Fact sheet: Vitamin D: 0-5 years

From the Centre for Community Child Health

As your child grows and develops, one of the things they need is Vitamin D. In our bodies, Vitamin D helps us to make use of the calcium that we need to grow strong bones and muscles.

Smiling young boy at the beach having sunscreen applied to his face.

Our bodies make Vitamin D in response to skin exposure to the sun's UV rays. More than 80% of our Vitamin D needs come from the sun, while the rest comes from foods such as fortified dairy products and oily fish.

When you were pregnant and breastfeeding, you shared Vitamin D with your baby. If your baby was formula-fed, most formula is fortified with Vitamin D.

Where you live in Australia and the time of year has a big effect on the levels of Vitamin D you can get from sun exposure- Darwin and Hobart are very different climates! It's always important to be careful in the sun no matter your location or the time of year. Children should always wear a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and clothing that keeps the sun off and have access to plenty of shade and water between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm if children are outdoors.

If you're concerned about your or your child's Vitamin D, it's important to talk to your GP about getting tested and possible supplementation. If Vitamin D levels are just a little low, it can be a matter of getting a bit more outdoor time. If the deficiency is severe, there may be a need for supplements.

Learn more

Keeping an eye on the UV forecast in your area each day is a good idea. The Bureau of Meteorology makes that information available every day for different parts of Australia.

SunSmart has a great Vitamin D Tracker on its website. This is also available as an app for smartphones and tablets that can be used as a simple way to track how much sun exposure is needed in your area for your skin type.

You can also read more about Vitamin D and kids on the Raising Children Network.

  • Vitamin D: 0-5 years

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