Essential Information on Vitamin D for Children: A Guide for Parents


In understanding the significance of vitamin D for children, parents play a pivotal role in ensuring their kids' optimal growth and immunity. Let's delve into vital insights about vitamin D and its implications for your child's well-being.

Optimizing Vitamin D Intake:

Vitamin D is indispensable for fostering strong bones and bolstering the immune system in children. While sunlight absorption remains a primary source of vitamin D, dietary intake also contributes significantly.

Sunlight Exposure and Dietary Sources:

Between April and October, exposing your child's hands and face to sunlight for 15 to 30 minutes can stimulate the skin to produce sufficient vitamin D. Moreover, incorporating foods rich in vitamin D such as salmon, sardines, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks, and shiitake mushrooms into their diet can further augment their vitamin D levels. For picky eaters, fortified milk, cereals, and orange juice serve as convenient alternatives.

When vitamin D supplements are helpful?

During the fall and winter, when the sun’s rays aren’t at an angle that will produce vitamin D in the skin, it’s good to give your child a vitamin.

Children who are obese, who have dark skin, who rarely go outside, or who wear clothing that covers most of their skin may need supplements to ensure they have adequate levels of vitamin D all year round. Some medications, such as anticonvulsants, can interfere with the way our bodies metabolize vitamin D. Certain conditions, such as celiac disease, can also interfere with the absorption of vitamin D. Discuss your child’s medical history and lifestyle with your pediatrician, and make sure to them about any medicine or herbal supplements your child takes. Your pediatrician can then determine your child’s daily vitamin D requirement.

The French Society of Pediatrics suggests that for children from 1 to 5 years of age and during adolescence, a winter vitamin D3 supplementation is necessary with 80.000 or 100.000 IU periodic loads every 3 months i.e. in November and February.

In cases of underlying risk, i.e. insufficient vitamin D photosynthesis in summertime (dark skin, wearing heavily skin-covering clothes, or several skin diseases), or digestive, renal, or nutritional pathologies, use of some drugs, loading dose of 80.000 or 100.000 IU, every 3 months should be administered over the year.

The sunscreen paradox!

While protecting your child's skin from harmful UV rays is crucial, it's essential to acknowledge the impact of sunscreen on vitamin D synthesis. Sunscreen application, while necessary for skin health, can impede vitamin D production by up to 99%, necessitating a balanced approach to sun protection and vitamin D synthesis.

In conclusion, ensuring your child receives adequate vitamin D is vital for their overall health and well-being. By incorporating sunlight exposure, dietary sources, and supplementation when necessary, parents can safeguard their children's bone health and immune resilience effectively.

Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your child's health, including vitamin D supplementation. This article provides general information and should not substitute professional medical advice.