If you are looking for science-backed multivitamins for kids that will support your child’s growth and immunity than you are at the right place!
In this article, we will cover which are the most important nutrients that should be in a high-quality multivitamin product.
Furthermore, we will give you suggestions for multivitamins we independently researched. You can learn more about our review process below.
Let’s dive right in!
TL; DR – Here is What You Should Know
- Vitamin D is the most common vitamin deficiency amongst children
- Vitamin D and calcium are critical for proper growth and bone development
- Zinc is effective for immune support only in the form of lozenges
- Vitamin C is effective only if used as a long-term prophylaxis
If you are just looking to buy the best ones, below is a comparison table of our recommendations for 4-year-olds and above. Keep reading to find out how we researched and picked them.
Multivitamins for Kids: Do They Need Them?
If your child is eating a healthy and balanced diet, then it might not need supplements at all. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most children.
Multivitamins are a great option for children who are:
- Having gastrointestinal problems due to surgeries, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel diseases
- Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
- Extremely picky eaters
Children with celiac disease for example are commonly deficient in calcium, iron and zinc.  This has a potentially negative effect on the child’s growth and immunity. Inflammatory bowel diseases and other conditions can also lead to problems absorbing multiple nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin D.
A balanced vegetarian diet can provide all the essential nutrients for the proper development of a child. However, special attention should be given to certain deficiencies in more strict diets. Vegans and vegetarians are at an increased risk of calcium and iron deficiency. 
Picky eating is another common dietary problem among children. A study with over 7000 kids found out that amongst picky eaters, low intakes of zinc and iron are much more common. 
What Should Be in Multivitamins for Kids?
This vitamin works together with calcium to build your child’s bones and keep them strong. Supplementation with it is very important during the winter season to prevent rickets. 
A review from 2018 also reported multiple studies suggesting that vitamin D status is lower in children with scoliosis when compared to controls. 
Another study with 600 students showed that vitamin D supplementation led to lower risk and reduced viral loads for various common infections. 
A recent meta-analysis published last year included 25 randomized controlled trials with a total of 11 321 participants from all ages. It showed that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory infections amongst all participants. 
However, the supplementation was effective only when the dosage was daily or weekly. Monthly bolus doses were not effective, which also supported by other studies. 
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it should be taken with a high-fat meal to be absorbed properly. According to the current recommendations, children aged 1-10 should be given between 500-2000 UI (15-50mkg) per day. 
Another of Cochrane Collaboration’s meta-analysis investigated the effect of vitamin C on colds. It involved 29 controlled studies with a total of 11 306 participants. 
The study found out that the only benefit from vitamin C supplementation is in reducing the length of colds by an average of 8% in adults and 13% in children. This effect occurs only if vitamin C is taken regularly as prophylaxis.
However, vitamin C supplementation was not effective if it started after the onset of the symptoms.
Iron is another essential nutrient with a key role in a child’s growth and development. Iron deficiency is a common problem amongst children and often leads to a condition called iron-deficiency anemia.
A child aged 4-8 years of age needs around 10 mg of iron per day. If the child has certain health conditions, it is overweight or obese, it doesn’t eat enough iron-rich foods or it follows a restrictive diet such as veganism than the child is at high risk of iron deficiency.
In such cases, supplementation is recommended. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption.
Calcium is another one of the most deficient micronutrients amongst children. A study showed that over 40% of the US population does not get enough calcium from their diet. 
While adults have a large reservoir of it in the bones, calcium is crucial for optimal skeletal growth and development in children.
The recommended amount for supplementation is 1 000 mg/day. The best sources are dairy products but if the child has allergies or other health problems preventing them from consuming milk products, then supplementation is recommended.
If too much calcium supplement is consumed it might have side effects like bloating and constipation, so stay within the recommendations.
Zinc is an essential microelement and its deficiency might cripple your child’s immune system. 
