The Best Kids Probiotics to Buy in 2021

Probiotics have long been touted by the health-focused as offering potential relief from some chronic health conditions, and they’re not just for adults. Children may also be able to benefit from these healthy live cultures, and there are quite a few probiotic supplements and gummies intended for the younger set.

If you’re not quite sure what probiotics do, whether your kiddo needs one, or how to choose the best kids probiotics, check out our buyer’s guide for a quick FAQ as well as our rundown of your best bets.

What is a probiotic?

Though probiotic supplements are often just termed “probiotics”, a probiotic is technically any one of many kinds of live microorganisms which may have a positive effect on overall health, with particular focus on the gut. A quality probiotic supplement combines multiple probiotic strains into one powder, pill, or gummy.

Probiotics are intended to improve and restore existing gut flora, creating an environment that’s more receptive to digestion. This is purported to improve the absorption of water and nutrients present in food while also putting a stop to constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and reflux.

Probiotics are naturally present in some fermented foods, like yogurt. They are also available in capsule, gummy, and powder supplements.

What makes a probiotic suitable for kids?

The live microorganisms that may be used in probiotics don’t vary depending on the supplement’s intended age group; instead, it’s the size of the dosage that changes. If you’re looking to treat a chronic health condition in your child, it’s important that you always consult with your pediatrician before beginning a new over the counter treatment, including probiotics. Finally, it’s important to choose a delivery method your child can tolerate. Some kids are more comfortable swallowing capsules than others, but powdered and gummy options are available to those who find this difficult.

Editor’s Note: Probiotics that contain multiple flora culture strains are preferred as they better replicate the diversity found in the human gut.

How do I know if my kids need probiotics?

Probiotics aren’t always necessary for adults OR children, but if your child has chronic digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea, recurring head colds, or skin conditions like eczema, a probiotic supplement may help them resolve.

Some infants and children may be more vulnerable to an imbalance of microflora than others. Babies born via cesarean section miss out on the natural transfer of microflora they would receive as they pass through the birth canal, and those fed with formula do not receive the microflora present in breast milk. Babies and children may also be vulnerable to an imbalance if mom had low blood sugar, eczema, or weight issues during her pregnancy.

Is it smart to give my kids probiotics if they don’t have digestive issues?

Although probiotics are commonly associated with digestive issues, they may play a positive role in resolving other chronic health conditions. If your child seems to have a chronic cold or is suffering from eczema, a probiotic may have a positive impact. It’s always essential to consult with your pediatrician before treating any condition with a probiotic, and it’s also wise to discuss whether or not using a supplement is appropriate if your child doesn’t have any health conditions that may make it relevant.

Can I share my probiotics with my kids?

As we noted, while there’s no difference in the types of microflora being used in probiotic supplements based on intended age group, dosages can vary pretty drastically. A dosage that may have a healthy and comfortable impact on an adult’s body can be too high for kids, so if your probiotic’s dose is a single pill, it’s probably not wise to share it with your child.

There’s a caveat here, which is that a fair amount of probiotic supplements for adults have a dosage of more than one pill at a time. This means that the dosage can reasonably be broken down into a size that’s more appropriate for children, but you should always consult with your pediatrician before dosing your child with a probiotic meant for adults.

It also pays off to read the whole label of your supplement, which may include dosing information for kids or let you know that it’s not appropriate for them. Finally, powdered supplements are often a great pick for a family that’s looking to share a probiotic, as doses can easily be varied and are often indicated for both adults and children right on the label.

Can kids with food allergies use probiotics?

While probiotics are designed to promote good health, they can often be a double-edged sword for people with allergies. This is because dairy, soy, eggs, and gluten may be present in some supplements, all of which are common allergens that can cause severe or fatal reactions in those who are seriously allergic.

Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that probiotics are off the table for kids or adults with allergies. There are supplements available that eschew these allergens, but as with all products, it’s essential to read the allergen warning to be sure you’re avoiding any unwanted triggers.

What should I avoid when choosing probiotics for my kids?

Other than allergens for those who may be triggered, the most important thing to avoid in a probiotic for your child is a supplement that doesn’t use multiple strains of microflora. This doesn’t make the supplement dangerous, but it does make it minimally effective and likely not as good of an investment in their health as a supplement which uses a wider variety of strains.

