Does it feel like your child eats nothing but mac ‘n cheese and chicken tenders? Welcome to the joys of motherhood. As parents, we know how important nutrition is for our children’s development and health, making it extra stressful when your kid goes on a food strike and flat-out refuses the food you know they need.

Enter kids’ vitamins—the seemingly perfect insurance policy to ensure your kiddo meets their nutrient needs. But once you jump online, the options can feel a tad overwhelming. Aside from the sheer number of products available, it’s not always easy to separate quality vitamins from those you should probably skip.

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Which is why we took the guesswork out to help you make the best choice for your family—including a dive into whether your child would actually benefit from a daily multivitamin. Below you’ll find our picks for the best vitamins for kids—plus what to look for when shopping—to help your child get the nutrients they need.

Related: Confession: I’m a dietitian and feeding my daughter is a struggle

Do kids need to take vitamins?

Food should always be the foundation for your child’s nutrition. Offering a variety of foods—brightly colored produce, whole grains, proteins, and nourishing fats—from an early age provides essential vitamins and minerals and models healthy behaviors that last well into adulthood (even if they only throw the food on the floor for now). The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most children who eat balanced diets don’t need vitamin supplements.

Related: Do I need to give my baby vitamins?

So not all kids need to take vitamins, but some research (and what you’ve probably observed in your own kitchen) suggests many kids don’t eat the recommended amounts of fresh fruit and veggies.1Łuszczki E, Sobek G, Bartosiewicz A, et al. Analysis of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by Children in School Canteens Depending on Selected Sociodemographic Factors. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(7):397. Published 2019 Jul 22. doi:10.3390/medicina55070397 Picky eaters who only eat a handful of foods, or who don’t eat many fruits and veggies, may also benefit from taking a multivitamin (sometimes this only means taking a supplement short-term until your kiddo starts accepting more foods).

Kids who follow vegan or vegetarian diets and those who cannot absorb nutrients due to gut problems or specific medical conditions also need supplemental vitamins. Check in with your pediatrician if you aren’t sure, but vitamins can be helpful to fill in nutrient gaps.

Related: Study shows kids who eat more fruits and veggies have better mental health

What to look for in a kid’s vitamin

When choosing the best vitamins for kids, there are a few things to consider. To start, third-party testing (independent lab testing for quality and safety) checks to ensure the product is free from contaminants and that what the manufacturers say is in the product is actually there.

Check the label

Just as you’d check a food label for additives like artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors, reading a vitamin’s ingredient list can help weed out those with questionable ingredients. Dietitians, nutritionists and healthcare practitioners agree that the best kids vitamins leave these extras out.

Identify the dosage

Make sure to also check for age-appropriate dosing. A vitamin for a toddler will provide different amounts of nutrients than one for older children. Some products can be given to both age groups, but the dosage is different—important since you don’t want to give more than your child needs. Some nutrients, like the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, can be toxic in high doses.

Related: I’m a nutritionist: These are my 5 favorite prenatal vitamins

Assess the iron content

Another nutrient of concern is iron. Many children’s vitamins purposely don’t include iron because it can be hard on the stomach or toxic in too high amounts. Your pediatrician can help identify what’s a safe level for your kiddo. If your doctor recommends an iron supplement for your child and it’s not part of their vitamin, there are special iron supplements for kids that specifically contain the mineral in an easy-to-absorb form.

Here are our 5 choices for the best vitamins for kids 2024

First Day Kids Multivitamin - best kids gummy vitamins

First Day

$36

1. Kids Daily Essential

Ages: 4 and older

Dosage: 2 gummies daily

First Day Kids Daily Essential is another direct-to-consumer vitamin that uses fruits and vegetables to source nutrients. The gummies are flavored with orange and strawberries for natural flavoring and coloring—so no artificial ingredients here either. Each gummy contains 1 gram of sugar (2 grams per serving) which is still much less than most of the other gummy vitamins on the market. First Day purposely includes fewer nutrients in amounts less than the daily value for the vitamins. They believe most kids get at least some of the vitamins they need from food, making this a good choice for parents who want to fill in the gaps without overdoing it.

Hiya Kids Multivitamin - best kids chewable vitamins

Hiya

$30

2. Kids Daily Multivitamin

Ages: 2 and older

Dosage: 1 tablet daily

Hiya Kids Daily Multivitamin is a chewable, non-gummy vitamin sweetened with monk fruit and mannitol instead of sugar. Free from artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, the brand uses a blend of powdered organic fruits and vegetables to create a product with 15 essential nutrients. It’s gluten-free, vegan, GMO-free, and safe for allergies. Plus, the subscription-based service conveniently ships to your door. The vitamins come with a fun glass bottle and stickers kids can use to personalize.

SmartyPants Organic Kids Vitamin

SmartyPants

$21.99

3. Organic Kids Formula

Ages: 4 and older (a Toddler Formula is also available for 2- to 3-year-olds)

Dosage: 4 gummies daily

SmartyPants vitamins are designed to meet most of your child’s nutrient needs and offer different options depending on age or if you prefer organic ingredients. The Kids Formula and Organic Kids Formula vary slightly in the nutrients they provide, but both stand out because they include omega-3 to support brain health. Sweetened with cane sugar, SmartyPants gummies are GMO-free and don’t contain artificial colors or flavors. Although these vitamins have a tad more sugar than the others (5 grams per serving), they are available in different flavors so kids can choose their favorite.

Ritual Essential for Kids - best kids vitamins

Ritual

$33

4. Essential for Kids Multivitamin

Ages: 4 to 12

Dosage: 3 gummies daily

Ritual Essential for Kids Multivitamin is a sugar-free gummy that provides 12 nutrients to support brain, heart, and bone health. The gummies are sweetened with monk fruit with no artificial sweeteners. They are also gluten-free and non-GMO and come in a yummy orange flavor. DHA, an omega-3 essential for brain development, and prebiotic fiber for gut health are great additions to Ritual’s product that are missing from most kids’ vitamins on the market.

Thorne Kids Multi+ - best dissolvable kids vitamins

Thorne

$36

5. Kids Multi+

Ages: 4 to 12

Dosage: 1 disc daily

If the texture of chewable tablets or gummies isn’t your child’s preference, Thorne’s Kids Multi+ is a great option. It’s a strawberry-kiwi-flavored dissolvable disc that dissolves in water, smoothies, or even yogurt. Thorne uses highly tested and bioavailable ingredients and includes omega-3 fatty acids from vegan sources. It also contains two unique phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, that research suggests can protect eyes against blue light exposure from screens. It’s sugar-free and sweetened with stevia and xylitol, a sugar alcohol that may benefit your child’s teeth.

Sources

Łuszczki E, Sobek G, Bartosiewicz A, et al. Analysis of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by Children in School Canteens Depending on Selected Sociodemographic Factors. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(7):397. Published 2019 Jul 22. doi:10.3390/medicina55070397

Roberts JE, Dennison J. The Photobiology of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the Eye. J Ophthalmol. 2015;2015:687173. doi:10.1155/2015/687173

A version of this story was originally published on Dec. 1, 2022. It has been updated.

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