Vitamin D deficiency is a very common problem in the UK. Vitamin D is important
for good health, strong bones and growth. Most foods contain very little vitamin D
naturally and it is mostly made in the skin by exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D helps your baby's body absorb calcium, which is needed for the healthy
development of strong bones and teeth. A deficiency of vitamin D can result in
rickets, which affects the way bones develop and grow. The bones of a child with
rickets are unable to sufficiently support their body weight, resulting in bowed legs.
The most important source of vitamin D is sunlight. Be aware that exposure of 10 to
15 minutes to the UK summer sun, without suncream, several times a week is
probably a safe balance between adequate vitamin D levels and any risk of skin
cancer.* Healthy Start vitamins are available free of charge for all under fives, new
mums and pregnant women across Walsall. It is advisable for mums who
breastfeed their baby to take a vitamin D supplement. If your baby is six months or
older, and/or is drinking less than 500ml (1 pint) of formula milk per day, it is
recommended they are given vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D.
Vitamin D deficiency can result
in rickets in severe cases.
Babies with severe vitamin D
deficiency can get muscle
cramps, seizures and
breathing difficulties. Poor
growth can also be a
symptom and affected
children might be reluctant to
start walking. Children with
vitamin D deficiency may also
be late teething as the
development of their milk
teeth has been affected.
free fruit, vegetables and vitamins
Healthy Start is a government scheme for pregnant women or women with children under the age of four who receive certain benefits. Women receive vouchers every week to support a healthy diet if they are receiving income support or other related benefits. The value of the vouchers depends on the number and age of the children. The vouchers can be used to purchase, formula milk, plain cow’s milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables (with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose.
If a family is eligible for Healthy Start vitamins then they are given free and if not, they have the option to buy these from their local chemist. The vitamins supplied for mums are in tablets and the vitamins for babies and children are drops.
Vitamin D is naturally
present in only a few
foods such as fortified
margarines, eggs and
Vitamin D is made naturally
by the skin when it is
exposed to gentle sunlight,
so encourage your children
to play outside.
It is advised to give all
children vitamin drops
with vitamins A, C and D
from the age of one to
five years old.
*Source: British Association of Dermatologists.