Best Probiotics for Kids (2024)

Written by:

Maia James

Looking for a different guide? Browse them all HERE.

With research provided by Michael Hopkins, Phd

Since we wrote our Adult Probiotics Guide, you guys have been asking about the best probiotics for kids. I called on Dr. Michael Hopkins to sort through the research and examine the brands you’ve asked about most.

This post breaks down what he found out.

Should a Child Take Probiotics?

The first thing I asked Dr. Hopkins to look into was if kids should take an oral probiotic supplement.

The conclusion he and I both reached is that yes, there’s quite a bit of solid data to support probiotic supplementation for adults and kids alike.

Probiotics work their magic by helping us break down materials we are unable to digest, produce essential vitamins, and fight off pathogens. Specifically, studies demonstrate probiotics’ potential to improve general immune function, skin disorders, colic in infants, respiratory conditions, and allergies. In pre-term or low birth weight infants, probiotic supplementation may help prevent necrotizing enterocolitis. And there are well-established benefits to probiotic supplementation in infant formula.

Importantly, there’s no evidence to suggest any risks for children or even infants/toddlers when it comes to probiotic supplementation. (One minor caveat to the above is that when it comes to the treatment of constipation, the current data suggest that probiotics are unlikely to be effective in children.)

Cheat Sheet: Which Probiotics Are Best for Children?

Hiya Makes the Best Probiotics for Kids

Dr. Hopkins and agree that the best probiotics for kids are made by Hiya, which has a clean ingredients list, third-party test results proving purity, and comes in eco-friendly packaging.

You’ll learn more about this brand–and eight others–below.

Best probiotics for kids--Hiya Daily Probiotic

What to Look for in Probiotics for Kids

Generally speaking, you can use the same criteria when choosing children’s probiotics as you would for adults, with the only clear contraindication being a severely immunocompromised individual.

You can go deep into Dr. Hopkins’ criteria in our Adult Probiotics Guide. What follows is a summary of the key points, especially as they pertain to the best probiotics for kids.

  1. Classes and strains of probiotics. Probiotic species can be divided into three broad classes, totaling dozens of strains. Most people will experience a greater benefit from probiotic supplementation if they choose a blend with a greater variety and number of strains. 
  2. Colony forming units. The number of probiotic microorganisms in each serving of a supplements is measured in Colony Forming Units, or CFUs. General guidelines are that there should be at least a billion CFUs in any probiotic supplement, but we prefer to see much more than this. It’s intuitive that CFU dosage should be lower for children just like the dosage of any medication. But Dr. Hopkins didn’t find any evidence to suggest that higher CFUs could be harmful to kids.
  3. Independent testing. The best probiotic brands conduct testing to ensure the potency and the purity of their supplement. We gave extra points to those brands that provided us with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) to prove their label’s claims.
  4. Added junk. When evaluating the best probiotics for kids, we screened for all the usual suspects: fillers, gums, flavors, sugars, and other additives.

Best Probiotics for Kids Vs. Best Probiotics for Adults

There are some key differences between probiotics for adults and those made for children. These include:

  1. Number of CFUs. Most brands of probiotics for kids have only on or two billion CFUs per serving. We believe that kids should have much higher doses.
  2. Classes and strains of probiotics. All but one of the brands we reviewed had only one class of probiotic in each formulation. And very few of the formulations contain more than two different probiotic strains. By comparison, most of the adult formulations in our Good and Best Stuff categories had 10 or more different strains of probiotics. The least well studied class of probiotics is soil-based. With these, it is recommended to be more cautious if you’re purchasing for children. 
  3. Type of pill. For obvious reasons, children’s probiotics tend to come in chewable form. In some cases, that makes it harder for them to meet our Good Stuff criteria due to additives, fillers, and sugar.  

Ranking the Best Probiotics for Kids

With the aforementioned criteria in mind, Dr. Hopkins and I set out to rank eight popular brands to determine the best probiotics for kids. Here is where we landed, from best to worst.

