Vitamin D deficiency (VitDD) rickets and other manifestations of severe VitDD, such as cardiomyopathy and hypocalcemic seizures, continue to be diagnosed in Canada. Breastfed Indigenous infants, particularly those living in northern communities, are disproportionately impacted, although formula-fed infants are not exempt in cases where the mother’s vitamin D status is critically low. This statement deals with the prevention of rickets and hypocalcemia due to VitDD for Indigenous children, and revises an earlier document from the Canadian Paediatric Society. An assessment of the risk for VitDD is recommended for each maternal-infant dyad because of the link between maternal and infant VitDD. Along with supports for enhanced adherence, additional VitD supplementation is recommended for prenatal women and infants deemed at high risk and, in certain situations, intermittent higher dose supplementation may be required. Food insecurity can also contribute to rickets, so advocacy is required to prevent VitDD rickets in Indigenous children.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute