Could giving your child vitamins be dangerous?

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Like most healthy 4-year-old boys, Sean Miller loves to play.

So, to make sure he gets all the fuel he needs for his growing body and busy lifestyle, his mom, Kate Miller, gives him a daily vitamin.

"He likes his fruit and veggies but he's not really consistent everyday so that's why we take a vitamin to make sure that we get all of our vitamins and mineral every day," Miller said.

Pediatrician Dr. Matthew Kornegay says many children can be picky eaters, so lots of parents rely on vitamin supplements. In 2008, American children consumed more than $1 billion in vitamin supplements.

For the most part, supplements are safe, but the American Dietetic Association has found some young children get excessive doses of certain ones.

"But there are some like Vitamin-A that can be taken even at normal doses and sometimes still be toxic in their effects," Kornegay said.

Vitamin A promotes healthy eye sight and is found in green, leafy veggies. Children who get plenty of spinach or collards or the like, are getting enough of it. If they take a multivitamin, they could be getting way more than they need.

This supplement provides 84 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A for toddlers ages 2-4 and 42 percent for children older than 4. Even though it's rare, Dr. Kornegay says that too much Vitamin A can lead to serious problems.

"The biggest thing with Vitamin A is you can have liver problems resulting in cirrhosis in its greatest quantities," Kornegay said

According to Kornegay, symptoms could include nausea, vomiting, just generally not feeling well and hair loss.

Kornegay says parents should always check with their doctors before giving children supplements, because too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Researchers have also found small children to be at risk of getting more zinc and folate than they need through vitamin supplements.

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