Do children and teens need vitamins or supplements?
Does my infant need a vitamin?
Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for babies, but it is important that all breast-fed infants receive a supplement of liquid vitamin D to meet the recommended daily requirement of 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. Vitamin D is important for developing healthy bones and teeth and may have other health benefits as well.
Formula-fed babies also require the same daily amount of vitamin D. Formula is fortified with vitamin D, so an infant may be taking enough formula each day to get enough vitamin D. Otherwise, a vitamin D supplement may still be required.
Babies who were premature may require higher doses of vitamin D and/or other vitamins. Ask you child’s pediatrician to help decide what your infant needs.
Does my older child or teen need a vitamin?
Most children and teens get the vitamins they need by eating an average American diet. The main exception again is vitamin D. Children and teens also are recommended to get 400 IU of vitamin D per day, and many do not get enough vitamin D through diet alone. Deficiencies of other vitamins can occur with special situations and diseases or particularly restrictive diets. Consult with your child’s pediatrician to see if a vitamin supplement is needed.
Is there any harm in giving vitamins to children and teens?
Always consult your child’s pediatrician before giving any supplements. Any vitamins should be given with careful consideration and it is important to try to get as many vitamins and minerals through diet, rather than just relying on supplements. Excessive amounts of certain vitamins can be harmful.
Matthew Tien, MD, is welcoming new patients at MetroHealth's main campus and at MetroHealth Beachwood Health Center. Dr. Tien is a board-certified pediatrician who provides primary care for newborns, children and adolescents. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Tien, call 216-957-9959 for the Beachwood Health Center or 216-778-2222 for main campus.