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Should my toddler be taking vitamins?

If you have a picky eater on your hands, vitamin supplements can help her get the nutrients she needs. Here’s what you need to consider.

It’s important that your toddler get all of the nutrients she needs in a given day. But this can be difficult, given a toddler’s fickle appetite and general dislike of eating anything green. While it is technically possible for a toddler to get enough nutrients from her daily meals, it’s often also unlikely.

The most important vitamins a toddler needs can vary, depending on each individual child and her eating habits. A toddler who isn’t eating a variety of healthy foods in general will probably need extra vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin C. Typically, an over-the-counter multivitamin and mineral supplement should provide all of these.

Children’s multivitamins come in a variety of forms. For toddlers, liquid multivitamins are often best, as chewable vitamins can sometimes pose a risk of choking. It’s important to help your toddler understand that vitamins are not candy, in spite of the fact that many of them have added flavours to help with the taste. If your toddler begins to see his vitamin as treat, it’s likely that he might try to sneak extra ones if given a chance.

Many children’s multivitamins do not contain iron, in which case it’s important to encourage your toddler to eat foods that are high in iron, including red meats, fish, poultry, oatmeal, most beans, most greens, egg yolks, dried fruits, and iron-fortified foods, such as cereals, to ensure he gets his daily dose.

Treat multivitamins as medicine and keep them out of reach of your toddler. If they don’t come with a toddler-proof cap, put them in a locked cupboard where only you have access to them. It’s also important to follow the recommended dosage for multivitamins. Even if your toddler has only been willing to eat cheese and crackers for a solid week, there is no reason to give him extra vitamins. Too much of certain vitamins can even prevent other vitamins from being absorbed.