Fact sheet: Vitamin D: 5-8 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.

Young girl playing in the spray of a garden sprinkler.

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.

More information

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: 5-8 years

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