Vitamin D supplements for children aged 1 to 4 years

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. Vitamin D helps them to have healthy bones and teeth.

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

When to give your child a vitamin D supplement

Children aged 1 to 4 need a vitamin D supplement every day for a few months each year. Give this from Halloween (October 31st) to St Patrick’s Day (March 17th).

Babies under 12 months need vitamin D supplements every day if they are:

  • breastfed
  • have less than 300mls or 10 fluid oz (ounces) of infant formula a day

You should stop giving your child formula milk when they reach 1 year of age.

Vitamin D for babies 0 to 12 months

Type of supplement to give

Liquid drops of a vitamin D-only supplement 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.

Vitamin D supplements for children are not covered by the medical card or other drug payment schemes.

Read about food choking risks

Why your child needs a vitamin D supplement

Young children don’t get enough vitamin D in winter. They need to have vitamin D all year round for healthy bones and teeth.

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

Preventing sunburn

Foods rich in vitamin D

Your child can get vitamin D from foods such as:

  • oily fish
  • red meat
  • liver
  • 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.

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.

Page last reviewed: 30 September 2020
Next review due: 30 September 2023