🔆 Your body makes vitamin D naturally when you are outside in daylight.
🍳You can also get vitamin D from some foods and supplements.
🦷 It is important for strong, healthy bones and teeth especially when children and young people are growing.
Did you know? Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin. It is a hormone.
What are the symptoms of low vitamin D?
- Bone aches and pains
- Muscle weakness
- Change in mood, for example low mood
How can I make sure my child is getting enough vitamin D?
You get most of your vitamin D from sun light. You do not need to sunbathe for vitamin D. The time needed to absorb vitamin D is short and usually less than the time taken for the skin to redden or burn.
Be careful to protect your child from sun burn and read our sun safety information on our keeping safe out and about page.
In the UK, most people do not get enough sun in winter for their body to make vitamin D.
Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
The following foods contain vitamin D:
- Egg yolks
- Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and rainbow trout
- Cod liver oil (do not take if you are pregnant)
- Red meat such as lamb, minced beef and pork chops
- Margarine, some breakfast cereals, processed cheese and some yoghurts have added vitamin D. Check the label
- Some mushrooms
A dose of 10 micrograms (400 units) of vitamin D is suitable for most children.
All children under the age of 5 years should be given daily vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D. If you are claiming certain benefits, you can get free Healthy Start vitamin drops.
The government recommends:
- Babies from birth to 1 year of age who are being breastfed should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 units) of vitamin D. This is whether or not you're taking a supplement containing vitamin D yourself.
- Babies fed infant formula should not be given a vitamin D supplement if they're having more than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day. This is because infant formula is fortified with vitamin D and other vitamins.
All adults and children over the age of 1 should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 units) of vitamin D especially during autumn and winter.
Examples of some 'over the counter' vitamins
Speak with you local community pharmacist who can give you advice on which vitamin D supplement is right for your child.
Disclaimer: Healthier Together does not endorse any particular commerical product. Those listed are examples of products commonly available in the UK.
- Abidec (contains peanut oil), Dalivit, Baby Ddrops, NHS 'Healthy Start' Vitamins.
- 1 month to 18 years: Abidec, Dalivit, Ddrops, Holland & Barrett SunviteD3, DLux oral spray, SunVitD3 and Vitabiotics tablets.
Vitamin D Testing
Most children do not need a medical assessment or a blood test, especially if the advice above has been followed.
If your child has risk factors for vitamin D deficiency then they do not need a blood test. You should simply give them a daily vitamin D supplement.
Risk factors for low vitamin D:
- darker skin pigmentation
- little sun exposure, for example the skin is covered with long clothing when outside
- breast fed babies
- digestive conditions affecting vitamin absorption, for example coeliac disease
- excess weight (above 98th centile)
If your child has risk factors and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency then speak to your GP or health professional.