Vitamin D for Toddlers

5 mins
Overview

Young children and toddlers (aged 1-3 years) have high requirements for growth and development as they are active and growing rapidly. If they have a limited appetite relative to their requirements, they may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies1.

The latest infant dietary survey shows that in the UK 91% of young children aged 12-35 months do not meet the estimated average requirement for dietary vitamin D for children, particularly in winter2.

Two toddlers in playground
What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin naturally present in a few foods; it is obtained from a combination of sun exposure and from the diet. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, ultimately contributing to healthy bone growth and development in childhood1.

Vitamin D is found naturally in a small number of foods, including:

  • Oily fish
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods like breakfast cereals and fat spreads3.

However, it’s difficult to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone; the action of sunlight on skin is the main source of vitamin D3.

The Latest Vitamin D Advice

Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in advising parents on supplementation based on a child’s dietary needs and ultimately preventing vitamin D deficiency.

Based on the latest recommendations, healthcare professionals should recommend a daily vitamin D supplement containing3:

  • 10µg for all pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • 8.5-10µg for infants under one year
  • 10µg for children aged one to four years
  • In Ireland the recommendation is that all breastfed babies should be given a daily supplement containing 5 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D
  • During the extended winter months, all children aged 1 to 5 years need to be given a low-dose (5 µg) vitamin D only supplement to make up for lack of skin synthesis from sunlight (FSAI 2020)4

However, babies who have more than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day don't need a vitamin D supplement as formula is already fortified.

A growing up milk such as SMA® PRO Growing Up Milk can help to increase the intake of vitamin D5.

References Show all Hide all
  1. Kiely, M. Vitamin D in Toddlers. Available at: Nestle Nutrition Institute (accessed September 2020).

  2. Gibson S & Sidnell A. Nutrient adequacy and imbalance among young children aged 1–3 years in the UK. Nutrition Bulletin. 2014; 39: 172–80.

  3. NHS. The new guidelines on vitamin D – what you need to know. Available at: NHS: the New Guidelines on Vitamin D (accessed September 2020).

  4. Food Safety Authority of Ireland 2020. Available at https://www.fsai.ie/faq/vitaminD.html (Accessed September 2020)

  5. Sidnell, A. et al. Nutrient intakes and iron and vitamin D status differ depending on main milk consumed by UK children aged 12–18 months – secondary analysis from the Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2016; vol. 5: e32.

Important Notice:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding for as long as possible. SMA® PRO Growing Up Milk is suitable for young children from 1–3 years, as part of a healthy balanced diet and it is not a breast milk substitute.

Two toddlers in playground
5 mins

Vitamin D for Toddlers

Overview

Young children and toddlers (aged 1-3 years) have high requirements for growth and development as they are active and growing rapidly. If they have a limited appetite relative to their requirements, they may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies1.

The latest infant dietary survey shows that in the UK 91% of young children aged 12-35 months do not meet the estimated average requirement for dietary vitamin D for children, particularly in winter2.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin naturally present in a few foods; it is obtained from a combination of sun exposure and from the diet. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, ultimately contributing to healthy bone growth and development in childhood1.

Vitamin D is found naturally in a small number of foods, including:

  • Oily fish
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods like breakfast cereals and fat spreads3.

However, it’s difficult to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone; the action of sunlight on skin is the main source of vitamin D3.

The Latest Vitamin D Advice

Healthcare professionals play a crucial role in advising parents on supplementation based on a child’s dietary needs and ultimately preventing vitamin D deficiency.

Based on the latest recommendations, healthcare professionals should recommend a daily vitamin D supplement containing3:

  • 10µg for all pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • 8.5-10µg for infants under one year
  • 10µg for children aged one to four years
  • In Ireland the recommendation is that all breastfed babies should be given a daily supplement containing 5 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D
  • During the extended winter months, all children aged 1 to 5 years need to be given a low-dose (5 µg) vitamin D only supplement to make up for lack of skin synthesis from sunlight (FSAI 2020)4

However, babies who have more than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day don't need a vitamin D supplement as formula is already fortified.

A growing up milk such as SMA® PRO Growing Up Milk can help to increase the intake of vitamin D5.

References Show all Hide all
  1. Kiely, M. Vitamin D in Toddlers. Available at: Nestle Nutrition Institute (accessed September 2020).

  2. Gibson S & Sidnell A. Nutrient adequacy and imbalance among young children aged 1–3 years in the UK. Nutrition Bulletin. 2014; 39: 172–80.

  3. NHS. The new guidelines on vitamin D – what you need to know. Available at: NHS: the New Guidelines on Vitamin D (accessed September 2020).

  4. Food Safety Authority of Ireland 2020. Available at https://www.fsai.ie/faq/vitaminD.html (Accessed September 2020)

  5. Sidnell, A. et al. Nutrient intakes and iron and vitamin D status differ depending on main milk consumed by UK children aged 12–18 months – secondary analysis from the Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2016; vol. 5: e32.