Why Do Children Need Vitamin D?
May 1, 2018
As parents there are many things in life we want for our children, but ensuring our kids are happy and healthy comes at the top of that list.
The need to protect and care for our children begins before they are born, to ensure they are safe and have everything they need even in the womb. The Department of Health recommends that all pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a daily supplement containing 10 µg of vitamin D. This is to ensure the mother’s requirement for vitamin D are met and to build adequate stores for early infancy.
Vitamin D is required to help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies and we all know how fast babies and children’s bones grow. This is one reason why the European Food Safety Association (EFSA) state that vitamin D is essential for the normal growth and development of bones in children.
Sunlight & Vitamin D
The benefits of Vitamin D are becoming more well-known, and the best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Although there are certain times of the year, particularly between October and March, that soaking up enough sunlight isn’t always easy. Even during the summer months some babies and children may not get all the vitamin D they require for the normal healthy growth and maintenance that their bodies need. As parents we protect babies and young children from the sun to prevent sunburn and skin damage, while some older children including teenagers find Netflix, Xbox or their Playstation a more attractive pastime than playing outside in the sunshine.
How Much Vitamin D Do Children Need?
The NHS advises that babies up to the age of one year need 8.5-10mcg of vitamin D a day. From one year of age, this goes up to 10mcg a day for children.
The Department of Health recommends that all babies and young children aged 6 months to 5 years should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D in the form of vitamin drops, to help them to meet the requirement.
Remember that infant formula milk is fortified with vitamins, including vitamin D. Therefore, babies who have 500ml or more of infant formula milk each day will not necessarily need vitamin supplements as well. Breastfed infants may need to receive drops containing vitamin D from one month of age if their mother has not taken vitamin D supplements throughout pregnancy.
Once children move onto a solid diet, vitamin D can be found in oily fish, eggs, dairy products and some fortified foods. Learn more about foods rich in vitamin D.
For children’s growing bodies vitamin D is an important nutrient for development, but getting babies and young children to take supplements is sometimes difficult. SunVit-D3 oral drops come in an integrated oral dropper bottle suitable for babies, infants, and children and can also be mixed with food, drinks or taken directly. To provide extra peace of mind for parents these vitamin D drops are also free from alcohol, PEG, sugar, nuts, gluten, gelatine and soya.
If you are unsure about your child’s intake of vitamin D then talk to your GP.
You should always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any supplement, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You can find further information on vitamin D in our FAQs.