Kids who eat a balanced diet usually don't need a daily multivitamin. But for choosy eaters, a multi can help pick up some of the slack, says pediatrician Alan Greene, M.D., author of "Feeding Baby Green." Use these label-reading tips the next time you're shopping for your child's vitamins.



Fill in the gaps


Check labels for nutrients most likely to be missing from your kid's diet, such as vitamin D, calcium, iron, folate and zinc. Most multis contain little calcium, so if your child doesn't consume much dairy or fortified food, consider a separate calcium supplement.



Do D diligence


Look for at least 400 IUs of vitamin D3 (not D2 or simply D). Vitamin D3, which may also be listed as cholecalciferol or calciol, is thought to be better absorbed than other kinds.



Avoid mercury


If the multi contains omega-3s from fish, look for a statement that the product has been certified free of heavy metals such as mercury and PCBs.



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