Vitamin D Deficiency in Children: 8 Symptoms Every Parent Should Know

on January 19, 2018

Deficiency of Vitamin D can be very harmful for your little one. Some of the signs of Vitamin D deficiency in babies include bone deformities, soft skull and delay in normal development. You can also notice a weakness of muscles or bone pain. Your baby may have a sweaty head due to this also. Respiratory infections, cavities and frequent tummy troubles are also signs to look for.

Read more: 11 Reasons Why Tummy Time is Important for the Infant

How much Vitamin D is ideal for my baby?

Depending on the age of your child, there are different dosage of Vitamin D recommended by doctors. If you aren’t sure if your baby is getting enough or not, here is a reference:

  • Infants (Up to 12 months) need 10 Mcg of Vitamin D daily
  • Kids above the age of one need 15Mcg daily

What can cause deficiency of Vitamin D?

There are many causes for your baby to not have enough Vitamin D. It maybe because your baby is not getting enough from the food that he or she is eating. It may also be because their bodies are unable to make it. Here are some causes of your baby having Vitamin D deficiency:

  • If you had Vitamin D deficiency during your pregnancy.
  • If you have the deficiency while you are breastfeeding your baby.
  • Prolonged breastfeeding as there is little Vitamin D left in your breast milk.
  • If your child is getting very little exposure to sunlight.
  • If your baby is always covered up when they are outside.
  • Too much use of sunscreen on your baby.
  • If your baby has darker skin.
  • Inherent medical conditions that gets in the way of your baby’s body being able to process the vitamin.
  • If your baby is on a strict diet such as vegetarian, vegan or a non-fish diet.

8 Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency That You Should Know

vitamin d deficiency

It can be difficult to understand whether your little one has a deficiency of Vitamin D without getting a blood test done. However, there are some warning signs that doctors have pointed out that you need to know. If your baby shows any of these signs, you should discuss it with your doctor.

Here are eight symptoms that you need to know related to Vitamin D deficiency in your child.

Soft Skull

An infant’s skull is not fully joined together or formed when he or she is in the womb. This soft skull allows your baby to pass through the birthing canal easily. Normally a baby’s skull bones join together and become solid around about 19 weeks after birth.

However, if your baby has a chronic deficiency of Vitamin D, then the solidification process of his or her skull can be hampered. This condition is known as rickets. Your baby’s skull may feel soft to touch even after 19 weeks. This is a serious condition in infants. It can increase the risk of getting severe brain or skull injury.

Sweaty Head

If your baby’s head is always sweaty this can be an early sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Sweaty heads can indicate inflammation in the bones of your baby’s skull. It is normal for your baby’s head to sweat a little.

However, if you notice excessive sweating then it is a good idea to contact your doctor. Vitamin D deficiency can be treated easily. If you can spot the early signs, then you can take steps to make sure your baby gets enough and prevent serious injuries.

Bone Deformities

Inadequate Vitamin D levels in your baby’s body can affect the way in which his or her bones will grow and develop. If your baby has rickets, then he or she will show unusual bone deformities. These are signs of Vitamin D deficiency.

Bone deformities can include crooked or misaligned spine of your baby. His or her legs may appear to be unusually bowed outwards. You can also notice that your baby’s breastbone is sticking out abnormally from his or her chest.

Delays in Development

If your baby has a Vitamin D deficiency, you can see that he or she takes longer to reach normal developmental milestones. Signs to look out for include inability to support themselves while crawling. Another sign to look for is difficulty for your baby to sit up on their own.

You may also see that his or her limbs look unusually swollen. This is due to the abnormally wide bones present in your baby’s body. Consult your doctor if you notice any of these developmental delays in your infant. These may also indicate other medical issues.

Muscle Weakness and Aches

If you see that your baby is unusually cranky and cries on being picked up, this may be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Frequent irritability and fussiness in your little one can indicate bone pains caused by the deficiency.

It can also lead to muscle weakness in your infant. If you see that your baby is finding it hard to hold up his or her head on their own it can be a symptom. You should also see if your baby can support his or her weight when they are crawling or sitting.

Respiratory Infections

Vitamin D deficiency in your child can cause him or her to have a weaker immune system. In both infants and older children suffering from a deficiency of this vitamin, there is an increased risk of getting chest colds. They are also more prone to respiratory infections than others.

Cavities

One of the major signs of Vitamin D deficiency in children is the appearance of dental issues. This is closely linked to the bone weakness that is caused by the deficiency. Doctors have pointed out that children with a deficiency of Vitamin D have more holes and cavities in their teeth.

Tummy Troubles

If your little one has frequent cases of an upset stomach, it may be due to Vitamin D deficiency. However, not all tummy troubles indicate a deficiency. But if your child is prone to gastrointestinal issues, then they are at risk.

This is because frequent tummy issues make it difficult for their bodies to absorb Vitamin D. It is also the same in children with allergies. They are more likely to develop a Vitamin D deficiency.

Prevention

Vitamin D deficiency in your child can be prevented and treated easily. Here are some ways you can prevent it in your baby:

  • Have a balanced Vitamin D intake during both pregnancy and lactation.
  • Let your children play in the sunlight regularly for short periods.
  • Include plenty of multivitamin rich food in your child’s diet.
  • High dosage tablets or liquid supplements. However, only after consulting your doctor.

Conclusion

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common in both children and adults. It is more prevalent in countries with less sunlight. You can check for the signs and symptoms mentioned above to understand if your baby has this deficiency. If you feel concerned, you should take your baby to the doctor. You doctor can conduct tests and advise proper medication and treatment. Make sure that your baby gets enough exposure to sunlight to prevent it. You should also give them a balanced and healthy diet.

References:

 https://patient.info/health/osteoporosis-leaflet/vitamin-d-deficiency

http://icmr.nic.in/ijmr/2008/march/0306.pdf

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