As I expressed in my previous article on rickets it is important to understand that this is generally a condition that affects infants and children due to a severe deficiency in vitamin D. While most associate vitamin D with sunshine, that is not always the case. Yes, sunlight is important for people to get. It is a natural mood lifter in my opinion, but a lack of sunshine is not what causes rickets. You also absorb vitamin D naturally through food. If you child is not eating the right foods or taking the right daily supplements, he or she could be at risk for rickets.
Breast-fed infants are at a higher risk of developing rickets because breast milk does not have a sufficient amount of vitamin D to stave off this condition. It is important to note that if you plan on breast feeding, or are in the process of it, you should speak with your child’s doctor about a vitamin D supplement.
If you start to notice possible signs of rickets, do not delay seeking medical advice. The good news is that rickets is easily treatable if detected early enough. If left untreated, your child could be facing serious complications. In these cases, children can face a delay in motor skill development and skeletal deformities. These children are also at risk for dental defects, seizures and growth problems, particularly not growing to their potential height. Again, these complications can be completely avoided by listening to your child’s complaints and detecting a possible problem versus a growing pain - and if I remember correctly, my only growing pains occurred during school hours. So, don’t sell your child short if they have a chronic pain.
If your child has been diagnosed with rickets and sent home with instructions to up the vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus in their diet, you may be wondering, “how?” Well, let's discuss your options. Vitamin D-fortified foods can include breakfast cereal, processed milk, orange juice and fish – and by fish, I don’t mean fish sticks. Getting kids to eat fish can be a little tricky. I know this because I didn’t touch a piece of fish till I was 21. My parents tricked me starting with a swordfish steak. They told me it was pork.