The only vitamin kids really need is vitamin D. Children in the U.S. do not meet their recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D. For children 1 to 3 years is 300 IU per day, double that for children 9 to 13 years.
Four cups of milk—or four servings of fortified dairy products such as yogurt or cheese—contain the RDA of vitamin D for the older kids, but milk consumption is on the decline, leading to what some health experts worry is a vitamin D deficiency in young kids and some adults.
But a recent editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine called into question the efficacy of multivitamins. The journal concluded that taking vitamin and mineral supplements does not boost health in any significant way.
For parents who do wish to supplement with vitamins, they are cautioned to keep them out of reach of their kids. In fruity flavors and gummy forms, they look and taste just like candy. More than 60,000 people suffer from vitamin overdoses every year.