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Prevent IDA in Kids

"Supplementation, healthy eating, and breastfeeding"
By: Dona P. CoradoPrevent IDA in Kids

Giving iron supplements to a child may be a good idea, but the medical world has advised the public to consider some safety measures. Iron supplements can cause poisoning deaths in young children. Excess iron can kill—especially when small children swallow iron supplements intended for use by adults. So, always label and store medicines and supplements in areas out of reach of children, and remember to consult a pediatrician first before giving nutritional supplements to your child. 

Another problem is when the cause of anemia is not iron deficiency but something else like vitamin B12 deficiency or a genetic defect (so it’s wise to go to the doctor). In this case, the child has normal iron stores and may overdose on iron supplements.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants be fed with breast milk or iron-fortified formula for at least 12 months. It does not recommend giving cow's milk to children under 1 year old because cow’s milk has been found to be a common cause of iron deficiency. It contains less iron than many other foods and also makes it more difficult for the body to absorb iron from other foods.

In the country, the FNRI-DOST advises parents to increase their children’s iron intake by including liver, egg yolk, and organ meats in their daily diet. Besides the iron-rich foods mentioned above, the FNRI-DOST also recommends consumption of inexpensive iron sources—leafy and yellow vegetables, such as kulitis (native spinach), malunggay (moringa or horse radish tree), kamote (sweet potato) tops, petsay (Chinese cabbage), and dried beans.

They also reiterated the need to increase intake of vitamin C-rich foods, such as papaya, guava, and datiles (date fruit) to enhance absorption of iron in the body. It also suggests regular deworming of children to improve not only anemia but also their general nutritional status.

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