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Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Toddlers

toddler girl eating cereal


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

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.
Last Updated: August 8, 2013