More and more pediatric specialists are following the lead of Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia by discouraging the use of all vitamins and supplements for kids. The reasoning behind this trend is “because vitamins and dietary supplements are essentially unregulated, there is no sound information about adverse effects, drug interactions or even standard dosing for the vast majority, stated Sarah Rush, pharmacy manager for the Philadelphia facility. “Therefore, we feel it is unethical to give them to sick children.”
Although claims suggesting “powerful” benefits regarding children’s vitamins abound, the Federal Trade Commission is quick to note that few have been scientifically proven, whether for healthy or sick children. In fact, the agency cited “deceptive claims made by NBTY of Long Island regarding the potential health benefits of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) found in the Marvel Hero-themed children’s vitamins sold between May 2008-September 2010. As a result, NBTY was forced to issue more than $425,000 in refunds to consumers who bought them under the labels including Disney Princesses and Spiderman vitamins, etc.
In another case, Laura Smith, legal director for Connecticut-based “Truth in Advertising” said her
Organization recently forced vitamin maker Nourishlife to change its marketing claims regarding its brand “Speak,” which were targeted for kids with apraxia as well as autism.
Parents who give their kids vitamins are advised to speak with their family doctors to see if there are real benefits to doing so, and to question healthcare providers who recommend specific brands as to their reasoning behind it (including whether or not the practioners have a financial stake in the companies).
Readers can also learn more about any side effects or recalls involving any vitamins or supplements by visiting the FDA website at www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm