How much iron do children need? Every parent should know


Do you wonder why your child is always tired, has no appetite and is inattentive? These symptoms could be attributed to the lack of iron, an essential mineral for the health and development of the little ones.


Babies are born with a reserve of iron, which is enough for them for the first 6 months of life. After that, children need 8 times more iron than adults to develop harmoniously. The lack of iron prevents oxygenation of body tissues, a process that affects vital functions and can cause health problems. Anemia is one of the conditions that children with iron deficiency suffer from.

The daily requirement of iron

On average, children need approx 7-10 mg of iron each day, depending on age. Therefore, children’s diet must be diversified and rich in foods that contain this mineral.

Age, required iron

0-6 months – 0.27 mg/day

7-12 months – 11 mg/day

1-3 years – 7 mg/day

4-8 years – 10 mg/day

9-13 years 8 mg/day

14-18 years – 11 mg/day (boys) and 15 mg/day (girls)

Iron sources

· Breast milk and iron-fortified milk powder

Beans, beets, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, peas, sweet potatoes

· Dried fruits: figs, apricots, raisins, plums

· Whole grains

· Fatty fish

· Eggs

How much iron is in a spoonful of:

· egg – 0.38 mg

· chicken meat – 0.15 mg

· beef – 0.36 mg

· sweet potatoes – 0.10 mg

· broccoli – 0.09 mg

Problems caused by iron deficiency in children

· anemia

· pale skin

· nails that break easily

· fatigue

· lack of appetite

· tachycardia (acceleration of the heartbeat)

· cold hands and feet

· lack of concentration

· delay in the development of walking and speaking

INFO: Iron is better absorbed if it is combined with products rich in vitamin C.

Question: What benefits does iron bring to the child’s development process?

Answers Nicoleta Tupiță, nutrition specialist

Iron-rich foods add extra balance to the body’s development and help it face daily challenges. At the same time, the little one will improve his school performance, because iron is one of those minerals that contribute to the optimization of cognitive abilities.

Choosing a diet rich in food nutrients, adapted for each age stage that the child goes through, can prevent the onset of anemia and much more serious health problems.

Read also: What is good to eat if you have anemia. What is the iron requirement according to age