Diet: Only 10% of our vitamin D comes
from our diet. The following foods will
help keep levels topped up:
Vitamin D is important for various body
functions and is especially required for
the growth of bones in children. The
main source of vitamin D is from
exposure to sunlight and availability in
dairy products. Insufficient exposure to
sunlight and poor dietary habits has
led to an increasing number of children
diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency.
This leaflet explains some ways of
preventing vitamin D deficiency in
• oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout)
• dairy products
• cod liver oil
Complications of vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency leads to decreased
absorption of calcium from our
intestine. This leads to impaired bone
growth as the child grows, resulting in
a condition called rickets. This can lead
to severe deformities in their bones
and affect their ability to walk. Other
complications of vitamin D deficiency
include seizures, impaired heart
function and recurrent infections.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a type of vitamin required
by the body. The main function of
vitamin D is to absorb calcium from
food. The calcium is then used by the
body for the growth of bones. Apart
from this function, vitamin D is also
important for immune function and
may prevent some form of cancers.
Why do children develop
vitamin D deficiency?
Pregnant mothers may have
inadequate vitamin D in their body,
leading to their babies having poor
vitamin D stores. These babies are
more likely to develop vitamin D
deficiency as breast milk is a poor
source of vitamin D.
Natural sources of vitamin D
Sunshine: Most of our vitamin D comes
from the sun. The amount of vitamin
D obtained from sunlight is variable as
it depends on skin colour, duration of
exposure to sunlight and underlying
illness. Dark skinned people need
more sunlight exposure to produce
vitamin D when compared to light
skinned people.
Insufficient exposure to sunlight occurs
in some populations in the UK.
Particularly affected are those who are
dark skinned and who wear fully
covered clothing. These result in
decreased production of vitamin D in
the body. If your skin is pale, you
should be careful about over exposure
in the sun, as this may lead to long
term risk of skin cancer.
Prevention of vitamin D
deficiency in children
To prevent vitamin D deficiency, babies
require at least 200 IU of vitamin D
daily from six months of age. Children’s
vitamin drops – Healthy start (available
free of charge from six months of age
for eligible families) – 5 drops to be
given once daily until five years of age.
A link to the website is given below:
Please speak to your GP or health
visitor for further details about how to
obtain the vitamin drops.
There are various other over the
counter preparations available to buy.
Please check with your pharmacist
about the correct dose of vitamins for
your child.
Suggestions, Concerns and
If you would like to provide feedback
you can:
• Ask to speak to the ward or
department manager.
• Write to us: Patient Advice and
Liaison Services, 1st Floor, Cobbett
House, Manchester Royal Infirmary,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL
• Log onto the NHS Choices website - click on ‘Comments’.
If you would like to discuss a concern
or make a complaint:
• Ask to speak to the ward or
department manager – they may be
able to help straight away.
• Contact our Patient Advice and
Liaison Service (PALS) – Tel: 0161 276
8686 e-mail: [email protected] Ask
for our information leaflet.
No Smoking Policy
The NHS has a responsibility for the
nation’s health.
Protect yourself, patients, visitors and
staff by adhering to our no smoking
policy. Smoking is not permitted
within any of our hospital buildings
or grounds.
The Manchester Stop Smoking Service
can be contacted on
Tel: (0161) 205 5998
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© Copyright to Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
(SF 2012
Taylor CM13781)
TIG 58/12 Produced
TIG ??May
Review Date May 2014
(SF Taylor CM13781)
Saint Mary’s Hospital
Prevention of
Vitamin D
deficiency in
Information For Parents