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HHS HealthBeat (May 1, 2014)

K for kids

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Newborns need vitamin K to prevent internal bleeding, which can happen anytime in the first 6 months. A single injection can protect against the bleeding. Infants typically get the injection as part of normal care.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated some cases in which infants did not get the injection, and bleeding occurred in their skulls. Researcher Lauren Marcewicz says the parents did not know the risk, and opted out of the injection:

“Vitamin K injection at birth is highly effective at preventing vitamin K deficiency bleeding. The risk of developing vitamin K deficiency bleeding is 81 times greater in infants who do not receive the vitamin K injection, when compared with those who do.”

Dr. Marcewicz emphasizes that the injection is safe.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 1, 2014