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You are here: Home > Toddlers > Toddler Health

Q&A: What are the Signs of Iron Deficiency in Toddlers?

by Dr. Christine Wood, M.D
3 Comments


Q What are the signs of a toddler being iron deficient? I told my sister that my 19 month old daughter had a bunch of little bruises on her legs and she gets sick alot. She suggested that it might be iron deficiency since she doesn't like alot of green veggies. She just got off antibiotics for an ear infection and now she has a croupy cough. I know its partly from the weather (in Cal.), its hot and then cold, plus daycare, but could it be something else. If you would answer this I would really appreciate it.

A The symptoms of iron deficiency are very vague and nonspecific. Sleeping more than usual, pale color of the lips and eyes, and decreased exercise tolerance. These symptoms usually occur with severe anemia. Mild iron deficiency is likely to have no symptoms, but may impact subsequent brain development if ongoing. Most pediatricians screen for iron deficiency at 9 months of age with a blood test. If this has not been done, or you are concerned about her lack of iron intake, it is an easy test to do and I would suggest you request it. Easy bruising is not a typical sign of iron deficiency and frequent colds are not either.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your Ped.com a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at http://www.callyourped.com


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um Nov 23, 2012 11:22:55 AM ET

My eight month old baby has iron defeciency he did not eat well what could i do?

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Federico Pfeffer Jun 9, 2011 04:00:22 PM ET

This is a really interesting site -thanks for the insight will look for updates soon!

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James Jun 6, 2011 05:44:08 AM ET

I absolutely love this website.

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