The importance of iron for toddlers 1 year+

Iron is important for brain development

Every new skill your toddler learns, whether it’s giggling and chatting, taking little wobbly steps or scribbling their first work of art, relies on healthy brain development. So it’s important to include iron-rich foods in your toddler’s daily diet.

Your toddler is learning more every day

At this stage, your toddler is using their brain for four key skills:


  • Physical development: 
    Good co-ordination skills are essential for any physical activity, including learning to walk, using a crayon and playing catch with a ball
  • Language development: 
    These first few years of life are the prime time for learning to use words
  • Emotional and social development:
    Interacting with other people and learning to share toys with other children encourages good relationships
  • Visual development: 
    This is a key time for learning to recognise objects, shapes and colours in the world around them

Iron deficiency and your toddler

Due to toddlers’ relatively high dietary iron requirements, they are vulnerable to iron deficiency if they are not regularly consuming iron rich foods.

If iron levels get too low, this can leave your toddler tired and lacking in energy. In a small number of cases this can lead to iron deficiency anaemia which can affect a toddler’s development in the longer term.

If you have any concerns about your toddler’s iron intake or general health please consult your doctor.

How much iron does your toddler need?

The recommended daily amount of iron for toddlers aged 1 to 3 years is 6.9mg. However, getting iron into your toddler's diet can be tricky. To help you achieve this, we've put together some useful advice on how to give your toddler more iron as well as a list of the top iron-rich foods.

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