Your children are the most important people in your life and making sure they are happy and healthy is every parents goal. There are many ways to take care of your children and make sure they have what they need to grow up and have kids of their own one day. One way you can do this is by making sure they have a healthy diet that includes essential vitamins for their growth. According to the CDC (1) vitamin D helps your child build strong bones and they suggest you should start giving your child vitamin D shortly after birth.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids that are responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and multiple other biological effects. It is often called the “sunshine vitamin.” The most important D vitamins to include in your children’s daily diet are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D is critical for building bones especially in young children who are constantly growing. Humans absorb vitamin D naturally from the sun and eating vitamin D fortified foods. It is important to assure that both you and your children have enough vitamin D in your diets.
Daily Requirement of Vitamin D for Kids
Children should be given vitamin D shortly after they are born to help them build strong and healthy bones. The suggested daily dose of vitamin D to assure this happens is determined by the age of your child.
- Newborn-12 Months: Babies younger than a year-old need 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
- 1-2 Years Old: Infants that are between 12 month and 24 months need 600 IU of vitamin D per day.
- 2-3 Years Old: Toddlers between 2-3 years old should receive 2,500 IU of vitamin D per day.
- 4-8 Years Old: Kids between the ages of 4-8 years old should intake 3,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
- 9 Years: Kids that are 9 years and older should receive 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
How Much Vitamin D is Safe for Kids?
Now that you know the daily dose of vitamin D that your young children should receive you might be wondering how much of this vitamin is too much. The Endocrine Society(2) cites a safe upper limit of 2,000 IU for infants 12 months and younger and 4,000 IU for infants old than 1 year. Vitamin D overdoses and adverse effects of taking this vitamin are rare but you should take caution as you should with all essential vitamins. Although taking too much vitamin D is not common, it is common to be deficient in vitamin D and this can be serious to your children’s health.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Many parents believe that allowing their children to play outside for a few hours and giving them milk for breakfast is enough to meet the daily suggested requirement for this essential vitamin. But according to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report (3) most children do not get enough vitamin D even if they are drinking milk on a daily basis and playing outside. Keep in mind that spending time in the sun is not a very effective source of vitamin D while using an SPF or during colder months because children spend less time outside.
If you are breast feeding you should be aware that breast milk does not normally provide a baby with all the vitamin D they need, so breastfed infants should be given a supplemental vitamin D. Babies that are not breastfed and are given infant formula will meet the daily dosage if they are fed 32 ounces of formula per day. If your baby drinks less than 32 ounces then they may need a vitamin D supplement as well.
It is important to make sure your infants and toddlers do not develop a deficiency because there can be serious side effects. Signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- Pain in the bones
- Dental deformities
- Stunted growth
- Increased risk of bone fractures
- Hair loss
- Bone loss
- Short stature
- Skeletal deformities
- Cognitive disorders
- Skeletal diseases
- And a serious condition called rickets
The AAP reports that rickets is on the rise in children. Rickets is commonly reported in the United States in children 2 years and younger. Rickets is a condition that causes softening of the bones and should be taken seriously. Rickets happens when children’s bones do not absorb enough calcium and phosphorus to support hard, healthy bones. This condition can be caused by genetics or have metabolic causes, but the most common cause of rickets is a vitamin D deficiency.
Signs of rickets in children include:
- Curvature of the spines
- A pigeon chest
- Skull malformations
- Pelvic deformities
- Muscle tenderness
- Muscle weakness
Vitamin D-Fortified Foods
There are natural ways that you can assure your children get a proper amount of vitamin D. You can do this by feeding them vitamin D-fortified food such as cow’s milk (for children 12 months and older), yogurt, eggs, cereals, and some juices. Some fish also contain vitamin D such as salmon, tuna and sardines (it is unlikely your young children will enjoy these). If your children do not get their daily vitamin D requirement through foods, they should be given a supplement containing the proper dose of this essential vitamin.
No one wants to see their child in pain and vitamin D deficiencies can cause many symptoms that are painful and can be permanently damaging to your child’s health. You can talk with your doctor or nurse about vitamin D at your kid’s next check-up if you have questions. You can also have them test for a deficiency if you have reason to believe your infant might be vitamin D deficient. It is important to feed your children vitamin D fortified foods, bring them in the sunshine often and give them supplemental doses of vitamin D to assure their bones stay healthy and your kid stays happy!
One thing that sets Advanced Vitamin DK Spray (and all CCL Supplement Sprays) is that the dose can be custom tailored for kids and teens:
For Children (ages 4-12):
- Take one to two sprays daily
For Adolescents (ages 13-17):
- Take two to four sprays daily