Children's Health and Wellness

Beware of Supplements for Kids

Dietary supplements and herbal mixtures aimed at your children may be a waste of your money—and a threat to their health.

Dietary supplement makers advertise herbs and supplements as remedies for everything from colds and asthma to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The FDA has no control over the quality and reliability of food supplements because they are not labeled as drugs.

Many of these products have not been proven to provide any benefit and, in some cases, may even present safety risks.

Pointers for parents

  • Don’t give herbal remedies or dietary supplements other than a simple child-sized multiple vitamin. 

  • Don't buy "miracle drugs" or "cure-alls."

  • Beware of supplements with money-back guarantees.

  • Avoid supplements only available from one source, with costs paid up front.

  • Get information about herbs or supplements from reputable sources.

  • Consult your doctor before changing your child's diet.

  • Check side effects of supplements and potential food and drug interactions.

Print Source: Dietary Supplements: Inpatient Policies in US Children's Hospitals. Gardiner, Paula. Pediatrics. 2008, Issue 121, Edition 4, pp. e775-781.
Online Source: Office of Dietary Supplementshttp://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/pubs/partnersbrochure.asp
Online Source: National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicinehttp://nccam.nih.gov/health/supplements/wiseuse.htm
Online Source: FDAhttp://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/ConsumerInformation/ucm191930.htm
Author: Purpura, Gail
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Poulson, Brittany, RD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/9/2012
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