It probably won’t surprise you that experts disagree on whether or not children take vitamins. On one side of the debate are medical experts who believe that children get enough vitamins and minerals from their diets. On the other hand, there are medical professionals who see the need for vitamin supplementation for adults as the same for children. Experts with this belief recognize that children, like adults, do not always consume the foods they need to get enough nutrients. For example, children often dislike vegetables, such as broccoli. Children can also have health problems that prevent them from consuming a certain food. In these cases, children may not be getting adequate amounts of nutrients. This care is important for children as the nutrients are necessary for their growth. One element important to a child’s growth is fluoride. Fluoride contributes to healthy teeth and bones. Most children get all the fluoride they need from drinking water. However, the growing popularity of bottled water puts many children at risk of fluoride deficiency. There are also many communities that use non-fluoridated drinking water.
Children over six months of age affected by these situations are good candidates for fluoride supplementation. Parents should inform their doctor of these circumstances so that the doctor can recommend fluoride vitamins for the child if necessary. Like fluoride, calcium is another mineral that children need for strong teeth and bones. Children rarely have a calcium deficiency. However, there is a small percentage of children who do not consume the recommended amount of calcium for their age group (from 800-1399 milligrams). These children have an allergy or consume dairy products or are vegetarians who do not consume dairy products. The decision to supplement a child‘s diet with vitamins is not a decision that parents must make alone. While an excess of most vitamins can cause mild side effects in adults, children can develop more serious side effects. In addition, vitamins for children often look like candy and should be kept out of the reach of children to avoid overdosing.