This is why zinc supplementation has been widely researched for possible effectiveness against common respiratory infections, especially in children. Most of the studies we have to reveal positive results when zinc is used in the form of throat lozenges.
A massive meta-analysis by Cochrane Collaboration has suggested that zinc lozenges might be effective in reducing the duration of common cold if administered within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. 
However, the scientists also note that the data is heterogeneous and no specific recommendation could be given for zinc supplementation.
A randomized control trial revealed that daily supplementation of 5mg of zinc during 12 months significantly decreased the incidence of respiratory infections and diarrheal disease episodes in Colombian children. 
In Thai children, zinc showed effectiveness in reducing the lengths and severity of pneumonia. 
A smaller but more recent meta-analysis also suggested that zinc lozenges can reduce the duration of most symptoms of a cold.   The most effective forms for the lozenges seem to be zinc gluconate and zinc acetate.
What Are the Best Multivitamins for Kids?
Best Overall – Essential for Kids 4+ by Ritual
This 3-in-1 multivitamin comes packed with vegan Omega-3 DHA and fiber to support the nutrient gaps in children who tend to be picky eaters. Better yet, this product is naturally sweetened with monk fruit and is vegan friendly.
Each serving of Essential for Kids 4+ provides children with 50 mg of Omega-3 DHA, 3 grams of fiber, and 12 traceable ingredients. It is recommended for children ages 4-12 to take 3 gummies per day to help support normal immune function, brain health, and bone health.
Ritual provides not only the highest quality multivitamin for children but also the purest since it conducts 3rd party testing for heavy metals, microbes, allergens, and other contaminants.
Best for Immune System – Elderberry Gummies by Essential Elements
This 4-in-1 formula contains the major immune-boosting ingredients of Sambucus nigra (Black Elderberries), Vitamin C, Echinacea purpurea, and Propolis. These gummies are raspberry-flavored and gluten-free.
A systematic review of multiple human trials has shown that elderberries might reduce symptoms of respiratory infections. 
A randomized controlled trial, with 312 participants also suggested that the extract of the elderberry fruit reduced the severity and duration of a cold significantly more than placebo. 
It is recommended for children 4 years and older to take 2 gummies per day.
Best for Brain Health – Vegan Omega 3 by Future Kind
Future Kind has produced a Vegan Omega-3 sourced from algae that supports brain health, eye health, and healthy joints.
This product is the only plant-based Omega-3 alternative that contains significant levels of EPA and DHA. Each serving of Vegan Omega 3 provides children with 75 mg of EPA and150 mg of DHA.
Both EPA and DHA play major roles in child development and cognition and it is recommended for children 4 years and older to consume at least 600mg of DHA and EPA combined daily, with a minimum of 200mg of DHA.
It is recommended to take 1 softgel daily of Vegan Omega 3. Although this product is safe for most people to consume, parents should consult with a physician first before allowing their child to use this product.
Best Multivitamin Syrup – Vital Vits
This supplement is also suitable for younger kids – 2-year-olds and up. The product is in liquid form and comes with a dropper.
It contains a wide variety of herbs and greens with various health benefits. The most notable ones are:
- Stinging nettle leaf – according to randomized, double-blind studies it helps reduce allergy symptoms, which can be helpful for children with seasonal allergic rhinitis. 
- Bilberries – they are an even more potent cousin of blueberries. They have the highest content of anthocyanins. Those are antioxidants that protect the DNA from harmful factors, reducing damage with more than 20%. This is also confirmed in human trials. 
- Parsley extract – it contains apigenin which potent anti-inflammatory properties according to in vitro. 
The extract also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin A and C, although their exact amounts are not specified
The Take-Home Message Is
Children who have a healthy whole-food-based diet and adequate sun exposure throughout the whole year probably doesn’t need any multivitamin.
Otherwise, your children might not be consuming enough vitamins and minerals for their optimal growth and development.
In this case, make sure to select only high-quality and 3-rd party tested supplements that contain adequate doses for your child’s age.