This article was originally written by Martin Smith
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Most parents’ think their children are eating a fairly healthy and if not they throw their hands up in the air and give up. They then ply their children with multivitamins. No it’s not a bad thing however, many children think that vitamins are candies, especially now that they come in gummi candy, gumballs, and cute animal and cartoon character shapes. – This poses a serious issue because if they are in children’s reach they could be “sneaking” extra tablets without you knowing it. Since many children’s multivitamins are fortified with iron it could cause an overdose. If you even suspect that your child has ingested too many call your local poison control center immediately and get your child to an emergency room immediately. An overdose of multivitamins with iron could cause your child to become seriously ill or even die. It’s imperative vitamins and all manner of medication be kept out of the reach of children.
Generic multivitamins are fine if you think your child needs it but for the most part, children get most of their vitamins from their diets. If you child has special needs such not being able to drink milk or eat dairy products or not liking them s/he will still need to get the calcium from other sources.
Consult with your child’s pediatrician for advice.
If your child’s diet is bad one week, do not give him more than one vitamin a day. Too much of any one vitamin could prevent others from being absorbed by the body. For example, if your child gets to much calcium it could prevent the absorption of other vitamins such as iron. You can expect to give your child vitamins well into the teen years because children are not always going to make healthy food choices.
Before you buy vitamins know that there are opposing opinions regarding iron in vitamins for children. One school of though is that you in fact should be given vitamins with iron. Another school of thought says under no circumstances should vitamins with iron be given to children. In my own experience my child showed signs of low iron in infancy. At the advice of his doctor we put him on iron fortified vitamins and he is healthy now. Always check with your doctor on this.
Too much iron in the blood can cause a disease called Hemochromatosis. The body becomes unable to utilize the iron and it is not washed out of the body easily. It is a nearly always-fatal disease and can cause serious health issues and even death.
Calcium is a very important part of your child’s diet to help them build strong bones and muscles. Calcium is a mineral. Children who eat ice cream, yogurt, and cheese or who drink milk usually get enough calcium from their diets. There are those who do not like dairy products or they don’t like them. It is easy to help these children get what they need by giving them calcium-fortified juices, cereals and vitamins.
Most children get enough fluoride from drinking fluoride treated water or fluoride bottled water, and/or toothpaste. Do not give your child fluoride supplements without checking with your child’s doctor. Too much fluoride could permanently stain your child’s teeth. This totally defeats the purpose of the treatment of water and the use of tooth paste with fluoride that are meant to protect your child’s teeth.
Infant multivitamins are usually available in liquid form and given with an eyedropper. These drops usually contain vitamins A, C, and D. They may also have added iron. They may also contain other vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B-12.
Children’s multivitamins also commonly come in chewable forms and the shapes of cartoon characters or animals. They also come now in gummi candy form and gumballs. If it is difficult to get your child to take a vitamin try getting one that is like his favorite character or in gumball form. Monitor your child while he’s taking his vitamin. I personally, give my child the vitamin rather than allowing him to do it on his own. He may not take it or he may take too many. Vitamins for children can be a very good thing however too much of a good thing can be fatal. Keep them out of reach of children.
Your child may not always eat what is right and giving him vitamins may offset some of that, however, it is better to err on the side of caution and check with the pediatrician before making any adjustments to your child’s diet. Fun shapes are fine but your child could believe they are ‘candy’ and so they should be out of his reach or locked away in a cabinet.