Vitamin K Shots Protect Newborns from Severe Bleeding: AAP Policy Statement

HealthyChildren.org: Why Your Newborn Needs a Vitamin K Shot

AAP Policy Statement (I Hand et al. Pediatrics (2022) 149 (3): e2021056036) Open Access: Vitamin K and the Newborn Infant

This policy is welcome as there has been an increase in parents refusing vitamin K administration and a resultant increase in the number of cases of late-onset VKDB (vitamin K deficiency bleeding); some of these cases result in devastating outcomes.

Summary and Recommendations

VKDB remains a significant concern in newborn and young infants. Parenteral vitamin K has been shown to be the most effective way to prevent VKDB of the newborn and young infant, and the AAP recommends the following:

  1. Vitamin K should be administered to all newborn infants weighing >1500 g as a single, intramuscular dose of 1 mg within 6 hours of birth.
  2. Preterm infants weighing ≤1500 g should receive a vitamin K dose of 0.3 mg/kg to 0.5 mg/kg as a single, intramuscular dose. A single intravenous dose of vitamin K for preterm infants is not recommended for prophylaxis.
  3. Pediatricians and other health care providers must be aware of the benefits of vitamin K administration as well as the risks of refusal and convey this information to the infant’s caregivers.
  4. VKDB should be considered when evaluating bleeding in the first 6 months of life, even in infants who received prophylaxis, and especially in exclusively breastfed infants.

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