Symptoms of Vitamin Overdose in Children

Vitamins are important compounds that your child needs for effective growth, function and health. With a healthy diet and a children’s multivitamin, you can be assured that your child is receiving enough of each vitamin for good health. Many children’s vitamins are chewable and taste similar to candy, so the possibility of an overdose is real. Knowing the symptoms of vitamin overdose can help you react quickly.

Children's vitamins look and taste like candy. Beware of the symptoms of overdose. (Image: belchonock/iStock/Getty Images)

Immediate Symptoms of Overdose

The most common and immediate symptoms of a vitamin overdose are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headache. These symptoms can occur when excess is consumed of any of the vitamins. When sudden, unexplained symptoms occur, it is important to ask your child if he consumed anything out of the ordinary, including more than one multivitamin. With any toxicity, immediately contact Poison Control or call 911.

Changes in Skin's Appearance

With overdoses of certain vitamins, changes in the skin’s appearance may take place. The most concerning change is a yellowing of the skin, or jaundice, which signals that the liver is under stress. Excess vitamin A can cause the skin to peel. Overdoses of vitamins B-3 and B-12 can cause itching and allergic reactions. Vitamin E and folic acid, when taken in excess can cause a rash. Look for symptoms like dry, cracked skin or lips and increased skin itchiness.

Overdosing with Children's Multivitamins

One of the biggest concerns with an overdose on children’s chewable multivitamins is the sudden increase in iron intake. Iron acts as a poison when consumed in large amounts. Iron poisoning is the most common cause of poison-related deaths in American children. Initially, excess iron may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. But if there are large amounts in a child’s system, iron may cause liver damage and scarring to the stomach and intestines.

Detriments of Vitamin Overdose

It is important to realize that a vitamin overdose, in some cases, can cause more severe reactions like seizures and unconsciousness, permanent damage to organs and even death. If your child eats a balanced, healthy diet, there may not be a need to give your child a multivitamin each day. If you decide that your child needs a multivitamin, keep the bottle out of his reach. Educate your child on the danger of taking more than one each day, even though they taste like candy.

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