to take a look!

  2. Hello Anjali,
    Thank you for a great post. I have a 4 year old very picky eater who avoids everything nutritional. Eats pasta, khicdi, kadi, egg, sometimes chicken and rice. Not a balanced meal. She has very irregular bowl movement too. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi! In terms of a vitamin for her, I’d recommend Raise Them Well since it’s a pretty complete vitamin to account for what she might be missing nutritionally. Regarding her bowel movements, that is due to her diet — from what you said it sounds like she’s not eating many veggies and fruits. Is she drinking enough water daily? That can be another contributor to constipation or infrequent bowel movements. What I’d recommend if you can’t get her to eat more fruits or veggies is to try this Magnesium Supplement for kids that helps with constipation. If she will eat pureed fruits, you can see if she’ll eat these pureed prunes from Plum Organics which is a whole food alternative to the magnesium that will also help her regularity. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Hi! Joyspring is a good brand! Depending on which vitamin you are looking at from them, there may be some things to call out but overall they are a good brand. Elderberry is a really powerful immune boosting supplement for both kids and adults! Hope that helps!

  3. Hi, I have a 3 year old who is a very picky eater. She doesn’t like eggs or milk. She has a lot of meltdowns and is very active. I’m giving her Zarbees multi vitamin + immune. Do you think I can add the Nordic Naturals Omega 3? Or what can you suggest I give her? I’m not sure if I can give her both since Zarbees has the + immune.

    • Hi Ellie! You can give her the Zarbees Multivitamin + Immune along with the Nordic Naturals – shouldn’t be a problem given that you’re not double dosing on any vitamins!

      • Thank you for responding. I saw on your vitamin guide sheet that you suggest the Smartypants organics for a 3 year old. If I switch to the Smartypants vitamin would I still need to give her the Omega 3? Would you recommend I switch her? What other vitamins does she need?

      • Hi Ellie! If you switch to SmartyPants you wouldn’t necessarily have to supplement with Omega 3s since it has Omega 3s included. As for what other vitamins she needs, it depends on how she’s eating and whether you’re concerned about things like immunity, low iron, etc. If you wanted to add one thing, you could add a probiotic which has both digestive and immune benefits!

  4. Hi
    2 boys ages 8 and 11. I don’t have them on anything. Would prefer to give them omega, vitamin d and vitamin c
    Is their one type of supplement that contains this all.

    • Hi Aileen! The Kirkland gummies have gelatin added, so they’re not vegetarian friendly (if that is a concern for you). They also have sugar alcohols (mannitol), maltodextrin (a high glycemic processed ingredients/stabilizer), and corn syrup (which is GMO) — among other ingredients that I wouldn’t recommend. One of the vitamins on my list will probably be a better option for your child!

  5. What do you think of Animal Parade multi-vitamin? I saw that you had a picture of it above but nothing mentioned. Also any insight Olly?

  6. Thank you for this very informative article!
    It is very helpful. Choosing a good vitamin can be so hard and confusing at times…
    Can you please tell me what would your recommendation be for my children, 9 and 12 (almost 13) years old girls. Both girls do eat very healthy. So, 9 yrs old would need just a basic vitamin if anything…. 12 yrs old is very active with sensitive gi tract, on a skinnier side….. At her age what is the best multivitamin choice with and without iron? Would multivitamin with iron and calcium be better for her age?
    Thank you very much!

  7. Hi, I have 3 children of ages 2-8, boys and girls. I’m looking for a multivitamin that has high calcium and vitamin D content, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Do you have a recommendation?
    Thank you so much

    • Hi Svetlana! Can you tell me how much Vitamin D and Calcium you need in the vitamins for each of your kids? Then I can better give you a recommendation! Most kids multivitamins will have a good amount of Vitamin D, but most won’t have a ton of calcium because they assume most kids will get enough calcium through their diet. So depending on how much Calcium and Vitamin D you need for your kids, I may have you add a calcium or vitamin D supplement to an existing multivitamin. Let me know and we can go from there. Thanks!

  8. I have a 12 year old daughter she’s very moody and can’t wake up for school. Which multi vitamin will be good for her.

  9. I have 3 kids, 2 are needing some nutritional help with vitamins.
    6 year old boy- eats a ton! Eats so so much. He does eat fruits snd veggies but not often.
    2 year old girl-eats veggies and fruits but not the recommend as she is super picky.

    • Hi Wanda! For your 6 year old, I’d recommend FirstDay since it includes 27 organic fruits & veggies and is meant to fill the “nutritional gaps” in a child’s diet. First Day is only good for kids aged 3+ so once your daughter turns 3, you can put her on FirstDay as well. In the meantime, while she’s 2, I’d recommend Smarty Pants Toddler Multivitamin. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi, I have 3 kids , they are 11-9-5 years old and looking for kosher vitamin c supplement which boost their immune system . You didn’t mention any in your article . What could you recommend to me please? Thanks

  11. Hi!
    My two year old granddaughter is a picky eater with irregular bowel movements and often has meltdowns. When researching multivitamins with magnesium they often don’t have a dose for her age group. What would you recommend for her?