Best Stuff: The Best Probiotics for Kids

Hiya Daily Probiotic

Pros:

  • The only kids probiotic brand we reviewed that has more than one different class of probiotic, containing both cultured (lacto-bacillus) and soil-based strains.
  • One of the highest CFU counts (10 billion).
  • Contains a larch tree fiber prebiotic.
  • Gets our highest marks for transparency and third party lab testing, having provided us with COAs and prompt clear communication about their quality assurance process.
  • Chewables are more convenient than powder or liquid drops.
  • Contains no sugar, just monk fruit and teeth-friendly xylitol.
  • Come in a glass bottle with eco-friendly refill packages.

Cons:

  • Contain natural flavors.

Total CFUs: 10 billion
Total strains: 3
Cost per month: $30 ($15 for first month)

Seed Pediatric Daily Synbiotic

Pros:

  • The most CFUs of any brand we reviewed.
  • Third-party tested.
  • Includes a prebiotic.

Cons:

  • Contains only one class of probiotics (no yeast or soil-based strains).
  • Unable to provide COA due to proprietary concerns. 
  • Most expensive brand we reviewed.
  • Powder formula makes it less convenient to take.

Total CFUs: 20 billion
Total strains: 9
Cost per month: $50

Good Stuff: Good Enough Probiotics for Kids

Mary Ruth’s Kids Gummies

Pros:

  • Contains prebiotic alfalfa grass.
  • Third-party testing with ISO-10725 certified labs.
  • Contains only organic natural fruit sweeteners.
  • Liquid from Mary Ruth’s is also Good Stuff.

Cons:

  • Has only one class of probiotics (soil-based).
  • Low CFUs (2.5 billion).
  • Contains sunflower oil.
  • Includes natural flavors.

Total CFUs: 2.5 billion
Total strains: 5
Cost per month: $30

Llama Naturals Prebiotic & Probiotic

Pros:

  • Sweetened with organic fruit juice/puree and thickened with fruit pectin (vegan).
  • Contains prebiotics.
  • Best tasting, according to my household.

Cons:

  • Only 1 class of probiotic (soil-based).
  • Low CFUs (2 billion).
  • Contains rice flour.
  • Contains natural flavor.

Total CFUs: 1 billion
Total strains: 2
Cost per month: $25

Okay Stuff: Not the Best Probiotics for Kids

Culturelle (chewable or powder sachet)

Pros:

  • Organic.
  • Powder sachet contains the prebiotic inulin.
  • The chewables are sweetened with xylitol.
  • Most affordable brand we reviewed.

Cons:

  • Only 1 probiotic strain (lactobacillus rhamnosus).
  • Doesn’t appear to do any routine third-party testing and was not able to provide us with a COA for review.
  • Chewables contain several fillers, including microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, magnesium stearate, and natural flavors.

Total CFUs: 5 billion
Total strains: 1
Cost per month: $19

Florastor (powder)

Pros:

  • Vegetarian.

Cons:

  • Only 1 class of probiotics.
  • Contains maltodextrin.
  • Doesn’t disclose CFUs. (We are waiting to hear back from them.)

Total CFUs: ?
Total strains: 1
Cost per month: $22

Bad Stuff: The Worst Probiotics for Kids

Olly

We can’t recommend Olly probiotic gummies, as they contain cane sugar and glucose syrup, plus a variety of preservatives.

For more on probiotic supplementation for kids, Dr. Hopkins recommends Dr. Ruscio as a great source for more in depth discussion of probiotics and gut-health. Please comment with questions about these probiotic brands plus any others you may be wondering about!

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

Enjoying this guide?

Join our list of 60K families who rely on our free guides covering everything from milk to mattresses! Plus get access to exclusive deals.
Subscribe

Best Multivitamins for Kids (2024)

Posted on
We set out to rank the seven brands of kids multivitamins that you ask about most. Here is where we landed, from best to worst.
Image of a woman using red light therapy. | Gimme The Good Stuff

The Best Red Light Devices for Home Use

Posted on
With research provided by Michael Hopkins, PhD. According to those championing red light therapy (RLT) treatment, just a few minutes a day under the cool glow of red or near-infrared…

Best Organic Prenatal Vitamin Guide

Posted on
In order to make our Best Stuff category, a vitamin brand needs to provide third-party lab Certificate of Analysis that confirm both the absence of contaminants and a validation of the…

42 Ways to Have a Healthy 2024

Posted on
Whether you’ve already set goals for the year or want some inspiration to do so, here are some of  my favorite resources, ideas, and products for a healthy, sane 2024!…

Leave a Reply