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Expert advice

18th Oct 2023

All kids aged 1 to 4 should be taking Vitamin D in Winter – here’s what you need to know

vitamin D

According to the HSE, all children aged 1 to 4 years need a vitamin D supplement during the winter.

This is because they can’t get enough from the sun or their diet in these months in Ireland.

Among the many benefits of getting enough Vitamin D is healthy bones and teeth.

The advice to give children this supplement is new and was only recommended by the Department of Health in October 2020.

When should I give my child this supplement

Children aged 1 to 4 need a vitamin D supplement every day for a few months each year.

The experts at the HSE recommend giving it from Halloween (October 31st) to St Patrick’s Day (March 17th).

You can opt for liquid drops of a vitamin D-only supplement – which are usually best for children aged 1 to 4 years old. A liquid supplement is also safe.

Give them 5 microgram (μg) every day during winter.

Do not give your child chewable or tablet-type supplements. These could be a choking risk.

Ask your pharmacist if you need advice on choosing a supplement.

Why your child needs this supplement

Young children don’t get enough of it in winter, but they need to have it all year round for healthy bones and teeth.

Research shows that most young children in Ireland get enough vitamin D in the summer – through their diet and sunlight.

Foods rich in vitamin D

Your child can get this essential nutrient in foods such as:

oily fish
red meat
egg yolks
fortified foods such as some fat spreads, milk and breakfast cereal
But they don’t get enough vitamin D through their diet alone in the winter. That is why they need a vitamin D supplement.