Prevention and treatment of infant and childhood vitamin D deficiency in Australia and New Zealand: a consensus statement

Med J Aust. 2006 Sep 4;185(5):268-72. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00558.x.


Vitamin D deficiency has re-emerged as a significant paediatric health issue, with complications including hypocalcaemic seizures, rickets, limb pain and fracture. A major risk factor for infants is maternal vitamin D deficiency. For older infants and children, risk factors include dark skin colour, cultural practices, prolonged breastfeeding, restricted sun exposure and certain medical conditions. To prevent vitamin D deficiency in infants, pregnant women, especially those who are dark-skinned or veiled, should be screened and treated for vitamin D deficiency, and breastfed infants of dark-skinned or veiled women should be supplemented with vitamin D for the first 12 months of life. Regular sunlight exposure can prevent vitamin D deficiency, but the safe exposure time for children is unknown. To prevent vitamin D deficiency, at-risk children should receive 400 IU vitamin D daily; if compliance is poor, an annual dose of 150,000 IU may be considered. Treatment of vitamin D deficiency involves giving ergocalciferol or cholecalciferol for 3 months (1000 IU/day if < 1 month of age; 3000 IU/day if 1-12 months of age; 5000 IU/day if > 12 months of age). High-dose bolus therapy (300,000-500,000 IU) should be considered for children over 12 months of age if compliance or absorption issues are suspected.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • New Zealand
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy*


  • Vitamin D