Is there any chance probiotics will have a negative effect on my child?

Although probiotics are thought of as a tool for improving health, it’s true that the potential for less-pleasant side effects exists. Not everyone experiences them, and they often even out within a few days after the body adjusts to the presence of new microflora. They can include gas, bloating, headaches, and histamine reactions. If side effects seem to be ongoing without relief, stop taking the probiotic immediately, especially if an allergy is suspected.

Our Top Picks

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#1 The Probonix Kids

Editors Choice

Giving medicine and supplements to younger kids is no small task, especially when it has an unpleasant taste or comes in the form of a hefty pill that must be swallowed. Supplements available in drop form, like Probonix (check price on Amazon), are much easier to administer — drops can be placed either over or under the tongue, and can also be sneaked into a beverage without being noticed.

There’s no yucky medicine taste here, as Probonix has a pleasantly sweet grape flavor that’s ideal for the younger set. Unlike some other liquid probiotic supplements, Probonix requires no refrigeration, so storing the drops is stress free. The supplement also uses a diverse range of microflora strains; eight are included, including well-known L. acidophilus and B. bifidum.

What We Love:

  • Probonix is administered in the form of drops, so there’s no big pills for kids to swallow and it could easily be placed in a cold drink
  • It has a pleasant grape taste, so kids won’t feel negatively about taking it

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#2 The Hyperbiotics PRO-Kids

Best Budget Buy

If swallowing pills is a struggle in your household, you may be wondering how to help your kids get comfortable with the action without overwhelming them or putting them in danger. The micropearl delivery system seen in tiny Hyperbiotics (check price on Amazon) pills makes them a great option for preparing kids for larger vitamins and medications; they’re so small that they go down easily, helping to assuage fear about taking medications.

The time-release formula is also designed to bypass the stomach, instead activating within the intestinal tract where probiotics are generally most effective. Finally, these little pills don’t come with a big price tag — if you’d like to see if probiotics can play a positive role in your child’s health, these are a budget-friendly investment.

What We Love:

  • The pills are extremely small, so they’re great practice for swallowing medication and can help take some of the fear out of it for younger kids
  • The micropearl delivery system helps to preserve the probiotic’s efficacy by bypassing the stomach and activating in the intestine

Watch out for:

  • Because they’re a pill, they’re never safe for kids under three, and some younger kids may still struggle a bit with taking them (don’t worry, though they’re intended for swallowing, but they can still be chewed)

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#3 The up4 Kids Cubes

Best probiotics supplement

When ingredients like gluten and soy are problem allergens for your child, you find yourself doing a lot of legwork to make sure the products you give them are safe. It can make finding things like supplements and vitamins a bit harder, but picks like these tasty vanilla melt cubes from up4 Kids (check price on Amazon) are a great find. They’re free of gluten, soy, and preservatives, and they’re even certified kosher.

There’s also no struggle to swallow a pill here, as these little cubes melt in your child’s mouth with no unpleasant taste left behind. They contain a blend of two types of microflora as well as a healthy vitamin D boost that’s great for your little one’s bone health.

What We Love:

  • There’s no sugar, gluten, soy, or preservatives in this shelf-stable probiotic
  • Swallowing a pill isn’t necessary here, as these cubes melt in your child’s mouth with a pleasant vanilla taste

Watch out for:

  • There are only two strains of microflora here, so it’s a less diverse probiotic than some competitors; also, the melting delivery method isn’t safe for kids under three, as it can pose a choking hazard

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#4 The Culturelle Kids Chewable Daily

Best cchewable probiotic

Culturelle (check price on Amazon) has long been a trusted brand in providing probiotics to support adult digestive health, so it’s not a surprise that their chewable daily probiotic for kids is the number one most recommended brand by pediatricians. It’s great for kids over three, offering a boost of active ingredient lactobacillus rhamnosus GG that’s intended to reduce the occurrence of loose stools and upset stomachs.

The round, soft supplement has a sweet berry tang that kids will enjoy, and it doesn’t have extra unwanted ingredients and allergens like yeast, soy, lactose/dairy, gluten, preservatives, and artificial colors. While this supplement does only contain one strain of microflora, LGG is the most clinically studied probiotic strain in terms of treating children’s digestive and immune issues, so it’s a probiotic you can trust.

