Toddlers who eat a variety of foods from all the food groups, grow well and look healthy probably don’t need extra vitamins or minerals.
The possible exception is vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important for the healthy development of bones and teeth. It may also help prevent some chronic diseases later in life, such as diabetes.
Our bodies get vitamin D from some foods and beverages as well as from sun exposure. But B.C. doesn’t get enough sun for year round vitamin D production, and young children should be protected from direct sunlight, so it’s very important that toddlers get enough vitamin D from foods.
Children over 12 months need 600IU vitamin D per day. Food sources of vitamin D include:
- 1 egg: 25 IU
- 5 ml (1 tsp.) margarine: 25 IU
- 30 g (1 oz.) salmon: 100 IU
- 250 ml (1 cup) cow’s milk: * 100 IU
- 250 ml (1 cup) formula: 100 IU
**Cow’s milk is NOT recommended before 9 months of age.
Call Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC (8-1-1) for information about vitamin D food sources and supplements.
Helpful Tips Regarding Supplements
- Iron deficiency can negatively affect growth and brain development. If your toddler is not eating iron rich foods or is a vegetarian or vegan, talk with your doctor.
- If you give your toddler a vitamin and mineral supplement, choose one approved for your toddler’s age. Your pharmacist can help you find the right one.
- Don’t give cod liver oil to your toddler. Cod liver oil contains too much vitamin A for toddlers –high levels of vitamin A can be poisonous.
- Don’t call supplements "candy" or "sweets". Keep them out of sight and out of reach. Toddlers can overdose on vitamin and mineral supplements.