Sometimes a 2-year-old child requires extra iron, and a pediatrician may advise either a vitamin supplement that includes this mineral or an iron supplement all by itself. Blood tests may have shown that your child is anemic, or he may have another disorder linked to iron deficiency. This can happen even if you're giving your child a healthy diet. Raising your 2-year-old's iron levels is fairly easy with supplementation. But if your pediatrician hasn't advised it, give his office a call to make sure it's OK.
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A 2-Year-Old's Iron Needs
Your 2-year-old needs 10 mg of iron each day and will continue to need 10 mg until she’s a teenager. Children need a lot of iron to help with growth spurts. Iron makes hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body. Both the body and the brain require iron to function. Iron deficiency could cause your child to lack energy and tire easily.
Iron supplements for children can be in either liquid or pill form. Liquid iron for children is usually in a syrup form as ferrous sulfate or ferrous succinate. The dosage is generally 2 mg per pound of body weight given about three times per day. Supplementation may last for two months in order for your child’s iron levels to improve.
Food Sources of Iron
Iron supplementation may not be necessary if your child is only mildly deficient and is a good eater. Many foods are high in iron. Beef, lentils, figs, tofu, pumpkin seeds and blackstrap molasses all contain 2 or more mg. per serving. You can also cook in iron pots, drink prune juice and use iron-rich grains in your cooking.
If your child is deficient in iron, he may develop anemia. Recent studies have linked anemia with slowed childhood development, particularly speech development. Some signs of iron deficiency are pale skin in the face and ear lobes. You may also notice increased irritability, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness and difficulty concentrating. Your child may also be more susceptible to infections and intolerant of cold temperatures.