Home » All posts » Sun/vit D update: for fair or dark-skinned children esp in the North


Professor Newton-Bishop adds the following to my previous post. The information applies to you as well as to your children.

‘For a fair-skinned child (blue eyes, or blond, or red-headed, or with freckles) using high SPF sunblock and clothing routinely is sensible if it’s hot. If this is the case, then supplementation is also sensible, especially as many children do not like oily fish, which are the best food source of vitamin D.

Children with darker skins may be at significantly increased risk of vitamin D deficiency if they severely restrict their sun exposure, or if they wear clothing which covers all their skin (for religious reasons for example). If your child is dark-skinned and lives in conditions in which they wouldn’t normally burn, then they don’t need rigorously to avoid the sun in the same way as light-skinned children need to. They may indeed need supplementation.’

For more on vitamin D, including in pregnancy and for breast-feeding mothers (especially if you or your children wear concealing clothes), parents of fussy-eaters and people who are housebound, see the advice from the NHS and Department of Health.

It’s worth getting to grips with all this, because high doses of vitamin D are, adds Professor Newton-Bishop, also not a good idea. You shouldn’t give your child cod liver oil and vitamin drops, for example.

So, with my own fair-haired-burnable-not-exactly-not-fussy-eaters (who may also be burdened with a genetic risk), the message is clear: vitamin D supplementation must be as routine as the sun-cream.

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