True story. A farmer friend who was unloading his pick-up truck with help from an employee at the dump, caused a bit of a fuss when he said, "I'll get that. I had to kill a couple of kids and their guts are in those bags".
I agree, please use kids. Maybe you could argue 'kids' is informal or slang, but it's so universal and ubiquitous that it's basically just a synonym for children and is used a lot more in my experience.