What We Love:

  • Culturelle is a trusted brand, and this pick comes highly recommended by pediatricians
  • No pill-swallowing is required, and this chewable has a pleasant berry taste your kids will enjoy

Watch out for:

  • There’s only one probiotic strain present in this supplement; however, it’s the most clinically-researched strain for treating children

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#5 The Nordic Naturals Probiotic Gummies

Best all natural

When your child is suffering from long-term regularity issues and stomach pains, the search for a lasting solution is constant. All-natural probiotic gummies, like these berry-flavored NordicFlora gummies from Nordic Naturals (check price on Amazon), may provide the relief your little one needs. These vegetarian, dairy-free, gelatin-free, and non-GMO chewables contain 1.5 billion live cultures as well as prebiotic dietary fiber that can have a positive impact on your child’s digestion.

They’re suitable for kids over two, and no refrigeration is necessary to preserve this supplement. These gummies are also a bit friendlier on the wallet than some other picks, offering 60 doses at the same price others charge for 30.

What We Love:

  • They’re all natural, vegetarian, and dairy-free
  • They’re economically sized and priced

Watch out for:

  • The only microflora strain in this supplement is bacillus coagulans, so there’s no probiotic blend here, which is sometimes more effective

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#6 The FloraTummys Probiotics for Kids

Best for kids with food allergies

There’s no sugar-coating it: life is tough when your kiddo has food allergies. It can lead to hyper-vigilance and anxiety when choosing new products, so finding a trustworthy brand that other parents of allergy kids swear by can be a balm. FloraTummys (check price on Amazon) is a pick that’s free of wheat, gluten, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, nuts, soybeans, dairy, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, and lupine — in other words, all the major allergen groups are avoided here, making it a top pick for families where food allergies are a consideration.

The gentle, taste-free powdered formula is safe for children over one year, and individual packets can easily be added to breast milk, formula, other beverages, or food without detection.

What We Love:

  • It’s an ideal choice if food allergies are a consideration for your family, as it carefully avoids all the most common allergens
  • It comes in a taste-free powder and is safe for children at one year, so it’s usable earlier than many kids’ probiotics and administering it is easy

Watch out for:

  • The only microflora strain in this supplement is bacillus coagulans, so there’s no probiotic blend here, which is sometimes more effective

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#7 The Culturelle Baby Calm + Comfort Probiotics

Best for infants

While there are a number of quality probiotics on the market for kids, most of them aim for a higher age range, with few designed for those under three. Culturelle’s Baby Calm + Comfort (check price on Amazon) offers a probiotic with a dose that’s appropriate for infants, and the inclusion of soothing natural chamomile means these easy-dosing drops provide both relief from baby’s occasional digestive upset and a natural calm that promotes relaxation and healthy sleep.

The drops are free of dairy, sugar, and gluten, and can be dosed directly into baby’s open mouth or placed into their bottle of breast milk or formula. They may offer relief to babies who struggle with gas, indigestion, and sleeplessness, bringing more restful nights to little ones and their parents alike.

What We Love:

  • The dosage here is safe for newborns, and the easy-to-administer drops are free of dairy, soy, and gluten
  • These drops contain chamomile extract, which promotes feelings of calm and restful sleep

Watch out for:

  • These probiotics are for babies, so they won’t be as effective for kids over a year old because of their low dose

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Editor’s Note: If your child is prescribed an antibiotic while taking a daily probiotic, it is important the two are not taken at the same time as they may counteract each other. For example, if an antibiotic is taken in the morning and in the evening, the probiotic should be taken in the afternoon. Always check this with your physician and ask for their advice.

And The Winner Is…

A diverse range of microflora strains helps to create the most effective probiotics, and with eight strains, Probonix Kids (check price on Amazon) offers one of the most diverse products on our list. It’s also easy to administer thanks to a drop-dosing formula that keeps the dropper inside the cap for convenience and sanitation. One small bottle offers a full month’s dose, and no refrigeration is needed to preserve the product. There’s also no objectionable flavors here, as the tangy grape flavor of the drops is kid-approved and could easily be sneaked into a juice or yogurt without being noticed.

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