Nutrition and Eating

Fortified Cereals: Could My Child Be Getting Too Many Vitamins?

Most cereals marketed to children these days tout the amount of vitamins they contain. But, should you ever worry about your child getting too many vitamins?

The answer: “No. I’ve never heard of anyone overdosing on Cheerios. They’re fine,” John Markovich MD, a pediatrician at Group Health – Anderson, laughs.

The Real Concern: Multivitamins

If there’s anything you should be concerned about, Dr. Markovich says it's multivitamins. "I'm actually OK with kids taking a multivitamin, but parents should talk to their doctor beforehand because most kids, if they eat a healthy diet, won't need them," Dr. Markovich explains.

“You should keep those with your medicines or locked up somewhere so only mom and dad can give them out,” he says.

Since most vitamins look like candy, some kids will mistake them for such and may end up eating too many.

What Happens If My Child Overdoses on Vitamins?

Symptoms of an overdose vary, depending on what vitamins your child ingested; however, the most common vitamin to overdose on is iron.

An iron overdose can trigger gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, like:

  • Severe constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Black, and possibly, bloody stools
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting blood

“More serious things happen as you get higher up in doses. For somebody who’s eaten the whole bottle, they may need to go to the emergency department,” Dr. Markovich says.

If your child has eaten more than the recommended dose of vitamins, make sure you call either the poison control center or your pediatrician for further advice.

Tags Nutrition and Eating