    Thank you!

  12. My kids have been taking the Alive multi-vitamin chewable. Our doctor said we needed to add calcium so I’m researching again. It seems to have more of a lot of good vitamins than most on the list but it has the added sorbitol. When I did a google search I didn’t find anything too terrible except it is slow to metabolize. Could you link to an article or elaborate on why it’s bad? Thank you!

    • Hi Ashley! There is nothing wrong with Alive Multi Vitamins for kids except like you said, the sorbitol. It has methylated B vitamins which is great and a large variety of vitamins. It’s the Flinstones kids vitamins that I have the biggest problem with, Alive is not bad in comparison. If you’re looking for a separate calcium supplement I actually like the one from the Mama Bear brand. Hope that helps!

  13. You should edit to add that GARDEN OF LIFE was bought out by Nestle and is no longer a trustworthy brand for a whole foods vitamin. Nestle is not an ethical company and the formula had been changed since the buyout!

    • Hi Oma! So sorry but that’s not correct. They were acquired by Nestle, but the formula actually hasn’t been changed since the buyout which is why I have kept them on my list! Pretty much every natural vitamin has been bought by a larger conglomerate at this point — the important thing is whether their formula or ingredients have changed since the buyout and in the case of Garden of Life, it hasn’t!

  14. Hi Anjali,

    My almost 5 year old gets very stubborn at home at times, but listens well and does great at school/or with others. Right now I’m giving her the organic Smartypants multi vitamins, but thinking maybe she need something different? She’s gets moody at home at times lately, and as a baby we had to give her iron drops, but we didn’t need to her after she turned 1 year old. I will get her iron checked at her 5 year checkup, but wondering what vitamin do you suggest that is good for strong willed kids or tantrums if such thing lol?

    Thanks!
    Tina

    • Hi Tina! Honestly, it sounds like your 5 year old is just acting like a typical 5 year old 🙂 The SmartyPants vitamins are great – but there is no vitamin that will change the mood of a strong willed child 🙂 That being said, if your pediatrician indicates that your daughter has focusing issues or might be ADD/ADHD, then there are vitamins and supplements that can help with that. Let me know if that’s the case but if not, just keep doing what you’re doing!

      • Hi Raquel! While I’m not an expert on ADD or ADHD, there are a few supplements that I have heard can help with concentration in kids (but make sure to talk to your pediatrician before you give any of these to your child):
        1) Fish Oil,
        2) A B-Complex Vitamin,
        3) A Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium supplement like this one,
        4) A probiotic, and
        5) Rhodiola Rosea – which is an herb that can help with focus. I like this supplement for Rhodiola Rosea for kids.
        Another thing to keep in mind is that focusing/ADHD issues in kids can be exacerbated by dietary issues — like too many processed foods, too much added sugar and artificial flavors/colors in their diet. So I would make sure your child’s diet is free of these as well. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Ok thank u so much for answering my pot !🙂 I have really struggled with finding a liquid multivitamin for my children and myself … we have tried the Mary Ruth’s… and I’m not so sure about Several different things with the end. I was looking at the child’s life that you recommended, but was hoping to get some thing with a little more zinc to help their immune system‘s ..Also I think they are low in iron And child’s life doesn’t have iron in it…
      Maybe I should do you iron separate I’m not sure .

      • No problem at all I’m glad it was helpful! If the multivitamin you’re using has iron included, there is no need to supplement with iron separately.

  15. I have a 9 years old, he’s a picky eater, he doesn’t drink milk, eat eggs, and fruits except for apple. He’s been taken Flintstone immune support. His main diet consists of carbohydrates, Spinach and meat. He has started having problem with school work and uncontroll emotions. Please do you think First day is a good choice for him?

    • Hi! I do think FirstDay would be a much better option for him than Flinstones, especially since they include 27 organic fruits & veggies in their vitamins so that should help fill the gap in his nutrition. Hope that helps!

  16. Hi!
    Would you suggest the Smarty Pants Kids Mineral Multi Vitamin with the Magnesium and Vitamin D over the Smarty Pants Toddler for an active 4 year old who is very emotional with moods and meltdowns? I see above you mentioned Magnesium and Vitamin D can help these behaviors. I’m interested in hearing more about this, can you point me in the direction of an article?

    Also, when looking at ingredient lists, will an item actually indicate ‘Blue #2, Yellow #5 and Red #40? Or will these be disguised by other wording?

    Thanks so much!

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