or tissue and bone formation and maintenance, good immune responses, energy production from food and even the establishment of red blood cells, vitamins are a critical part of a child’s health and development — but how can you make sure they’re getting what they need?

The first line of defense

Moms and dads in 2016 are the most health-conscious generation of parents to exist thus far. The sheer amount of nutritional information available to them means that today’s kids are given a better chance at a healthy lifestyle than any of those who came before them.

Unfortunately, information isn’t always enough. While parents might be aware that their children require six servings of fruit and vegetables a day, just as many grain products and up to four cups of milk (according to Canada’s Food Guide), it sometimes feels like an unattainable goal. As any parent knows, kids can be fussy eaters, and the challenge of arguing with a two-year-old about the importance of eating carrots can put a strain on even the most dedicated parents. Couple this with the fact that parenthood is yet another demand in our increasingly busy world and it’s easy to see how children might not be getting all of their dietary needs.

Filling in the gap

Luckily, if children might not be getting enough vitamins or minerals from their food, there are alternative methods to bridge the shortfall in their vitamin and mineral requirements. One often overlooked vitamin that is crucial to good health is vitamin A. Health Canada recommends a diet with lots of dark green and orange vegetables, rich in vitamin A, to help facilitate normal bone and hair growth, and optimal night vision.

Unfortunately, fussy eating habits and a preference for sodas and snacks can quickly divert from consuming nutrient-rich carrots and spinach at the dinner table. If your child is not particularly fond of eating fortified cereals, seafood or other meats, zinc deficiency is another issue that can compromise growth and  immune function.

Parents can minimize the chance of nutrient deficiencies by supplementing their child’s diet with multivitamins.

Flintstones® vitamins, for one, can help boost children’s vitamin C intake, which has been linked to everything from helping a child’s body heal wounds and the development of  bones, teeth, cartilage and gums to name a few. They also contain another neglected red blood cell forming component: iron.

Iron is one of the building blocks of energy which  is vital to a child’s  development. For vegetarian and vegan families, it’s important to monitor children’s iron levels for potential  deficiency and anemia — supplementing if necessary. According to the Government of Canada, the symptoms of anemia can “include reduced immune function and resistance to infection, impaired cognitive performance and behaviour.” These preventable issues highlight the important role iron supplements can play to complement the diet.

Other nutrients that might be missing from a child’s diet — like calcium or vitamin D — can also be provided with the use of multivitamins, too.