Factors that can increase a child's risk of rickets include:
• Dark skin. Dark skin has more of the pigment melanin, which lowers the skin's ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
• Mother's vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy: A baby born to a mother with severe vitamin D deficiency can be born with signs of rickets or develop them within a few months after birth.
• Northern latitudes: Children who live in geographical locations where there is less sunshine are at higher risk of rickets.
• Premature birth: Babies born before their due dates tend have lower levels of vitamin D because they had less time to receive the vitamin from their mothers in the womb.
• Medications: Certain types of anti-seizure medications and antiretroviral medications, used to treat HIV infections, appear to interfere with the body's ability to use vitamin D.
• Exclusive breast-feeding: Breast milk doesn't contain enough vitamin D to prevent rickets. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed should receive vitamin D drops.
Left untreated, rickets can lead to:
• Failure to grow
• An abnormally curved spine
• Bone deformities
• Dental defects
Courtesy: Mayo Clinic