Vitamins for children

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Growing children, especially those not eating a varied diet, sometimes don’t get enough vitamin A and C. It’s also difficult to get enough vitamin D through food alone.

Therefore, the Department of Health recommends that all children from six months to five years old are given supplements containing vitamins A, C and D, in the form of vitamin drops.

Your health visitor can give you advice on vitamin drops and tell you where to get them. Some supplements that can bought over-the-counter in pharmacies do contain other nutritional components as well as the vitamins, so talk to your pharmacist about which supplement would be most suitable for your child.

Having too much of some vitamins is as harmful as not having enough. Be careful not to give your child two supplements at the same time. For example, don’t give them cod liver oil and vitamin drops. One on its own is strong enough.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D only occurs naturally in a few foods, such as oily fish and fortified fat spreads. It’s also made by the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. However, it’s sensible to keep your child’s skin safe in the sun. Children shouldn’t be out too long in the sun in hot weather, and you should never let their skin turn red or burn.

If breastfeeding, children should be given a daily vitamin D supplement from six months of age. Children on infant formula should be given a daily vitamin D supplement if they’re having less than 500ml (a pint) a day. They should continue to receive the vitamin D supplement until they are five years old.

Taking a vitamin D supplement throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding will ensure you have enough vitamin D for your baby during their first few months. If you are breastfeeding and you didn’t take a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy, your health professional may advise you to give your child a vitamin D supplement from one month until the age of five.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an important vitamin for babies and young children, and they may not be getting enough. It strengthens their immune system, can help their vision in dim light, and maintains healthy skin.

Good sources of vitamin A include dairy products, fortified fat spreads, carrots and dark green vegetables (such as spinach, cabbage and broccoli).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for your child’s general health and their immune system. It can also help their body to absorb iron.

Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers.

A healthy diet

It’s important for children to eat healthily. For information on helping your child to eat a healthy, balanced diet, go to:

Source:

NHS Choices

Published Date 2011-04-06

Last Review Date 2011-04-04

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