If You Slather Your Kid in Sunscreen, He Might Not Be Getting Enough Vitamin D – Slate Magazine
In light of all this conflicting advice, what’s a parent to do? If your kid is light-skinned, drinks two cups of cow’s milk a day, and also gets some sun exposure and occasionally eats fatty fish like salmon, he’ll probably be fine. But if you want to be absolutely certain he’s meeting his body’s vitamin D needs, or you have a child with dark skin or who doesn’t drink milk or play much outside, supplementing is a good idea. In fact, gummies and chewable vitamins that provide vitamin D3 are a good bet—ConsumerLab.com, a company that independently tests health and nutrition products, just released a report highlighting recommended brands—and it’s ideal for kids to take them with their largest meal, because more of the vitamin will be absorbed. Highly concentrated vitamin D drops are also an option, but the AAP cautions that they must be used carefully because of the risk of overdose, which can cause calcium to build up in the blood and lead to high blood pressure, nausea, and constipation. (As for what’s too much: The Institute of Medicine says that 1-to-3-year-olds should not consume more than 2,500 IU of vitamin D daily; 4-to-8-year-olds shouldn’t exceed 3,000 IU; and kids 9 and older should not get more than 4,000 IU a day.) I have decided to give both my kids 800 IU in vitamin D gummies each day, and it feels like a win-win. To them, it’s dessert. To me, it’s supplemental health insurance, and I can still coat them in SPF 50 with joyful abandon.